Tu B’Shevat is the special holiday of planting trees in Israel and this year – on Tu BiShevat (Monday, Jan 25) – a new vineyard will come to life in Gush Etzion in memory of Ezra Schwartz.
Ezra was a young American Yeshiva student tragically murdered last November, together with two other Jews. In his memory – people all across the world – are being asked to plant at least one tree in this special vineyard via a very unique website: www.trees4ezra.org
The project is being run by “Zo Artzeinu – Israel Trees,” an organization that has planted 150,000 new fruit trees in Israel in the last 18 years and whose farmers are famous for keeping all aspects of Jewish agricultural law.
Ezra’s parents and grandparents fully support and endorse this project and actually planted the first trees in this vineyard when they visited Israel last month. A special, moving one minute video was made with his parents and grandparents talking about this project and planting the first trees on the special website: www.trees4ezra.org
The horrific murder made international headlines when the NFL’s New England Patriots, in a game watched by millions, stood in a moment of silence for Ezra. Since Ezra was born and raised in Sharon, Massachusetts, and was a proud fan of the Patriots, Robert Kraft, owner of the team, felt that this was a fitting way to memorialize and remember him.
Now, thanks to this unique website, people all over the world can do something in memory of Ezra… and they don’t need to own an NFL team to do it! Simply by going to www.trees4ezra.org people can click a few buttons and plant a tree in the new Ezra Schwartz Vineyard – located very close to the site of his murder. Israeli farmers will plant and care for the trees and the vineyard can be visited by anyone at any time.
In order to make this project even more meaningful, the organizers are asking that people light a candle in memory of Ezra after they have finished their online order. People all over the world will then post the picture of themselves lighting the candle to #trees4ezra which will then inspire even more people to do the same.
In addition, this is the first Tu B’Shevat after Shmittah (the Sabbatical year), so Israeli farmers are looking to plant much more than usual and this project will be a wonderful boost to their hard work. By planting these trees, Jewish farmers will be working and cultivating the land that has rested for over a year and will bring it to life, once again!
The Ezra Schwartz Vineyard will make the land come alive with new trees and mouth-watering fruits. By inviting people from all over the world to take part in this project, it will unite people who love Israel in a special and unique way. It is an amazing idea and we hope it succeeds!