Planting Trees for Ezra Schwartz.
(photo credit: KKL-JNF)
Family and friends plant carob trees in memory of Ezra Schwartz, in a moving ceremony hosted by JNF USA and KKL-JNF in Aminadav Forest on December 30, 2015.
Ezra Schwartz Z"L, a young American murdered by terrorists in Gush Etzion last month, was commemorated in a special tree planting at the planting center in Aminadav Forest. The ceremony, which was initiated by JNF USA, was attended by members of the Schwartz family, including Ezra’s bereaved parents and his four siblings, as well as many friends and relatives from Israel and abroad.
“Ezra loved nature and enjoyed hiking in forests very much,” said his father, Ari Schwartz, who was choking on his tears. “Planting trees in his memory is giving us an amazing feeling that his soul will be deepening its roots here for many years.”
Ezra, who was eighteen years old, came from Boston to Israel for nine months with a volunteer program for young Jewish people from different countries. In the mornings, he studied at a yeshiva in Beit Shemesh, and in the evenings, he volunteered in a number of projects. On the day of the terrorist attack, he went with his friends from the yeshiva to distribute food packages to soldiers stationed in Gush Etzion. They were on their way back to Yeshiva when they were attacked by terrorists near the Alon Shvut Junction.
“We’ve lost Ezra, and our lives have changed forever,” said his mother, Ruth Schwartz. “As a mother, my grief is worse than anything.”
“I never had the privilege of meeting Ezra, but I’ve heard a lot about him, and it’s clear to me that his family has many reasons to be proud of him,” said Eric Michaelson, the CEO of JNF-USA
in Israel. “The trees we’re planting commemorate him and express our appreciation for his family, who paid the highest price of all for the sake of the Jewish people. Trees represent continuity and life.”
The Aminadav Forest
covers an area of 700 hectares west of Jerusalem. The forest, along with other natural woodlands there, constitutes the most substantial green lung in the region. The forest contains springs, terraces and remains of ancient agricultural implements. KKL-JNF has developed scenic roads there as well as recreation areas with gym equipment and trails for hiking and cycling.
Representing the executive board of KKL-JNF at the ceremony, Barbara Goldstein said, “Planting trees symbolizes life. We cannot even begin to imagine the family’s sorrow, but Ezra will never be forgotten.”
“I’m glad Ezra’s trees face the direction of Gush Etzion,” said his mother Ruth. “I’ll be trying to draw hope and strength from the determination of the people of Gush Etzion, many of whom have also lost their loved ones.”
For further information, comments or permission please contact
KKL-JNF – Information and Internet Department