(photo credit: KKL-JNF)
A mother and son paid tribute to their parents and grandparents in a very special tree planting ceremony on Oct. 4 in the beautiful natural park area of Aminadav Forest. Joined by 17 members of a Korean Christian community which lives and studies in Israel, Jung-Yun Kim and her son, Won-Jae Lee, devote Korean Christians and friends of Israel, dedicated a circle of 18 trees in memory of Mr. Jae Chang Kim and Mrs. Jung Sook, Mrs. Kim’s parents. In Hebrew the number “18” signifies “Life.”
Mrs. Jung Sook and Mr. Kim had a deep love for Israel and they passed that love and devotion on to their daughter, who was among the first Koreans to come study in Israel. Tragically, Mrs. Sook died in Israel on her first visit to the Holy Land 1997 and was buried in the Christian cemetery on Mt. Zion. Four years later her husband, who had asked to be buried next to his wife in Jerusalem, also died and was buried in Jerusalem.As Mrs. Kim and Mr. Lee, who today serves as a correspondent in Jerusalem for the Korean MBC news agency, were warmly welcomed by KKL-JNF’s director of Israel Fundraising Department, Michael Ben Abu and Ambassador Yitzhak Eldan, Chief of State Protocol for the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the young children in the delegation were delighted to climb the statues of sheep located in the picnic area, climb rocks and play on playground equipment at the site.
Also present at the ceremony were Ami H. Orkaby who serves as the Honorary Consul General of the Republic of Korea and Dr. Kangkeun Lee, a leader of the Korean Christian community in Jerusalem and a professor at Hebrew University who leads the second largest Christian Church in Korea, the Myoungsung Church.
As he welcomed the guests, Ben Abu reiterated how honored he was to host for the first time in the park a ceremony for people from Korea. “The tree is the symbol of life because it has the roots, it has the trunk, and the foliage. The roots are the past, the trunk is the present and the leaves, the fruits and flowers are the symbol of the future. Today we are closing a cycle which stretches from the grandparents to the grandson. I am really very honored to be in this ceremony and very happy to welcome you here”
Ambassador Eldan then greeted the group, noting the beauty of the Korean and Israeli flags standing side by side. “They are symbolic of the beauty of the relationship between our two countries,” he said. “Today you will have more roots in this country.”
Noting that Korea has just purchased a plot of land and poured the foundations of its new embassy in Herzliya, Ambassador Eldan said the friendship between Israel and Korea is “very strong.” He noted the significance of commemorating the beloved parents and grandparents by planting trees in Israel. “Now, Korea is very present in the hills of Jerusalem and in the center of Israel and also in our hearts.”
Honorary Consul General of the Republic of Korea, Ami Orkaby, then addressed the group, welcoming them with the traditional Korean greeting of “anio hazayo,” or “greetings and salutations.”
“Today is about two dear friends who passed away and whose whole life was connected to Israel,” he said, noting how the love of Israel was passed down from parents, to daughter to grandson. Orkaby thanked them for their devoted support for Israel in Korea. “You know the difficulties and what we are facing here in Israel,” he said. “I think we have a great opportunity to thank your grandmother and grandfather by planting these trees in Israel. As has been said, life is a cycle: they passed away but today we will plant new trees so it will have continuity for them in Israel.”
Then a heartfelt Planter’s Prayer was recited by Dr. Kangkeun Lee. Following the prayer Mrs. Jung-Yun Kim thanked all those present for coming and making the ceremony possible, noting how beautiful the surrounding Jerusalem Forest was. “I come here and look around and it is very beautiful,” she said, visibly moved. “Such a beautiful forest. I love Israel because my mother and father loved Israel. I even love the winds and the trees, so today is very amazing.”
“Thirteen years ago my mother and father came to Israel. At that time I was studying with my son at the university. At the time in Israel, every day there were terror attacks. My mother was the “mother of prayer” and every morning she woke up and prayed. She was a very good believer. I asked her to pray for me because Israel was not easy, there was no peace. So every morning my mother prayed for Israel, for the peace of Israel, for an end of terror.”
“In 1997 they come to Israel, the first time my mother arrived in Jerusalem. Suddenly she fell down of a brain hemorrhage. I couldn’t believe that. She wanted to see the holy city of Jerusalem but she wasn’t able to see it. I was so sad. Just my father came back to Korea alone. They came together and he went back alone,” she said, recalling the deep love her parents shared for one another.
“Four years later he came back to Israel. He told me that if he died he
wanted to sleep with my mother here,” she said. “I believe it is not an
accident that they are both buried here. I believe it was providence. I
believe that some day God will bless this land. Now we are here with
our Christian (friends) and we also pray all the time for the peace of
Israel and I know that some day there will be peace in Israel.”
She described how painful for her the death of her parents has been for
the past 13 years, but, she said “from today I will cry no more. I
thank God and I thank Israel and I thank KKL.”
After receiving an official plaque of appreciation together with
Honorary Consul General Orkaby and her son, from Ben Abu, Mrs. Kim,
surrounded by friends and loved ones, walked to the section of the
forest which had been prepared for the planting ceremony and together
the group planted saplings of oak and rosemary and a species of
pistachio into the earth of the Jerusalem-Aminadav Forest, a fitting
tribute to two people who had a deep love for the Land of Israel.
For Articles, comments or use please contact
KKL-JNF – Information and