Trees hold powerful symbolism in Jewish culture. In Jewish tradition, it is customary to plant a tree every time a child is born. There are numerous reasons to plant trees in Israel. In particular, to honor a life and to give hope to the hopeless.
It is saddening to hear and see the emotional anguish that Holocaust survivors deal with on a daily basis. Many survivors question why they survived when their family and friends were horrifically murdered. They deal with the ever-present battle of remorse and guilt in their minds.
We have a unique project at My Olive Tree to honor the lives that were lost during the Holocaust, at the same time blessing those who survived.
When you hear of the number of lives lost—6 million plus—it is astonishing. We ask you to narrow your focus and take a deeper look into the lives of these individuals. They tell a story. A story that isn’t too different from our own.
Not so different
Jewish families, possibly like your own, ate together, attended theatres for entertainment, read books, celebrated holidays and festivals. They were from all walks of life. They were farmers, accountants, doctors, teachers, business owners. Some were wealthy and some were not.
Young children attended school and came home to meet their families at the end of their school day, children like Zigmond Alder, age 7, or Judith Schwed, age 12. Their life stories were cut short and left incomplete, as they were both gassed in Auschwitz.
Older teens prepared and looked forward to attending college at a university. Young mothers cared for their families. These families were taken from their homes, stripped of their belongings, and forced to dig their own graves.
Older victims, those like Jacob Unger, gassed at Sobibor at age 72, were robbed of the opportunity to leave wisdom and a legacy to future generations in their families.
Countless lives were lost during the Holocaust, but you have a chance to honor the victims and care for the survivors today.
There is a gift and blessing in serving the survivors.
God calls us to care for the elderly in need. Survivors of the Holocaust are in physical, spiritual and emotional need.
- “Do not cast me off in the time of old age; do not forsake me when my strength fails.”—Psalm 71:9
- “Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with all purity.”—1 Timothy 5:1-2
When you sponsor a tree in the coveted areas of the King’s Valley, it leaves a legacy for those who cannot leave one for themselves, but longed to see the prosperity and protection of a Jewish homeland.
In Jewish culture, we plant a vineyard for our children, and we plant an olive tree for our grandchildren. Sponsoring a tree in honor of a victim of the Holocaust is one of the highest honors—for them to be remembered in the City of our God, Jerusalem!
It is Jewish custom, when attending Passover declare, “Next year in Jerusalem.” YOU can make this their Next year in Jerusalem.