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Tu BiSh'vat - Wishes for the Trees

In honor of Ronen's first birthday we planted a tree is his memory on the grounds of our synagogue in Chevy Chase. (Apparently at some point it got marked on Google Maps, if you're ever in the area and walking along the Rock Creek Forest Trail.)

Apparently this year in our children's after school program, they were assigned to write a "Wish for the Trees" in honor of Tu BiSh'vat. Maybe it was supposed to be a birthday card? I'm not sure.

Whatever it was, almost-seven year-old D presented her card to me, so proud: "Open it, Ima!" she said excitedly, smiling.

"To Ronen's Tree. I wish you pertekt (protect) Ronen."

The tree is thriving though in the dead of winter it's bare like all the others. Probably needs a bit of pruning. The tree has grown a lot since we planted it in August 2020. As I had expected, the fact that the children who play just beyond the fence behind Ronen's tree would have been his playmates makes it harder for me to sit there... but when I do, it's still a blessing.

I don't know whether I believe that the tree protects Ronen, but it certainly makes a space for his memory. If it helps my children hold on to him, too, then the tree is doing its job excellently.

Happy birthday, tree. We are blessed to be watching you grow, even if we would have wished to watch Ronen grow instead.

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