Tree of Life Sculpture


Created by Eli Diamant, CDS Class of 2013
In memory of the 11 souls lost on October 27, 2018

For my Jewish community. 
For the city of steel. 
For every victim of hate.


Installed at the Keeping Tabs site in August 2022

Photo of metal Tree of Life Sculpture at Keeping Tabs

Artist Statement:


Making this sculpture was an intense physical and mental process. I attended Community Day School from Kindergarten through 8th Grade and had the privilege of attending services at Tree of Life every Wednesday morning for two years through the Minyan Makers program.

The morning of October 27, 2018 will forever be scarred in my memory. The pain of hearing about members of my Jewish community falling victim to a deadly antisemitic attack was something I thought I would never witness. The harsh reality of the world assaulted my every waking thought for a very long time. I knew a few of the congregants, and everything felt so personal. I isolated myself out of fear. My community, in which I had always felt safe, was torn. Through months of grieving and therapy, I began to see how the community came together in this time of tragedy, which is what I wanted to capture with this sculpture. 

I had the opportunity to make this piece at Dickinson College's art studio with my very helpful professor Anthony Cervino. It took more than a month of conceptualizing to finally decide on a plan. I chose my materials with purpose—concrete and steel rebar. These are two materials that came to mind when pondering what is used to build cities. They are everyday materials that we walk on daily without ever thinking about it. They are both physically difficult materials to work with, symbolizing the trauma and pain that the community is still working through. Using steel rebar was also representative of Pittsburgh itself, the city of steel.

I wanted the sculpture to look as much like a tree as possible, with the 11 figures representing the 11 martyrs of the attack in the Tree of Life building coming together to create the appearance of something that has grown from the concrete, symbolizing a new life that has been born from cold, hard materials as our community continues to heal, grow, and strengthen.

I quite literally put my blood, sweat, and tears into this project. Cutting, bending, and hammering metal, mixing and pouring concrete, in hopes of creating something that lasts, something for my community. 

-- Eli Diamant, June 2022

We mourn the loss of family and friends who will never be forgotten:

Joyce Fienberg
Richard Gottfried
Rose Mallinger
Jerry Rabinowitz
Cecil Rosenthal
David Rosenthal
Bernice Simon
Sylvan Simon
Daniel Stein
Melvin Wax
Irving Younger