A Dry Bones Cartoon ~
According to KKL, The Jewish National Fund:
KKL-JNF Christmas Tree Distribution in Full Swing Tuesday, December 22, 2015 11:34 AM
Trees are distributed at several points in northern and central Israel: in Nazareth, the KKL-JNF nursery in Shfaram, and the KKL-JNF Center in Givat Yeshayahu. Approximately 800 trees will be distributed by Christmas. Distributing Christmas trees has become a tradition at KKL-JNF. For many years, embassy representatives from all over the world, clerics and Christian families from all over Israel have been coming to KKL-JNF distribution centers in northern and central Israel to select trees that will make their homes green and festive.
Sister Felicia at the KKL-JNF Christmas tree distribution center at Givat Yeshayahu. Photo: Yoav Devir“I come here every year to get trees for Christmas,” said Sister Feliciana from the church in the German Colony in Jerusalem. “It’s so important for us to have a real tree with a natural scent that will contribute to the atmosphere of the holiday.”
Trees are distributed at several points in northern and central Israel – in Nazareth, the KKL-JNF nursery in Shfaram and at the KKL-JNF Center in Givat Yeshayahu. Approximately 800 trees will be distributed by Christmas in three locations.
At the distribution center in Givat Yeshayahu, people are welcomed by smiling KKL-JNF employees – Jewish, Muslim and Christian – who help visitors choose the trees and load them onto their vehicles. Brother Anton of the Emmaus Nicopolis Monastery at the KKL-JNF center at Givat Yeshayahu. Photo: Yoav DevirTogether, they check each tree carefully – the leaves, the branches and the trunk – to make sure it is tall enough and full enough, until the perfect match is found.
“It’s so exciting to see people of all faiths meeting here today and helping each other,” said Brother Anton from the Emmaus monastery, who arrived early in the morning to select the largest and most magnificent trees for his church. “This special project is a sign of new hope for a future of peace in this country,” he said.
Saulius Kolyta, a commercial attaché at the Lithuanian Embassy in Israel, came to get trees for a number of Embassy personnel. “A Christmas tree brings back memories from childhood. It’s also really nice that we can celebrate as we do at home, in such a distant place,” he said. Saulius Kolyta, commercial attaché at the Lithuanian Embassy in Israel. Photo: Yoav DevirLooking up at the clear blue sky and the warm sunshine, he smiled and said, “But I’m not at all sure we’ll be having a white Christmas this year.”
Although fir trees do not grow in Israel, the Arizona cypress (Cupressus arizonica) definitely does the job. It even looks a little like the traditional fir. The Arizona cypress trees are grown in a special plot, where one can see the newly planted trees next to mature trees.
Yossi Sharavani, a KKL-JNF Forester in the Masua area, who is in charge of Christmas tree distribution in central Israel, explains the advantages of the Arizona cypress: “It’s a sturdy tree that grows quickly in the local climate. Felling the tree does not kill it but stimulates the growth of a new tree from the trunk, so the tree is tall again within a few years. KKL-JNF Forester Yossi Sharavani at the Arizona Cypress plantation area in Givat Yeshayahu. Photo: Yoav DevirThe cutting doesn’t dry up too fast and stays green and beautiful throughout the holiday season.”
Sharavani sees the day of Christmas tree distribution as an opportunity for meeting and strengthening the connection between all the residents of Israel. “It’s a time for unity between all of us, the people who live in Israel of all religions and the KKL-JNF workers from all the sectors,” he said.
Charlotte and John Earley, a couple from Herzliya, have lived together in different countries, and this year they are living in Israel because of John’s work. She is originally from Cameroon, he is from the UK. Charlotte and John Earley from Herzliya with their chosen Christmas tree at the KKL-JNF center in Givat Yeshayahu. Photo: Yoav Devir“It’s a wonderful thing that we can find a tree for Christmas here in Israel and meet people from different places in the world, who also wish to have a real tree in their home,” said John. “The tree brings back childhood memories from the days when I would go with my parents to choose a tree, bring it home and decorate it for the holiday.”
Heather and Roee Pargament from Michmoret came to the distribution center with their son Jesse. “We came to pick a Christmas tree,” explained little Jesse, “and we got a big and beautiful one,” he said with pride.
“We used to decorate our home with an artificial tree,” said Heather, “but since we heard about this KKL-JNF program three years ago, we threw away the plastic tree. Heather, Roee and Jesse Pargament from Michmoret, with their chosen Christmas tree at the KKL-JNF center in Givat Yeshayahu. Photo: Yoav DevirA real tree goes much better with the spirit of the holiday.”
The green and aromatic trees were taken to the churches, the different offices and, of course, to people’s homes, where they have been decorated and are now adding natural colors and scents, and a lot of joy, as Christmas approaches. On Christmas Day, when the children run to the tree in the morning to look for the presents awaiting them there, they will be feeling a bit of nature at home that came from KKL-JNF’s forests in Israel.