(photo credit: KKL-JNF)
"Jeff Gralnick was an extraordinary man whose last great act was to bring MSNBC to Israel, as part of his vision that MSNBC needed to go international. Planting trees in his memory is a perfect way to celebrate a man who had such an impact on modern-day media." Phil Griffin, president of MSNBC, was speaking at a brief but moving ceremony that took place at KKL-JNF's VIP tree planting site in the Jerusalem Mountains. "Jeff covered many of the milestones of recent history and worked for all three American news networks. He was in the Golan Heights during the Six Day War. I personally worked for him and learned to appreciate his professionalism and grasp of the media," he said.
"One of the things that impressed me the most about Jeff was that he was always evolving himself. He wanted to be a part of the new media world, to understand it. He had perspective and could appreciate what needed to be done. Anyone who was present at the ceremony that was held in New York in his memory could understand his impact on the media. I know that having trees planted in Israel in his memory is a very special honor for Jeff's family."
Jeff Gralnick, born on April 3rd, 1939 in Brooklyn, New York, was a television journalist with 47 years of experience, as well as a professor of new media at Columbia University and Fairfield University. He served as a news consultant for NBC until his demise on May 9th, 2011.
The ceremony, which was led by KKL-JNF Chief of Protocol Andy Michelson, formally honored a gift of 100 trees in Jeff Gralnick's memory by Ananey Communications, which represents MSNBC in Israel.
"When I heard that Jeff had been taken ill," said Udi Miron, Ananey's founder and CEO, "I felt we had to make a statement, to do something on his behalf and on behalf of his family. Planting trees in his memory seemed the best way to accomplish that."
Sigal Shaldag, Executive Director of International Business Development at Ananey Communications, worked together with Jeff on bringing MSNBC to Israel. "We were doing conference calls from his hospital bed," he said. "I was very impressed by Jeff's great spirit. We had hoped that he would come to Israel this winter, but his untimely passing prevented that from happening. I would like to convey our heartfelt sympathy to Jeff's family and let them know how connected we felt to him."
In his introductory comments, Andy Michelson reviewed some of KKL-JNF's history and activities on behalf of Israel's populace and the environment. "All of our sites and parks are open to the public free of charge, and sharing our achievements and expertise is high on our organization's priority list. A KKL-JNF delegation is participating at COP 17, the United Nations Conference on Climate Change that is presently being held in Durban, South Africa. We are sharing our knowledge about afforestation in arid and semi-arid countries with developing countries all over the world, some of which Israel does not have diplomatic relations with. Although Israel has received international acclaim for its achievements in hi-tech related fields, we are seeing a lot of interest in Durban in our low-tech expertise, which is very valuable in areas where there might not be electricity and certainly not computers.
"I think that planting a tree in Israel is important on a personal level. It's as if you leave something of yourself here, and the tree is a living reminder of your visit to Israel and Jerusalem," Andy concluded.
The ceremony ended with the planting of a carob tree by Phil Griffin, who was assisted by Deb Finan, Vice President of Production & Programming for MSNBC and Jeremy Gaines, Vice President of Communications for MSNBC. On behalf of KKL-JNF, Andy presented the honored guests with two certificates, one for MSNBC and the other for Jeff Gralnicks's family.
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