A dying tree continues to grow
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A dying tree continues to grow

A passage in our Tu b’Shvat feature (page 33) caught our eye: The writer, Edmon Rodman, noted that saplings from the ancient horse chestnut tree that gave Anne Frank comfort when she saw it outside her window “will be sent out around the world to more than 200 schools and locations, including 11 locations in the United States that showed, according to a piece in The New York Times, ‘the consequences of intolerance’ – including racism, discrimination, and hatred.”

We turned to the original Times piece, dated Oct. 15, 2009, to learn more about those “11 locations,” chosen by the Anne Frank Center USA in Manhattan. (A call to the Anne Frank Center elicited the information that the saplings are actually in quarantine and will stay there for up to three years.)

One will eventually go to Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas, where in 1957 nine black students braved what amounted to a state government riot to enter the previously all-white school.

Another will be planted somewhere near or on the grounds of the White House, whose current occupants signal how far we have come from that fateful September day. (It’s noteworthy, also, that Martin Luther King’s birthday was marked on Monday as a federal holiday – an annual remembrance of a milestone for us all, not just for the black community.)

A sapling will also go to the William J. Clinton Foundation in Little Rock, in recognition of the former president and the foundation’s commitment to social justice.

One sapling is destined for the World Trade Center site – certainly a stark reminder of “the consequences of intolerance” – horror, death, and destruction.

Boston Common was chosen to receive one because of an 11-year-old girl’s bat mitzvah project.

Others, according to the Times, will go to Holocaust education sites “in Seattle; Farmington Hills, Mich.; Sonoma State University in California, whose exhibit was created by an Auschwitz survivor who attended school with Anne; and Boise, Idaho, whose statue of Anne was vandalized by a white supremacist group.”

May they flourish wherever they are planted, and uproot the ugliness of hatred.

RKB

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