Over 2,000 people have donated money to plant a forest of over 3,000 trees in Be’ersheva in order to honor the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School Massacre. The trees will be part of the Be’ersheva River Park, a 1,700 acre environmental area being constructed by the Jewish National Fund in the Negev’s provincial capital city.
The idea to plant trees in Israel in order to commemorate the young victims of the Newtown Massacre came from Veronique Pozner, the mother of the youngest and only Jewish victim, Noah. Marcie Natan of Hadassah declared, “Everybody was so affected by the massacre and wanted to do something to express their solidarity with the families. Each of us have had the experience of non-Jews who have found it very meaningful when a tree is planted in the Holy Land. We felt no one would be offended by this and we thought it would be a very appropriate way to honor the memory of the victims.”
In recent days, a delegation of 15 representatives of Hadassah came to Israel in order to plant the first tree in honor of the Sandy Hook Massacre victims. Natan asserted, “A tree is the ultimate symbol of new life. The initial idea was to dedicate the forest in memory of Noah Pozner, who was among the victims of the massacre at the school in Connecticut and was Jewish, and then we realized that we would like to honor the memory of all the children who were murdered in this horrible massacre. Within a few days our members contributed more than $50,000 and I am proud to be the first person to plant the first sapling in the forest.”
Upon planting the first tree into the ground, Natan stated, “The roots of this mulberry tree will hold the desert soil, produce fruit, and give shade to the families recently under fire who will enjoy the park. Trees are a Biblical symbol of life, and the saplings donated will bloom, grove after grove, in the memory of the children and the staff in Newtown.” Around 7,000 Hadassah members reside in Connecticut, with 230 of them living in Newtown itself.
In the Newtown Massacre, 20 children and 6 adults were murdered in cold blood by Adam Lanza. Governments around the world, including the Israeli government, have condemned what happened. An Israeli humanitarian aid organization had provided assistance in response to the first responders in Newtown. The residents of Be’ersheva have also suffered from attacks on their schools by Palestinian terrorists thus making the Negev provincial capital city a fitting location for a memorial to the Newtown Massacre victims.