American Independence Park
American Independence Park, outside of Jerusalem, is a vast forest area that opened on July 4, 1976. The forest, parks, picnic areas, trails and visitor sites were established by KKL-JNF, to recognize and commemorate the bicentennial celebration of the United States. The park is located on the south-western slopes of the Judean Hills and visitors often pass through this site on the way to Jerusalem.
Monuments and Other Attractions
American Independence Park includes various monuments including a Memorial to the Challenger Space Shuttle Victims, and the Memorial to Ilan Ramon (Columbia Space Shuttle disaster victim).
The park provides panoramic views of the city of Jerusalem along with the Mediterranean Sea from various lookout points. The visitor’s center can provide guidance to locate additional areas of interest including, Forester's House (Beit HaYa'aran), Sorek Cave, Forester's Hill (Har Ya'aran), Mount Yaaleh and the Ruins of Byzantine Church. Further, throughout the park, there are picnic areas, and trails for biking and jogging.
Wall of Recognition for Planting a Grove of Trees
Within American Independence Park the Wall of Recognition is a centerpiece for honoring and celebrating loved ones. These monuments contain plaques to honor individuals and groups that plant Groves of Trees in Israel. These plaques are inscribed with names, along with their city, state and the year of the planting.
Directions to American Independence Park - Wall of Recognition
From Tel Aviv:
Access via Route No. 3866 road and about a mile before Nes Harim on the right side
Access via Route No. 3866 road and about a mile after Nes Harim on the left side
How to Visit American Independence Park: Access Points
Below are three entrances to the park from other locations.
From the Ein Kerem neighborhood in West Jerusalem take Route No. 3866 from the Kerem Junction and continue along the Sorek River (Nahal Soreq) until you reach the Jerusalem railroad at Refaim River (Nahal Refa’im). From here the road leads up to Moshav Bar Giora, which is situated at the approach to the park.
From Tel Aviv (via Beit Shemesh):
Take Route No. 3866, which climbs up the hill close to Moshav Mahseya until it reaches Mount Yaaleh.
From the Southwest:
Take the Ela Valley Road (Route No. 375) that ascends to the park via Kibbutz Netiv HaLamed-Hey, Tzur Hadassah and Moshav Bar Giora
Tree Planting: Planting Trees to Honor and Commemorate
At present, trees are planted in Israel where they are most needed and in areas that are conducive to their growth based on environmental research. The current locations include the Carmel Forest and the Negev Desert.
Planting a tree in Israel in memory of a loved one is a time-honored tradition that is symbolic and heartfelt. During all life-cycle events, but in particular when someone has experienced a loss, during a shiva and throughout the mourning process, planting a tree is a very common and appropriate way to show your support. American Independence Park is the home of vast areas of trees planted at the park's inception that helps to continue this tradition.
Jewish National Fund ("JNF") has partnered with shiva.com to continue the legacy of planting trees in Israel. You can plant trees 'in memory' of your loved one and help green the land of Israel. For each order, a certificate is mailed to the recipient with your personal message. Shiva.com focuses exclusively on providing culturally-appropriate ways to express condolences during shiva and periods of Jewish mourning and is dedicated to helping honor and commemorate loved ones.
TREES IN ISRAEL
Planting trees in Israel is a time-honored way of expressing condolences.
Placing a stone on a grave serves as a sign to others that someone has visited the site.
YAHRZEIT & MEMORIAL CANDLES
The candle flame represent the human soul and serves as a reminder for the frailty and beauty of life.