Temple Emanuel is proud to have a variety of memorial gardens and a community garden on our property.

Memorial Gardens

The Holocaust Memorial Garden

Dedicated in 2004, the Holocaust Memorial Garden remains a place of beauty, reflection, and learning on Temple Emanuel’s grounds.

Holocaust survivor Marga Silbermann Randall proposed the concept for our Holocaust Memorial Garden. When you visit this garden, located in the Temple Emanuel courtyard, you will find a stone with the names of the concentration camps on them: a reminder to us all that we must never forget.

You will also find two benches where you are encouraged to rest and reflect, as well as a buried capsule of soil from Auschwitz, allowing visitors to have a physical place to come and remember those we lost during the Holocaust. 

Garden designer and congregant Lynn Rubin developed the concept for the plants to be included in the garden, with each one serving a symbolic purpose:

Evergreen shrubs represent the trees where those who escaped took cover. Sweet potato vine represents the potato that sustained so many in Eastern Europe during this time. Dusty miller represents silver linings, including those who protected Jews while they were persecuted. Forget-Me-Nots remind visitors that we must never forget the atrocities of the Holocaust and never allow them to happen again. Bleeding hearts remind us of the heartbreak caused by the Holocaust. Red sage represents the prison bars and soldiers with their straight, vertical lines.

Flowers with bright red blooms represent power and the military. Deep red blooms represent the blood of the victims. White flowers represent freedom and survival, growing around the edges of the garden. Yellow flowers represent hope, and finally, pink flowers represent rebirth.

If you would like to learn more, watch Marga Silbermann Randall and Lynn Rubin’s interview with WQED Pittsburgh from 2004.

The Holocaust Memorial Garden includes information about its plants and meanings for self-guided learning and reflection thanks to a generous grant provided by the David R. & Frances F. Levin Charitable Foundation.

Seymour and Betty Mahler Garden

Dedicated in memory of Rabbi Emeritus Mark Mahler’s parents, the Seymour and Betty Mahler Garden is located in Temple Emanuel’s courtyard. The garden was originally created in memory of Rabbi Mahler’s father Seymour following his death in 1983, and Betty’s name was added following her death in 2005.

The Seymour and Betty Mahler Garden was inspired by their own backyard rock garden at Rabbi Mark’s childhood home in New Jersey, appropriately named “The Rock Garden.”

The Peter and Charlotte Cooper Family Garden

Peter and Charlotte Cooper were founding members of Temple Emanuel in 1951 whose legacies live on through their children and grandchildren who are still active in the community and through all the families who have found a spiritual home at Temple Emanuel all these years later. This garden is located in the Temple Emanuel courtyard.

Community Garden

SHIM Community Garden

Located on the property along Bower Hill Road, Temple Emanuel’s SHIM Community Garden provides fresh herbs and vegetables to SHIM during the summer months.

One of the core Jewish values is tikkun olam, or repair the world. By helping to feed our neighbors with food insecurity, we are working to repair the world in our community. We have added rain barrels to the garden to make our efforts in tikkun olam sustainable for the environment.

During the school year, our Early Childhood Development Center students and teachers will help to tend to the garden as a way to learn about the plants, their five senses, and G’milut Chasadim, or helping others.

Over the summer, volunteers will help to water and cultivate the garden.

To volunteer in one of our gardens, please contact Sarah Mangan.