(photo credit: Tania Susskind)
"The blessing for the trees is recited every year during the Hebrew month of Nisan by Jews all over the world. There could be no more fitting a place to recite the blessing than the Mount Scopus Botanical Gardens, where over one-third of Israel's indigenous flora is on display." KKL-JNF World Chairman Mr. Efi Stenzler was the guest of honor at a very moving and unique ceremony that took place on Wednesday, March 28, at the Hebrew University's Mount Scopus Botanical Gardens, which were restored by KKL-JNF thanks to funds raised at the 2006 JNF Canada Negev Dinner honoring Stephen and Gail Victor of Ottawa, Canada.
"This year, KKL-JNF is celebrating its 110th birthday. We have planted over 240,000,000 trees as part of our mission to protect and care for nature. Israel was blessed with above average rainfall this winter, for which we are very grateful. Our prayer is that nature and our world will be greener and even more beautiful in the future. I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a happy Pesach and to invite you to participate in the many and diverse activities that will be taking place at KKL-JNF parks and forests during the holiday."
The idea for the ceremony, which took place this year for the second time, was conceived of by Eliezer Sheffer, the chairman of the World Organization of Orthodox Communities and Synagogues in Israel and the Diaspora, who also emceed the event.
The blessing for the trees was read by Rabbi Haim Wassserman, and the ceremony was accompanied by the beautiful and inspiring singing of the Rinatya Choir, conducted by Uri Aharon. The ceremony concluded with the lighting of four candles in memory of the four Jews who were murdered last week in Toulouse.
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