THE GALGANOV MEMORIAL SOLIDARITY GROVE
JNF Montreal Office: (514) 934-0313
In 1901, the Jewish National Fund: known by its acronym, JNF, became a reality in Basle Switzerland. Its sole purpose at that time was simple. Buy land in Palestine. And turn the dessert into a garden.
Today, after more than 100 years, the JNF has planted more than 180 MILLION tress. They have covered the equivalent of 270,000 acres with forests. And they have reclaimed 195,000 acres of useless land. And I was a part of it. Not a big part. But a part nonetheless.
The Jewish forefathers of modern-day Israel knew that the land, as it was, was not what it should be. It was a paradise just waiting to be born. The Arabs had thousands of years to do something with the land. But; instead, they chose to do nothing. On the other hand, the future settlers of Israel had a different passion for the land. They were going to cultivate it. Nurture it. And make it bloom.
One hundred years later; that is exactly what Israel is. It is alive with green wherever you look. Not because God pointed a finger and said make it so. But; rather, because Jews, and non Jews from all over the world put their hard earned money and physical labor to make Israel what it has become.
In addition to trees, the JNF also manages the collection and distribution of water through a series of reservoirs, canals and pipelines. If it has to do with land, trees and water, the JNF is there.
When I was very young, my parents sent me to Jewish school where I learned how to be a better human being. I learned about respect, honor and commitment. One of the most important lessons I learned was about LIFE. LIFE through the planting of trees and respect for the land. Very much unlike what the Middle Eastern Arabs seem to be teaching their children.
We were poor children living on Hutchinson Street corner of Fairmount in Montreal, where life was a cultural stew spiced with a multitude of religions, races, and languages. All of which flourished wherever one looked.
Though money was in very tight supply, I had enough, even as a six year old, to fulfill an obligation to Judaism and to Israel. Everyday, when I arrived at Jewish school, I bought a single Maple Leaf sticker from my teacher, which I then affixed to an illustration of a tree on a sheet of paper. On some days, I would forego a popsicle, and buy two or more leafs to stick on my budding tree.
And when the tree had all of its leafs – 40 in total, that illustration of a tree became a reality, and a real tree was planted in Israel in my name. As a poor kid growing up on the economic fringes of Montreal, I “planted” as many trees as I possibly could. This made me feel not so poor.
Today, when I want to celebrate a happy occasion, I plant a tree in the name of the person I wish to honor. When someone dies and I wish to pay my respects and honor his/her memory, I plant a tree in that person’s name.
In addition to planting trees for people. Anne and I have also planted trees in memory of all our beloved pets who are no longer with us.
What can possibly be better than planting a symbol of LIFE in order to remember a loved one, or to celebrate a happy occasion, than planting a tree?
There are two things I have never done. I have never been to Israel, and I have not planted trees in the name of my late parents. Both will soon be rectified.
After 46 years of planting trees on paper, I will finally go to Israel and plant trees in the name of LIFE, in honor of my late parents. And I will do it when Israel is most desperately in need of moral and practical support.
My flight and hotel are booked. And regardless of what the Arabs will, or will not do in the name of terror. I am on my way to the Promised Land, unless EL AL decides not to fly.
When I mentioned my intent to go to Israel and physically plant some trees; several of my friends told me that now is not a good time to go. “Wait until things cool down”. But to me, NOW is the best time to go.
“Well; if you’re going to go anyway, plant a few trees for me too”. This is what each of my friends had asked of me, independently of each other.
So; an idea was hatched. If you want to show your support for Israel’s right to live in peace and safety. And if you want to do more than just talk about it; here’s what you can do through me.
I have established a dedicated grove with the JNF offices in Montreal, whereby, people who want to plant a tree for LIFE, can do so through me in the name of the Galganov Memorial Solidarity Grove. The cost is $18 per tree. And for those of you who might not be aware of the significance of the number 18 in Jewish culture, it is the numerical symbol of LIFE.
If you want to plant a tree, or a number of trees in the name, or names of someone you wish to honor: please consider doing it in the name of the Galganov Memorial Solidarity Grove. I wish to dedicate this grove of 1,000 trees or more, to the memory of my late parents who made certain, that I understood the value of LIFE through the planting of trees.
It is easy to do. Call (514) 934-0313 and ask that a tree, or a number of trees be planted in the Galganov Memorial Solidarity Grove.
Please be advised, that this trip is being funded 100% out of my own pocket. And no matter how many trees you decide to plant, 100% of all that money will go directly to the agency responsible for planting trees in Israel.
You should also know that this is an entirely private and personal endeavor with no ties whatsoever; to any group, or groups.
In addition to honoring a friend, a pet or a loved one, you will also receive, or the person you have honored will receive a certificate with your message on it. Plus a tax receipt for the amount of trees you decide to plant. In essence, you will be supporting Israel’s right to exist in peace with a tax deductible donation made out to this concept of LIFE.
I could not be more proud than to be carrying your message of LIFE and support for Israel. And if you think this is a good idea, pass it on to your friends. And tell them to pass it on.
We might not all be able to go to Israel to stand in solidarity with the Middle East’s only democracy. But through this venture, you can have something of yours become a part of the land. And you can lend your voice to an epic battle for good over evil.
When it came to the right of Jewish survival 60 years ago, the world remained silent. Are we still going to be silent?