Marcie Natan, National President of the Hadassah women's organization, arrived in Israel on Friday and planted in Be'er Sheva the first tree in a forest that will be planted in cooperation with the Jewish National Fund, in memory of the victims of the massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
The idea to plant the forest was made during a visit of a delegation on behalf Hadassah to the city of Be'er Sheva during the recent Operation Pillar of Defense.
The delegation, which included 15 representatives of the organization from across the United States, came to visit the city and support it as it was being attacked by rockets from Gaza. During the visit the women met with the mayor of Be'er Sheva and decided to plant the forest in the Nahal Be'er Sheva park, in order to create a strip of green shade for the enjoyment of the visitors that spend time in the park. The forest will symbolize the solidarity of the 330,000 members of Hadassah with Israel and the city of Be'er Sheva.
Marcie Natan said, "A tree is the ultimate symbol of new life. The initial idea was to dedicate the forest in memory of Noah Pozner, who was among the victims of the massacre at the school in Connecticut and was Jewish, and then we realized that we would like to honor the memory of all the children who were murdered in this horrible massacre."
She added, "Within a few days our members contributed more than $50,000 and I am proud to be the first person to plant the first sapling in the forest, which will include 1,000 new trees for the enjoyment of the residents of Be'er Sheva."