Members of the Belkin Family by the newly unveiled plaque for Belkin Forest Grove in the Ba'al Shem Tov Forest.
(photo credit: LILAH WEISS KKL-JNF)
On March 27, 2018, KKL-JNF held a special event in honor of the extended Belkin family in memory of JNF Canada friend and philanthropist Elliot Belkin. About twenty family members, young and old, arrived from Canada for an organized tour of Israel during the Passover holiday. As part of their visit to Israel, they travelled up north to Biriya Forest to participate in a special ceremony honoring their uncle Elliot Belkin, who made substantial contributions to KKL-JNF for developing forests in the north and for additional projects throughout the country.
Elliot Belkin was not the first in his family to contribute to Israel, and also not the last. His father Morris was also a generous donor for developing the land, earning a medal of appreciation for his work in 1992. When he passed away, Elliot chose to create a forest grove in his memory in Biriya Forest, and he brought his nephews Kostia and Aurore to Israel together with him. When Eliot passed away, Kostia and Aurora continued the family tradition by donating a forest grove in his memory in the Baal Shem Tov Forest.
Speaking at the ceremony, Kostia Belkin said that “we learned about planting trees from Elliot. Aurore and I thought that it would make him very happy that there would be a forest grove in Israel in his name, and that’s why we’re here today. This is a modest gesture compared to what he did in his time, but we’re happy to be part of the tradition.”
KKL-JNF Chief of Protocol Andy Michelson spoke at the ceremony about Elliot’s support of the organization, along with describing the forest and how its trees were being restored. He wished the guests a happy Passover and a wonderful visit to Israel. And in order that the plantings should be successful, the Planter’s Prayer was recited, first in Hebrew and then in English by the family members.
Later on, Kostia and Aurore Belkin unveiled the plaque honoring Elliot Belkin, and were then presented a framed KKL-JNF certificate of appreciation. After the unveiling ceremony, everyone went to plant cedar trees in the young forest grove.
Read more, see photos of the Belkin Forest Grove dedication