Sharon Stone Plants a Tree in Israel
Visits JNF-KKL's John F. Kennedy Memorial in Jerusalem
Contact: Jodi Bodner • JNF Director of Communications • 212-879-9305 ext. 221 • email@example.com
March 13, 2006-- While in Israel at the invitation of the Peres Center for Peace, Hollywood star Sharon Stone visited Jewish National Fund's only project dedicated to an American President, the John F. Kennedy Memorial, where she planted an olive tree in the name of peace.
"I was born on a farm and I know about planting with my own hands," she said as she removed her sandals, gently scraped the clod of earth off the sapling and ensured that it was correctly covered and watered.
Ms. Stone arrived in Israel on March 7 for a five-day trip sponsored by the Peres Center for Peace, founded by Nobel Peace laureate Shimon Peres. Her first visit to Israel, it was spent traveling around the country meeting with various Israeli and Palestinian groups promoting peace. During her visit, the actress played soccer with a group of Israeli and Palestinian children, visited Israeli hospitals that care for Palestinian children and celebrated her 48th birthday with a gala event raising funds for children's educational and health projects.
On a perfect spring day in Jerusalem, when the fruit trees were in full bloom as were the pink cyclamen and red anemones that dot the hillside on the way to the Memorial located in the serene valley of Mt. Aminadav in the southwestern Jerusalem Hills, Ms. Stone arrived at and was welcomed by KKL’s Director General, Yitzhak Eliyashive and Andy Michelson, Director of KKL’s American Department. “It’s a big honor to be here,” she said.
Walking around the perimeter of the Memorial, designed as a tree stump to convey the president’s untimely death with 51 pillars, almost 24-ft. high, each representing one of the 50 states and the
Inside the Memorial, she was presented with a copy of Psalms 92.13 which refers to the righteous. As she approached the memorial flame she requested a moment of solitude for personal reflection.
Outside, at the tree planting site, she read the Tree Planter’s Prayer herself. Offered a hoe to help her plant, she refused and said that “she was a country girl and wanted to touch the land with her hands and feet.” She took off her sandals and quickly knelt down using her hands to plant the tree. “I do this for love,” she said. “You can tell that I am a farm girl.”
Deeply moved, she had tears in her eyes and trouble speaking. “Thank you,” she said haltingly, as she watered her tree. “How grateful I am to come here in peace and for peace. In the name of my sons, Roan and Laird, and with love and desire for peace and joy, I plant and water these trees.” The actress was given a framed tree certificate signed by JNF of America President Ronald Lauder, Chairman Yechiel Leket, and co-chairman Ezra Binyamini.
The John F. Kennedy Memorial was conceived of almost immediately after the president's assassination and inaugurated on July 4, 1966. Inside the building, facing a bronze bust of Kennedy, is a facsimile of the relief and eternal flame at his gravesite in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C. Each of the pillars bears a State coat-of-arms, and the 50 windows between them gaze out on the afforested hill slopes of the enveloping forest. The plaza in front is used for special events fostering friendship ties between the people of the U.S. and Israel.
Many celebrities have planted trees in the VIP Tree Planting Center including Senator Edward Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Frank Sinatra, Rock Hudson, and Chris Noth.
All pictures are courtesy of JNF and are available in high-res jpeg format.
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JEWISH NATIONAL FUND (JNF) began in 1901 as a dream and vision to reestablish a homeland in Israel for Jewish people everywhere. Jews the world over collected coins in iconic JNF Blue Boxes, purchasing land and planting trees until ultimately, their dream of a Jewish homeland was a reality. JNF gives all generations of Jews a unique voice in building a prosperous future for the land of Israel and its people.
JNF embodies both heart and action; our work is varied in scope but singular in benefit. We strive to bring an enhanced quality of life to all of Israel’s residents, and translate these advancements to the world beyond. JNF is greening the desert with millions of trees, building thousands of parks, creating new communities and cities for generations of Israelis to call home, bolstering Israel’s water supply, helping develop innovative arid-agriculture techniques, and educating both young and old about the founding and importance of Israel and Zionism.
JNF is a registered 501(c)(3) organization and United Nations NGO, which continuously earns top ratings from charity overseers.
For more information on JNF, call 888-JNF-0099 or visit www.jnf.org.