Tree of Life Shtender
The Tree of Life Shtender is a compartmentalized treasure chest for all the Jewish ritual objects of daily, weekly and yearly use. Inspired by David Moss & created with the collaboration of Noah Greenberg, the tree of life theme unites the entire work. We are grateful to Audrey & Bill Farber who have made it possible for all of us to enjoy this extraordinary piece of Judaic art.
The Tree of Life Shtender originated with David Moss sometime around 1979. His concept was to use the Shtender – an overlooked object in Jewish ritual life – as the foundation for a comprehensive work of art that would bring together three of the most important areas of Jewish spirituality into one organic work of practical art. The Shtender already seemed to represent prayer and study; David’s idea was to incorporate practical mitzvah observance as well.
His idea was that since the Shtender was the traditional locus of prayer (representing the spiritual and emotional aspect of Judaism – the service of heart) as well as the place of study (representing the great intellectual tradition of Talmud Torah – service of the mind), what was lacking was the inclusion of the aspect of Ma’aseh, (the physical acts of Judaism – the service of the hand.) To do this, a special kind of Shtender was envisioned which would be quite traditional from the outside, but would in fact be a compartmentalized treasure chest for all the ritual objects of daily, weekly and yearly use to represent (and actually BE) the hands-on practice of Judaism in the physical and social world.
You can drop by our Museum cases to see the Shtender and video showing how each piece is removed and replaced or view the video below.