Tree of Life Searching for Stories Behind Memorial Donations

The synagogue is creating a record to document donations that were given and performances that were held at the memorial.


Following the attacks at the Tree of Life synagogue in 2018, a memorial was created by the community to honor the lives lost. The mountain of flowers and personal items were expressions of support for the synagogue and Jewish people of Pittsburgh.

Now seeking to thank these anonymous donors and create a record of the contributions, the Tree of Life community is asking people to share their stories and give context to the items left at the memorial. 

“As our recovery continues and we begin to look outward, we are interested in knowing why individuals were moved to leave something among the flowers; what their intended messages were, and what the act of choosing or creating their gift and leaving it at the site meant to them,” Laurie Eisenberg, a board member at the synagogue, tells the Tribune Review.

Donations ranged in purpose and nature, with some of the items lacking a clear intent to their meaning, such as an acoustic guitar, sports items, a nurse’s cross and a marathon medal. Through this story submission process, Tree of Life will be able to discover and document why the items held importance to the donor and the community. 

Tree of Life is also hoping to detail the stories of the musicians who came during the grieving process. The synagogue is searching for the identity of a violinist and church choir who performed on the sidewalk after the attack. 

Stories can be submitted to Tree of Life through its website. The submitted stories will be used for archived historical records at the Tree of Life synagogue and may appear in published writings about the memorial in the future. 

Categories: The 412