The Tree of Life

Excerpt by H. Lewis Stone: Photographs by Peter Lewin

Naci Salny, part of the Salny family who are represented around the congregation. painted this as a fund raiser.

There was a cost to buy each leaf with the idea that as your family grew, you would buy another leaf.

When this painting was full, she painted a second smaller one. That one is the same height but only about half as wide.

Each family group is on a separate branch.

Its hanging place until 1986 was above the stairway to the right of the bathrooms on the main level. It was difficult to see there.

The Salny family is still in town. After the split, they went with the reform congregation that became  Bnai Or. They own the large plumbing supply store in Morris Plains as well as other businesses.

Naci resides in Florida. Her son came to visit and I posed a photo with the painting for his mom last year. She is still upset that it was removed.

My focus is not on the art. Its not great art and was never meant to be. Its the story. Imagine the time Mrs. Salny donated to MJCBY to paint this over what must have been several years [looking at the different color paint used]. It really is a labor of love by her to her shul.

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