The Tree of Life Campaign is an on-going campaign that funds new and future initiatives at the Jewish Day School of the Lehigh Valley that directly benefit our children. You and your family can strengthen our roots with your gift. With your generosity, this fund helps us provide our students with unique and enriching educational experiences through special programs and enhanced curriculum.
The Tree of Life mosaic, took over 2,000 hours to complete, put down its first roots with seed money raised for the campaign in 2007 at the Annual JDS Dinner Dance. It did not take long for the JDS to realize its initial campaign goal of $100,000. The Tree of Life campaign’s lead donors were subsequently recognized at a special reception in 2011 for the dedication of the mosaic wall. The success of the campaign is an expression of our community’s collective commitment to education, recognized by a donor honor roll that represents all parts of our Jewish community. Today we welcome new gifts so that the fund continues to grow.
Original donors Lisa Scheller, Alex Hornstein, and Bobby Hammel hold recognition tiles at the dedication of the Tree of Life commemorative wall in the JDS lobby, designed and created by local ceramic artist and then-JDS parent Susanne Katz. The initial campaign was chaired by Avi Hornstein.
*For current JDS students
Mosaic artist Susanne Katz was inspired by the exceptional educational experience her daughter Eliana received at the Jewish Day School. To express her gratitude, she used her unique talents and embarked on a gift that served both as a graduating class gift and a gift that would keep on giving. Katz, a multi-media artist, has worked as a product design manager at Crayola and has studied glass working, tile-making, mold-making and mosaics. All of these techniques have been utilized in the Tree of Life mosaic wall. Katz’s daughter and other members of the 2007 graduating class provided assistance while learning about the artistic process.
The Tree of Life wall is 10’ high x 17’ wide and is comprised of thousands of pieces of tile, stone, glass, hand-carved and glazed elements and other artifacts that combine to depict the beauty of Israel; it took more than 2,000 hours to bring this piece of work to life. Virtually every piece has unique symbolism and universal Judaic significance. Seven historical sites in Jerusalem are represented incuding the gates leading to the Old City. Two Delft Jewish stars from Amsterdam symbolize Anne Frank and the victims of the Holocaust. The Jews of the world are represented by broken shards from Israel, France, Portugal, Denmark and the former Soviet Union. The Jews of Yemen are represented with a tile of a traditional Jewish -Yemen bride and groom. Archaeological artifacts that date back over 2,000 years and Israeli coins are also included in the mosaic. The artist hand-carved tiles to represent the flora and fauna of Israel; all the butterflies, flowers and birds might be seen on a nature walk in Israel.