Beth Shalom’s Daffodil Garden: in memory of the children… then and now
In October 2018, Congregation Beth Shalom (CBS) was one of several area congregations that participated in the Worldwide Daffodil Project. The project began in 2010, with an idea and a dream, by the nonprofit Holocaust organization Am Yisrael Chai (Nation of Israel Live). The goal was twofold: to plant 1.5 million yellow daffodils around the world in remembrance of the 1.5 million children who perished in the Holocaust, and to support children who are living in humanitarian crises in the world today. Including this year, the project has planted more 753,000 bulbs in more than 371 locations.
In 2018, Congregation Beth Shalom families, including many children, planted 500 bright yellow daffodil bulbs in a specially designed campus garden. They bloomed beautifully in the late winter of 2019, and in the following year an additional 250 daffodil bulbs were added. In 2020, they bloomed again. However, just as they peeked their heads out in 2021, North Texas was hit by days of severe cold and snow that we all remember. Sadly, the emerging buds froze, and the CBS garden was bare.
During this year’s cold spells, several congregants covered the garden with a large protective plant blanket. Though thinner than before, the beloved daffodils seem on the road to recovery.
Congregations who worked with Am Yisrael Chai were required to erect a garden plaque. Its message ends with a poignant quote by the late Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel which is all the more profound in light of the tragic situation in Ukraine today:
Resilient, bright, and filled with hope, these daffodils,
Which return with a burst of color each spring,
Are part of the worldwide living Holocaust Memorial
That aspires to plant 1.5 million daffodils in memory
Of the 1.5 million children who perished in the Holocaust
And for children who suffer in the humanitarian crises
Around the world today.
“How can a person…not be moved by compassion?
And above all, how can anyone who remembers remain silent?”
Two years ago, a special Beth Shalom friend was visiting when the daffodils were blooming. She generously offered to provide the garden with a lovely bench, a place to enjoy a sunny day and contemplate what the garden and project mean to the congregants. This year the bulbs bloomed just a few days before Beth Shalom’s return to in-person Shabbat services. Shabbat was filled with gratitude and many Shehecheyanus.
Save the date: June 12 B’nai B’rith Person of the Year
The Isadore Garsek Lodge of B’nai B’rith will hold a luncheon honoring the Jewish Person of the Year, at 11 a.m. Sunday, June 12, at Congregation Ahavath Sholom, 4050 S. Hulen St. The Jewish Person of the Year, always a closely guarded secret, will be announced at the luncheon.
Rabbi Sidney Zimelman will be presented with the B’nai B’rith Community Service Award in recognition of his dedication and commitment to the Jewish community.
The B’nai B’rith academic grant winners will also be recognized. The lodge will be offering $3,000 in grants. The amount of each grant will be determined by the number and quality of the applicants. Applications are now open for high school seniors graduating in May 2022. They can be obtained from your synagogue or the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County or by emailing Robert Chicotsky at email@example.com.
Cost for the luncheon, which will be catered by Ahavath Sholom, is $25 per person. For more information, or to purchase a ticket, contact Rich Hollander at firstname.lastname@example.org; Alex Nason at email@example.com; or Marvin Beleck at Beleckmarvinbeleck@aol.com.
To nominate someone for the Jewish Person of the Year Award, please write to: Isadore Garsek Lodge #269, P.O. Box 101234, Fort Worth, TX 76185.