This past week I have been traveling with one of the most beautiful families I have ever had the pleasure to guide; The Englanders from Philadelphia.
It is a unique experience for me to guide this family. For starters, the eldest son, is a very smart 6-year-old that attends a Jewish school in the US. He is constantly impressing me with his knowledge. Next in line is his beautiful little sister, only 4 but an eager participant in any activity (even long walks)! And last but not least, little baby Ora who refuses to stay in her stroller and has her own agenda for how to experience Israel!
I really respect parents that make such an effort to bring their children to experience firsthand what they learn about in school. But Baruch and Alma are also here for their own spiritual quest, carrying with them a dream that was not fulfilled and, sadly, will never be…
Shoshana (meaning rose in Hebrew) was Baruch’s Mother and a Holocaust survivor. All her life, she dreamed of coming to Israel… but she never made it. Now Baruch and Alma have broght their 3 beautiful children to see and expeirence this country that their Grandma spoke about all her life…
Now the family is here but how could we commemorate this trip in Rose’s honor?
Tamar Barkan, my partner from New Jersey, had a wonderful personal idea. ‘Listen’, she said, ‘I know a place where they can plant a Rose Garden and have fun at the same time.’ She directed us to “Lagat b’Hayot” a children’s petting Zoo in Kibbutz Givaat Hayim and to Yuval, the manger. She told me that he is one of the kindest people I will ever and that he would be happy to help us hold a memorial for Rose .
A Few days after Tu b’Shevat, the New Year for trees, I led Baruch, Alma and their three children to Givaat Hayim. We played with the animals, visited a classroom in the Kibbutz, learned a few words of Hebrew from the children on the kibbutz and enjoyed lunch in the dining room. Following lunch, Yuval led us to a patch of earth and the family was able to create a private Rose garden for Grandma Shoshana.
Special thanks are due to Tamar for her wonderful idea and to Yuval for all his help at Givaat Hayim.
Last but certainly not least, a special thanks to the Englanders family for sharing your experiences and building Jewish continuity.