How to Plant a Memorial Tree in Israel: Step-By-Step

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Are you looking for a way to memorialize your loved one? Why not plant a tree in your loved one’s honor? If your loved one was Jewish or from Israel, you might bring a bit more meaning to the act by having the tree planted in Israel in their memory.

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Planting a tree in Israel may seem like an excellent idea, but the practicality of taking on this project may sound a bit intimidating. Luckily, several different organizations can help you make this idea turn into a reality. 

Keep reading to uncover step-by-step instructions on how to plant a memorial tree in Israel. We'll discuss why planting a memorial tree in the Holy Land could have special meaning. We will also give you a list of a couple of companies that can help before we walk you through the process of completing this project.

Planting a tree in memory of a loved one is a beautiful and earth-friendly way to say goodbye. You'll reduce your carbon footprint while literally establishing roots in the homeland. Let us give you tips on how to get started with this project. 

Post-loss tip: Finding a unique way to memorialize your loved one might be just one of the challenges you're facing after a loss—especially if you're the executor of the person's estate. Our post-loss checklist can help sort out what you might need to do next. 

What Does Planting a Memorial Tree in Israel Mean?

Planting a tree in Israel doesn't just have positive environmental results. There are many spiritual, religious, and cultural reasons why planting a tree is a beautiful way to memorialize a loved one. The life cycle of trees can be symbolic of the human life cycle. Trees spread far and wide, just as humans do. Not only have humans spread to all corners of the earth, but their beliefs spread as well. 

Trees have a special meaning in Judaism also. The tree is celebrated each year during Tu BiShvat. During this celebration, trees are appreciated for the fruit they provide that sustain life on earth. The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and the Tree of Life are both also central in the creation story. 

Also, the Middle East has no natural forests. It takes time, dedication, and effort to add greenery to a dry desert climate. In an attempt to make the land more fertile, individuals and organizations have been planting trees in this arid region. This has resulted in Israel as one of only two countries in the world that can claim a net gain in the number of trees compared with last century's statistics.

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What Companies Allow You to Plant a Memorial Tree in Israel?

Most of the organizations that offer tree planting in Israel collaborate with the Jewish National Fund. Let's take a look at this organization, then give you the steps for obtaining this memorial gift.

Jewish National Fund

The leadership of the Jewish National Fund says that 240 million trees have been planted in Israel since the project began. Over 1,000 parks have been established through the organization. 

The organization's website allows you to choose commemorative occasions to plant a tree. Besides growing a tree as a memorial item, you can also plant a tree to celebrate a new baby, an anniversary, a bar/bat mitzvah, or no occasion at all. 

The Jewish National Fund also allows you to plant trees in person. This is done at the Harvey Hertz Ceremonial Tree Planting Center. The sapling that you plant is later transferred to a needed area after it matures. You can also plant those mature saplings in the Jewish National Fund's forests, but special arrangements must allow for this experience.

Trees for the Holy Land

Like the Jewish National Fund, Trees for the Holy Land allows you to plant single trees or entire orchards. You can also plant matching pairs of trees to commemorate a new marriage. 

While they do not give you the option of going to Israel and planting your own tree, the organization does send you a certificate. If you purchased the trees as part of a memorial, you could give the family a certificate as verification of the gift.

Trees for the Holy Land looked to the Bible for inspiration on what types of trees to plant. The organization plants olive, oak, pine, cypress, tamarisk, palm, acacia, and carob trees. 

4 Steps for Planting Your Memorial Tree

You need to consider a few things when you purchase a living memorial to honor a deceased person. Instead of merely writing a check at the funeral home for the organization of choice, you need to choose the number of trees and planting location. You also need to decide how to commemorate the gift. 

Here are the steps for planting a memorial tree in Israel.

1. Research and choose an organization

As we mentioned, many websites say they will plant memorial trees in Israel, but most of them are connected with the Jewish National Fund, which has been around for over 100 years. 

Look for reviews and audits of the organizations, especially if it seems as if they aren't connected with the Jewish National Fund.

2. Decide whether you want to plant the tree in person or virtually

For some, traveling to the Holy Land is a gratifying experience, especially if it’s important in your family's history. If you would like to travel to Israel to plant a tree, you can organize the experience with the Jewish National Fund.

As we mentioned earlier, unless you make special arrangements, prepare to plant a seedling instead of a more mature tree. 

Some people plant trees for multiple people while visiting the facility. Consider planting a tree in memory of many of the deceased in your family. 

Of course, traveling to Israel is not possible for everyone. That's why such organizations as the Jewish National Fund exist. Its volunteers plant the trees while you provide the financial resources to make it happen.

3. Choose the number of trees to be planted

No matter what organization you choose, you can purchase trees at many different price levels. While a single tree may be less than $20, you can also select a ring of three trees, a circle of five trees, or an orchard of 10 trees. 

The Jewish National Fund also has several more ecological projects that you can invest in as a memorial gift to a grieving family. Instead of purchasing trees, you can also donate to help the organization build water reservoirs and dams. 

Finally, the Jewish National Fund allows you to choose certificates that celebrate particular ideals or beliefs. For example, you can purchase a Coretta Scott King Forest Certificate. The money for this memorial gift is used to plant trees in a particular region of Israel that was destroyed by fire. The certificate celebrates the ideals of peace and equality that were so important to King.

You can also use the memorial donation to purchase trees in memory of the children killed during the Holocaust. This would be an appropriate tribute for anyone, but especially those who lost members of their family during that time. 

4. Decide how to present the gift to the grieving family

If you are purchasing a memorial tree in Israel for another family, you may consider how you'll present the gift to the family. Most organizations will present you with a certificate that you can give to the family. Perhaps, you would like to create something a bit more personal.

For example, you may choose to create a collage of photos of the deceased enjoying nature. Accompany the pictures with a tree-planting poem or lyrics to an appropriate song. 

Other Eco-Friendly Memorial Ideas

You can consider other ideas if the deceased was a nature lover. Besides paying to have a tree planted in Israel in memory of the deceased, why not grow one near where the family lives as well? Check with your local community to see if you can purchase a tree to plant in a nearby park. You could also donate a tree to a school or synagogue. Add a bench near the tree or a commemorative plaque. This would give the grieving family members somewhere to sit and think about the deceased's life.

You may also consider creating a memorial butterfly garden in the memory of someone who was important to you. Research what plants attract butterflies and add a water source as well. 

Finally, pass out tree seedlings or flower seeds during your family member's funeral so guests can plant a memorial tree. Your loved one will be thought of each time one of the funeral attendees sees a beautiful bloom from the seeds or sits under the shade of the tree.

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