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Bewegung für progressives Judentum
1020 Wien, Robertgasse 2, Tel: 967-1329

Etz Chaim - Tree of Life - Lebensbaum

In February 2004 the first Progressive Jewish Synagogue in the history of Vienna opened its gates at Robertgasse. A Tree of Life has taken a prominent place in our new synagogue. But its leaves are still bare, and therefore we need your help.

Sponsoring a leaf on our etz chaim is the perfect opportunity to honor your ancestors or mark special occasions in a very traditional Jewish manner. You can place an eternal text to remember members of your family, friends, important events or memories from the past.

In 1990 a small but dedicated group of Jews in Vienna, Austria decided to form the city's first Progressive community, aimed at bringing New Light into the Jewish life in the city, hence the name, Or Chadasch. Fourteen years later the community is still here, a fact which lends testimony to the dedication, determination and unshakeable faith of its member, both past and present.

This year brought a turning point in the long struggle for survival. Funding for a synagogue was granted by the Austrian government and the Vienna City Council. So at long last we were able to have our own synagogue with adjacent Kiddush hall, study room and office.

However, the money from the state and city only covers the barest necessities, the absolute minimum. The building was in a desolate state, and it took all our funds to make it useable. There is no money left for a vital but expensive security system, or for religious objects or decorations. Of course it is wonderful to have our own place of worship, and we are very grateful for it, even if it is rather spartan.

Vienna is a city with a long and rich Jewish tradition, interrupted but not destroyed by the Nazi atrocities, and we believe in its future, that we owe it to ourselves to secure that future, and more importantly we owe it to those were murdered and thus deprived not only of their lives, but also of their rightful place in Vienna's present and future life.

If you have a relative or friend who perished in the Holocaust, or a family member who has passed away, their names can be remembered in a very special way. The name of the lost Shtetl that was once home to your ancesters can find a place on one of the leaves.

But there are also other occasions for adding a leaf to our Tree of Life: a yahrtzeit, the birth of a child, in recognition of a wedding anniversary, in honor of a special occasion, such as bat/bar mitzvah.

The leaves are brass (8x11 cm) and can be engraved with a personal message. Or Chadasch offers you full service in making the leaves. You chose the text in any language. We have already prepared some samples texts (see below) for your convenience. One leaf costs €350. This price includes the artist-created leaf, the engraving, a donation to our synagogue, and all fees.

Suggested Engraving text:

"In Loving Memory of First Lastname"

“In Gedenken an die Opfer des Ghettos von Belchatow, Polen”

"In Honor of Aron Stonefeld's Bar Mitzvah"

“In Honor of the Wedding of Sarah and Allan Schwarz”

“Zu Ehren von Familie Green”

But there are also other ways to show your support for our community. Funds are urgently needed for the synagogue’s security system. Bronze plaques for engraving by companies and other organizations have a place in the entrance hall. We also need Siddurim (prayer books) which can be dedicated to a loved one with a name inscribed inside.

Of course we welcome all contributions, however large or small, and even if you don't have anyone you would specially like remembered your donation will help to keep alive the memory of the 65,000 murdered Austrian Jews and serve as a witness to the rebirth and continuation of Jewish life in this beautiful city.

Contact us now. May you be blessed for your generosity!