The Tree of Life shelters our shared humanity

October 31, 2018—The “Tree of Life” motif—a large tree whose leafy branches shelter all the earth’s creatures—appears in art cross cultures and throughout centuries. It’s woven across Persian rugs. It’s cast into ancient Chinese bronzes. It’s frescoed onto Ethiopian church murals. It’s stitched into medieval European tapestries. It appears painted on Norwegian dowry trunks and in Mexico is sculpted in clay to make ornate candelabras.

Significantly, today, the “Tree of Life” animates the delicate filigree of these Moroccan finials, made to top the staves that hold the Torah, the sacred teachings of Judaism. They are meant to evoke pomegranates bursting with sweet seeds.

Caption: Adrienne Wager, left, and Shannon Haldeman of Harrison City, Pa., laid flowers on Sunday near the site of the mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. Image Credit: Michael Henninger for The New York Times, October 29, 2018