Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life invites teen artists to decorate temporary fencing around building


(JTA) — Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life congregation is inviting teen artists to create “uplifting images and graphics” to print on windscreens to be hung on the temporary fence surrounding the building while it undergoes repairs in the aftermath of the deadly shooting there in October.

Artists aged 13-17 from around the world have been invited to take part in a project titled “#HeartsTogether: The Art of Rebuilding.”

The building was heavily damaged in the attack by a gunman that killed 11 worshippers from the three congregations that were meeting in the building on a Shabbat morning.

It is not known when the building will be ready to be used again for worship, the congregation said in an announcement of the young artists project.

“The intention of #HeartsTogether is to transform the temporarily vacant and dismal site into a thing of beauty,” the announcement said. “It will reflect the strength and positivity that well-wishers shared with us in our darkest days. It is one way we are beginning to give back.”

The synagogue said it was “Impressed by how many young people reached out to us in the wake of our tragedy.”

All the submissions will be displayed in an online gallery on the synagogue’s website.

The synagogue requested that all submissions be “positive and reflect an appropriate theme along the lines of love, unity, strength, inclusiveness, healing, gratitude, kindness, community, diversity, faith, hope and compassion.” The artists are asked to not use the words “hate” or “hatred.”

“The sidewalk gallery is our way of saying ‘thank you’ to our first responders and local and global neighbors who showed us so much love in the wake of the assault on our synagogue building,” the congregation said in a statement posted Monday on Facebook.

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