Last fall, I was contacted by Neve Shalom, a temple in Metuchen, with a request: their Rabbi was retiring in the spring after 45 years there. They wanted to present him with a gift to honor his years of service and they wanted it to be something that was created, with some assistance, by the children in the Hebrew school. The children range in age from kindergarten through high school and they wanted each child to participate in the creation. We came up with the idea of making a tree which would symbolize the foundation, growth, and nurturing that occurs in the school under the Rabbi's guidance. My plan was for the older kids to create the branches and the younger kids to create a hanging glass piece. I welded the trunk onto a base and then helped the older kids cut, shape and fit copper tubing together to make the branches. Once that was assembled, the younger ones began their part. I met with them to decide on traditional religious symbols we would use and then brought in glass pieces for them to decorate any way they wanted. I fused those pieces and brought them back to have each child place his piece on the tree. The dedication was last Sunday, May 3, and not only was the Rabbi appreciative of the gift, he was totally surprised! The children had all kept the secret and I could see how touched the Rabbi was. This was a really fun project to be involved in creating and I will be putting together a short video with some images from the creation that I will post online. Congratulations to Rabbi Zelizer on his 45 years with Neve Shalom; you will be greatly missed!