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February 10, 2017
 

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PAGE 8A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, FEBRUARY 10, 2017 Baha'u'llah's Grove By Michael Brown tory, from the biblical to the modern, that are often (JTA) Trees have stories, overlooked by the average and Israel's trees have lots of tourist. stories. Scattered through- As we approach Tu out the country, scores of B'Shevat--the new year ancient and historic trees for the trees on the Jewish help shed light on fascinat- calendar falls on Feb. 10 this ing aspects of Israeli his- year--now is the perfect time Alexa Lee Coultoff, daughter of Caryn and Daniel Coultoff of Heath- row, will be called to the Torah on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017, at Congregation Ohev Shalom in Maitland. Alexa is in the seventh grade at Markham Woods Middle School where she is an "A" student in the Gifted Program and par- ticipates in All-State Cho- rus, Advanced Drama and Thespian. Her hobbies include singing, acting, tennis, caring for animals, horseback riding, and texting with friends. She is also a Pet Rescue By Judy volunteer, a member of Kadima, and is excited to enjoy her sixth summer at Camp Coleman in Georgia. Sharing in the family's simcha will be Alexa's big brother, David; grandparents, Leah and Arthur Coultoff of Boynton Beach, Fla., and Arthur Balaban of Winter Park; as well as family and friends from New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, South Carolina, Georgia and South Florida. to visit some of these magnifi- cent trees. The five trees below, all easily accessible, are worth seeking out on your next tour of the Jewish state. They're a mixed lot--some are associ- ated with famous figures, others are impressive in size, some are just plain old--but all are worth checking out. Baha'u'llah's Grove The Baha'i Gardens com- plex is the most widely rec- ognized landmark in the city of Haifa--it's also a World Heritage Site. The extensive complex of buildings, terraces and gardens was developed in stages, beginning with a simple, one-story building in 1909 to the completion of the site in 2001. This monumental project began with a simple stroll. In 1891, the founder of Baha'i, the religious leader Baha'u'llah, and his son ascended a mountainside near Haifa and, as the story goes, the two men walked until they came to a clump of cypress trees. There, Baha'u'llah pointed out to his son the site that would serve as the permanent resting place of the Bab, the prophet who heralded the arrival of the Baha'i faith. He declared his mission in Persia in 1844, but because of his religious teachings he was executed there in 1850, at the age of 31. The Bab's remains were brought to the Holy Land in the late 1890s and perma- nently laid to rest on Mount Carmel in 1909. This resting place--the Shrine of the Bab, at the center of meticulously main- tained gardens--is a major pilgrimage site for Baha'i worldwide. Nineterraces have been landscaped above and nine terraces prepared below. The original clump of cypress trees can still be plainly seen today, little changed as they appeared over 100 years ago. They are a reminder of the place where the founder of the Baha'i religion stood and first Elaine Solowey Methusaleh, a Judean Date Palm Einstein's Palm Methnsaleh Tree fill a narrow traffic island designatedthelocationofthis In southern Israel, on the in the middle of busy King magnificent site. grounds of Kibbutz Ketura, George Street, just north Einstein's Palm stands a palm tree surround- of Borochov Street. These The Technion-Israel In- ed by asmall enclosure. It is impressive trees are vestiges stitute of Technology is an not a particularly impressive of the native vegetation ofTel internationally recognized tree in appearance, but the Aviv--inthe1920s, whenthe institute of higher educa- storybehinditisremarkable, street was first being paved, tion located on a sprawling The tree--named Methuse- the traffic island was created campus at the edge of Haifa. lah, aftertheoldestpersonin to preserve the trees. Few realize that the original the Bible--has been brought A photo that has been institutionbeganintheHadar to life from a 2,000-year-old widelypublishedinbooksand neighborhood, in midtown seed recovered from Masada online shows a man leaning Haifa, at the beginning of during excavations in the against the trees in 1921, the 20th century. Itsaimwas 1960s.Theseed, aremnantof when the area was still un- to fosterscientificandtechni- the famous Judean date palm developed. In the mid-1930s, cal education in the region, that went extinct around the the municipality of Tel Aviv The impressive original build- time of the Crusades, was presentedaplantouprootthe ing in which the Technion sprouted in 2005. trees in order to widen and began now houses the Israel The tree is a male. As it straighten the road. Many National Museum of Science, reaches maturity, its pollen local residents vigorously Technology and Space. will be used with other trees opposed the idea--therefore In 1923,AlbertEinsteinand to help produce the same (or the trees remain for us to hiswife, Elsa, visitedtheTech- similar) variety of date eaten enjoy and help us visualize nion, which was still awork in in ancient times, an earlier version of the land, progressatthattime.Inhonor King George Sycamores before it was a city. of the visit, they were invited Tel Aviv has experienced Netter's Banyan Tree toplanttwopalmtrees,which explosive growth since it was Just north of Holon, still flank the originalbuiid- established in1909, obliterat- the Mikveh Israel Agri- ing. In2007, Lokey Park was ingmostsignsoftheoriginal cultural School sits like a on the new Technion campus landscape. Even so, in the peaceful green oasiswithin on Haifa's outskirts, and the heartofthebustlingmetrop- the greater Tel Aviv met- tree-planting tradition was olis, near the expansive Meir renewed:VisitingNobellaure- Park, six ancient sycamores Trees on page 15A ates like the late Elie Wiesel have been invited to plant a tree in the park, as was the late Israeli President Shimon Peres. A visit to Einstein's palm helps unveil the story of this institution and the important part it played in the develop- ment of the country. King George Sycamores Margaux Stelman Netter's Banyan Tree