United Hebrew Congregation Terre Haute Vice President/Secretary Terry Fear contributed this article about Temple Israel’s Tree of Life Fund.
Reading the leaves on United Hebrew Congregation’s Tree of Life draws you into the lives of congregants and brings you into the vibrancy of our congregation: weddings, anniversaries, births, bat/bar mitzvahs and other accomplishments and unique events.
One such compelling leaf is “LLS Out Sunday School Window Climber.” This leaf allows us to share in the special relationship between two sisters, Louise Levite Sommers and Elsie Levite Adler. It is a telling example of Elsie’s sense of humor and Louise’s spunk and independence.
Money donated to the Tree of Life Fund “shall be disbursed … only for religious school purposes or for other educational and cultural purposes of the congregation.”
As a child attending Religious School, Louise obviously had finished before the teacher. The windows were open, her home was nearby…. You can finish the story. How could a younger sister (years later) pass up this opportunity to memorialize the event?
Fund helped pay for Yom HaShoah program
Money donated to the Tree of Life Fund “shall be disbursed … only for religious school purposes or for other educational and cultural purposes of the congregation.” (By-Laws Article VII Section 31.)
The Tree of Life Fund helped pay for UHC’s >Yom HaShoah program. Temple Israel’s doors were opened to the Wabash Valley’s interfaith communities because of the Tree of Life Fund.
Money from the fund will continue to allow us to fulfill our mission statement of “providing religious, spiritual, educational and social programming” in order to “maintain the Jewish presence in the Wabash Valley.”
“With its branches open to welcome new additions to our communal history, the Tree of Life also reminds us of the strength of our roots and the dignity of our truth.”
Below the Tree of Life you can read from the Etz Chaim dedication, “…as a symbol, each leaf of our tree is a permanent expression of the dedication of its donor, each inscription another event in our lives.
“With its branches open to welcome new additions to our communal history, the TREE OF LIFE also reminds us of the strength of our roots and the dignity of our truth.
“Together, we have made our synagogue a Tree of Life, and also together we are joined on this TREE OF LIFE in our promise to preserve United Hebrew Congregation.”
The Tree of Life is located on the back wall of the Temple Israel sanctuary. Congregants pay tribute to memorable events by adding leaves to the tree.