Like all feeling people, we were horrified by the slaughter at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh last week, where 11 worshippers were murdered while attending services, and another 9 injured by gunfire. The attack left all who regularly visit a place of worship feeling vulnerable, Jews most particularly, just as had the church shooting in Charleston back in 2015.
Both the seeming randomness and the viciousness of the onslaught reminded us all how easily someone precious can be lost to a madman consumed with rage, while the sheer volume of the carnage repels consideration.
Surely dozens of songwriters worldwide took pen in hand in reflection on the sudden violence that occurred, including Eric Lindberg and Doni Zasloff of Nefesh Mountain. For Jewish believers, the pain is especially intense, with so many similar examples of targeted killings throughout history. Taking the life of someone you don’t know and have never met, for no reason other than that they belong to a tribe different than yours, is inconceivable to nearly everyone who walks this planet, yet we see it happen with disturbing frequency.
Eric and Doni wrote and recorded The Tree Of Life as a prayer for healing, a beautiful song composed in keeping with their habit of playing Jewish liturgical music with bluegrass instruments.
Perhaps it can bring you some peace as well.
In response to the outpouring of support for this song, Nefesh Mountain have offered it as a gift to the world, along with the sheet music should anyone else want to sing it. A free download of the lead sheet for The Tree Of Life is available from their web site.
They also ask that we all hold the memories of the fallen at Tree of Life temple in our hearts:
- Joyce Fienburg, 75
- Richard Gottfried, 65
- Rose Mallinger, 97
- Jerry Rabinowitz, 66
- Cecil Rosenthal, 59
- David Rosenthal, 54
- Bernice Simon, 84
- Sylvan Simon, 86
- Daniel Stein, 71
- Melvin Wax, 88
- Irving Younger, 69
Well done, and shalom, Eric and Doni.