(photo credit: KKL-JNF)
Every year, KKL-JNF has open days for the distribution of Christmas trees to institutions, organizations and individuals. Many Christian families, mixed families, embassy representatives, foreign journalists and representatives from churches in Israel go to the KKL-JNF distribution centers in central and northern Israel to select a beautiful tree for the holiday.
“The scent of the trees and the forest reminds me of Christmas in the Czech Republic when I was a child,” said Francheska Goodenough, who came to Israel twenty years ago as a volunteer, fell in love with the country and has lived here ever since. Her seven children were all born in Israel, and her eldest son just started his IDF army service a few weeks ago. She came to the KKL-JNF nursery in Givat Yeshayahu, which is near Beit Shemesh, in order to buy two trees—for her family and for friends.
“When I was a little girl, I would go out to the forest with my father before Christmas, and together we would choose a suitable tree and take it home,” Goodenough recalled. “What I’m doing here today takes me back to those days.” When asked if she was hoping for a white Christmas in Jerusalem, she admitted that at this point she can do without those childhood memories, since she has already gotten used to the weather in Israel, and she prefers a warmer Christmas.
Bilal Kifah, a Christian Arab from Jerusalem, walked among the trees with his wife deliberating for almost an hour. He examined them one by one, felt the leaves, and imagined how they could be decorated. “Choosing a tree is like choosing a wife,” he said with a grin. “It has to be full but not too dense, so that the lights and ornaments can be seen. It has to be tall, but not too tall, because anyway the tip gets clipped so the star can be placed there, and, most important, it has to be green and beautiful. I am being so choosy about selecting a tree mainly because I am afraid of my wife—she shouldn't say I chose a tree that was not beautiful."
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KKL-JNF – Information and Publications
Phone: 972-2-6583354 Fax:972-2-6583493