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Memorial Sidewalk Stories

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  • I am a Christian and when I heard about the shooting, I felt an overwhelming urge to do something as a tribute to those who tragically lost their lives in the Tree of Life massacre. I had been painting rocks and hiding them around my neighborhood for people to find as a random act of kindness and decided that I would paint rocks to place at the Tree of Life synagogue. The three roses are for the ladies and the eight trees with white doves are for the men...the four teardrops are for the wounded policeman... the 11 butterflies symbolize those who were slain and their assent to Heaven...the praying hands represent all the prayers for their families and loved ones. When my husband, Mike, and I went to the Tree of Life synagogue, our hearts were heavy as we walked by the massive array of mementos. You could physically feel the sadness and also the overwhelming outpouring of love and compassion. We were seeking out the garden we had heard about, so we could place the rocks there. It was then that we noticed a man taking pictures and we stopped to talk. I told him about my rocks and that I wanted them to all be placed together. He took an interest and sat down with us to look at them. He said he was Jewish and his name was Brian. We expressed our sympathy and then to my amazement, he said he was there to document the mementos and asked if he could take pictures of the rocks and of us and stated that they would be placed in the Heinz History Center...such an unexpected and humbling experience. Our hearts go out to all the families and loved ones of the victims. [The photographer is Brian Cohen, who extensively photographed the memorial on behalf of the three affected congregations. Some of the beautiful photographs in this gallery were taken by him. We are grateful for Brian's thoughtful interactions with the objects he photographed - and with the people who brought them. -ed.]

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Mon, November 29 2021 25 Kislev 5782