It was cold, and cloudy, with scattered showers on the morning of Sunday, March 5, 2017. Small patches of blue sky began to appear just before a caravan of cars bringing the older Hebrew School students, teachers, and some parents to the gates of the Jewish Cemetery on Cedar Hill Road. They came for a special ceremony to replant a tree in honor of Yitzchak Rabin.
The celebration of Tu Bishvat took on a different tone for the Hebrew School in 1996. It had only been a few months since Rabin was shot and killed by a right wing Jewish extremist. Congregation Emanuel Hebrew School decided to plant a bush in the Jewish Cemetery as a memorial to the fallen Prime Minister of Israel. Leah Levi, Coordinator of the school, carefully selected a tree which could grow in Israel. The Hebrew School gathered at the Jewish Cemetery after a short ceremony was held at the Synagogue. The bush was planted in the garden beside the Holocaust Memorial and a plaque quoting then President Bill Clinton (Shalom Chaver) was unveiled.
Over the years, changes were made to the Holocaust Memorial. A ramp was installed where the garden once grew. Later, the plant for Yitzchak Rabin, which never thrived, was finally eaten by the resident deer. All that remained was the commemoration plaque.
Around Tu Bishvat 2017, Amber Woods was in the Jewish Cemetery doing research and was conversing with the caretaker Geoffrey Perkins. He had been troubled by the disappearance of the memorial tree and asked Amber to find out if it could be replaced. Amber contacted Leah. Greatly moved that there were people who cared about the bush, Leah decided to hold a re-dedication ceremony and to plant another, hopefully more deer resistant, shrub. A Fragrant Mountain (Hymalian) Silverbox was chosen.
As the sun began peeking out from the clouds, about 30 people including Leah Levi, a number of parents, students at the Hebrew School, Amber Woods and Geoffrey Perkins gathered beside the Holocaust Memorial. The ceremony (as was done 22 years ago) included singing songs of peace and hearing a biography of Yitzchak Rabin, followed by Geoffrey placing the Hymalian Silverbox into the prepared spot. The opportunity to place a shovelful of earth was given to those assembled. Geoffrey completed the planting and the ceremony was concluded with the singing of Hatikva.