A total of 25 olive trees were planted at a ceremony in southern Israel to honor the memory of Lori Gilbert-Kaye, 60, who was shot and killed by a lone teenage gunman on April 27, 2019 during Shabbat-morning services on the last day of Passover at Chabad of Poway in Southern California. Three others were injured in the attack.

The ceremony took place at Kfar Silver Youth Village, part of the World ORT Kadima Mada school network, where local children helped plant the trees.

A plaque bears the inscription: “May these trees grow to be a source of strength and hope of a bright future, befitting of Lori’s blessed memory.

The tree-planting initiative was spearheaded by Michael Ross, one of the winners of the Combat Anti-Semitism movement’s recent Venture Creative Contest to fight anti-Semitism.

Ross initiated the project to plant olive trees in honor of victims of anti-Semitic attacks. Those in memory of Kaye are the first to be planted in this effort.

“I wanted to create a meaningful response to anti-Semitic attacks. The olive trees will grow as a symbol of life and hope in the face of hatred. Wherever anti-Semitic attacks occur, they will serve as a physical reminder that we must eradicate the evil of hatred and discrimination,” he said.

Combat Anti-Semitism is a nonpartisan, global grassroots movement of individuals and organizations across all religions and faiths, united around the goal of ending anti-Semitism in all its forms.

Last month, it hosted a virtual memorial ceremony to mark the first anniversary of the Poway shooting. In addition to congregants, participants included U.S. Special Envoy for Combating Anti-Semitism Elan Carr; Israeli Ambassador to United Nations Danny Danon; and Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, U.N. Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion and Belief.

© 2020 American Jewish Congress.