May 21, 2018  By Lynne Merriam  Category: Special Needs,

Garden of Peace dedicated at LOTEM's Ecological Park

This past year, we dedicated the Garden of Peace at LOTEM's site in Emek HaShalom, the Valley of Peace. I wanted this Garden to honor my husband, Fred Merriam, who exemplifies being a man of peace. Fred and I have been to Israel many times. Now that we are part of the Jewish National Fund Disabilities Task Force, we have felt an even greater connection to Eretz Yisrael. 

To commemorate my husband’s 93rd birthday, I wanted to honor him in a special and meaningful way. He has always loved the outdoors and is an avid botanist. We were hikers and campers in our younger years, so I felt that honoring him at LOTEM combined the best of all that is meaningful to him.

More from the Jewish National Fund Task Force on Disabilities 

North Americans with disabilities meet Israelis 'just like them,' and it's profound
Moved and awe-inspired witnessing Israelis with special needs

The garden was a surprise, and he actually cried when he realized that it was dedicated to him at the unveiling of the plaque. He talks all the time about how much this garden has touched him. He feels it gives him a special tie to LOTEM and Israel.

We also scattered the ashes of our beloved dog, Maxie, in the garden. This gave us closure for a very sad loss of an animal that was part of our lives for 12 ½ years.

Being at LOTEM's site in the Valley of Peace is a unique and spiritual experience. We encourage anyone who visits Israel to take the time to visit the ecological farm and see the wonderful opportunities for the disabled.

My family thanks to Jewish National Fund for giving us this opportunity to have a special garden. It will always remind us of our connection to, and love for, Israel.