Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Fly with Zvuvi to “The Asking Tree”

Shalom Girls & Boys:
My name is Zvuvi. I’d like to be your guide to life in Israel for kids. I’ve already come out with a book – Zvuvi’s Israel – that takes you to fun places in Israel. Ask your teacher or librarian if s/he can show you a copy. You’ll see that I’m a “shovav” – that’s Hebrew for a fun-loving, mischievous boy. I really don’t get into trouble, I just like to always be on the move. That’s why the first thing I’m going to do in this blog is take you to the mall in Kiryat Ono -- a small city in the center of the country, right outside Tel Aviv.

“What? Another mall?” you’re asking. Yeah, I know. You’ve got plenty of malls in the United States. But I bet none of them has an “Asking Tree.” I just found out about it and it’s the only tree of its kind in Israel. It’s really neat. It’s a real citrus tree that’s gone bald. So the management of the mall transported it inside and painted it to look like a sculpture. Why is it called an “Asking Tree”? Here’s the buzz. Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur are when we pray for a good year. The “Asking Tree” lets boys and girls make specific requests for themselves and the country. A lady named Aviv is in charge of the “Asking Tree”. She told me that any kid who wants to ask a question is given a piece of recycled paper on which to write their request. The “leaf” is then hung on the tree.

You like that idea? I think it’s pretty cool. But the best thing of all is that at the end of the holiday season – that means after Simchat Torah – the Mayor of Kiryat Ono is going to collect all the note leaves and drive to Jerusalem, where he will present them to the secretary of the Knesset – Israel’s parliament. The members of the Knesset will read the questions and discuss among themselves what can be done about all the requests. Now, I’d like to be a fly on the wall in that room!

What about creating some type of “Asking Tree” in your school? Let me know if you do.

See you in 2 weeks.
Shana Tova…Zvuvi

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