Jonas was commissioned by Solomon Schechter Academy of Dallas, to create a sculpture for the entrance to the new school that was being built. The original sculpture was created in clay and measured 24 inches. It was then enlarged and cast in bronze and was installed at the school in January 2002.
The Etz Haim, meaning the Tree of Life, is an 8ft bronze sculpture representing Jewish Day School education.
The Roots of the Tree, seven in all, are particularly symbolic because they represent our patriarchs and matriarchs; each name is inscribed in Hebrew on one of the seven roots of the tree. As the tree branches up, it becomes a menorah, the symbol of Israel – a seven branch candelabrum. Two more branches are added to transform the tree into a Chanukah Menorah. Books are the crowning glory of any educational institution, and so it is with this school; they form the nine branches of the Menorah. In joining and comingling all of the facets of the school, Jewish and Secular, the sculpture represents the essence of what a Jewish Day School can be and is, today, in Dallas , Texas. The Tree is firmly rooted in our soil and is alive and well.
The Etz Haim is available in 12 inch replicas and may be purchased through the school by calling 972-248-3032.
Replicas of the original , 24 inch Etz Haim can be ordered by contacting the artist.
The 8-foot bronze is also available for purchase for your institution by contacting the artist.
At Hannuka, the Etz Haim is fitted with another 2 sets of books and electrical lights top the Menorah.