(photo credit: KKL-JNF)
More than fifty years after his parents planted trees in Jerusalem Forest, and more than thirty years after he himself planted trees at the site, Senator Ben Cardin from Baltimore, USA, returned with three generations of his family to continue planting.
"The act of planting a tree symbolizes the continuity of life and the future of Israel," said Senator Cardin at the tree planting ceremony that took place in the Jerusalem Forest. "Every visit to Israel is always unique, but this trip was meaningful in an extraordinary way, and we'll never forget it," the senator added.
Myrna Cardin, the senator's wife, spoke very emotionally about the three generations of her family who maintain their connection to Judaism and to Israel. "We always extend our hand to the past, to our parents and grandparents, and then see what we can do in the present," she said and added: "This was the trip of a lifetime, for which we are very appreciative."
The family visit to Israel was part of granddaughter Madeline Willis' Bat Mitzvah trip. It was her first visit to Israel, and she was visibly moved. "The opportunity to plant a tree in the Holy Land has so much meaning," Madeline said. "I've been studying about Israel ever since I was in nursery school, and it's so moving to actually be here." A year from now, she will be back in Israel with her classmates on a school trip, and she promised to visit her tree and see how it's growing.
Madeline read the Planters Prayer and everyone went together to plant trees. Every member of the family planted their own tree: Senator Cardin and his wife Myrna, their daughter Deborah Willis and her husband Jonathan, and of course the children, Madeline and Julia.
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