image pf Laura standing outside wearing a black top, green blouse and glasses with her arms crossed smiling at the camera

Dr. Laura Levitt Professor of Religion, Jewish Studies and Gender has been selected for the Inaugural Fine Fellowship for her project "Offerings of Grief, Offerings of Rage: Revisiting Tree of Life Synagogue and George Floyd Square".

What happens when personal loss becomes public tragedy, when structural acts of violence leave their mark on specific bodies and specific places. What gestures commemorate these immense personal and public losses? Is there an afterlife to these gestures of grief, rage and mourning? Thinking with these questions, I turn to The Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and The George Floyd Global Memorial (GFGM) in Minneapolis, Minnesota, focusing on the gifts visitors brought and continue to bring to these sites. How do these material objects embody both intimate and public expressions of loss? By exploring the drawings, paintings, sculptures, cards, flowers, and even stuffed animals that constitute the range of objects in these collections, I hope to plumb what these gifts left at these sites of violence communicate about private and public violence. And, when examined together, what might these two collections teach us about responses to antisemitism and racism at home, their similarities and differences, and their implications?