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The Bricha Trail

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SPONSORED BY JNF

How did the project come about?

In 1945, thousands of Jewish survivors were stranded in post-war Europe, which was still smouldering with anti-Semitism. The bricha (the Hebrew word for ‘escape’) movement comprised a group of Holocaust survivors who had reached Israel despite the British Mandate. Its membersknew about the many displaced camp survivors still languishing in Europe and chose to return to rescue these forsaken people. They galvanised their meagre resources and traversed Europe at huge risk.

In the end, the bricha movement succeeded, until 1948, in relocating 300 000 Jewish survivors, providing them with safe passage and  giving them food and clothing as part of their efforts to bring them back to Israel.

The Bricha Trail commemorates this part of Jewish history, which will be described along the trail for posterity.

The Keren Kayemet/JNF’s walking and cycling trails through forests are an established part of Israeli outdoor life and culture throughout the country, serving adults, children, people with disabilities and tourists.

The Bricha Trail project involves laying out a walking trail and recreational areas and planting trees, as well as placing information boards and educational signs along the trail.

Who is the JNF of South Africa?

In 1901, shortly after the creation of the Keren Kayemet in Israel (KKL-JNF), the JNF was established in South Africa and has remained an integral part of the international KKL-JNF. For many years, the JNF of South Africa was the main fund-raising arm of South African Zionism. From generation to generation, we have continued the JNF’s unique traditions of connecting with Israel via our tree certificates and the Blue Box for Israel.

During our 117 years in existence, the JNF of South Africa, with the generous contributions and involvement of the local Jewish community, has raised funds for various important projects in Israel. These include the South Africa Forest near the Kineret and the South African Memorial Forest, established to honour those ex-South Africans who fell in defence of the state of Israel.

What is EcoZionism?

The Keren Kayemet adopted this term to describe the implementation of Israeli eco technology throughout the world.

From the early 1990s, the JNF of South Africa began forestry and eco-consciousness environmental education projects in Limpopo, Mamelodi and Cape Town, offering these cities access to the vast eco-experience of the Keren Kayemet. The JNF of South Africa has also contributed to important United Nations conferences in South Africa, including the World Summit for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, held in 2002, and COP17 in Durban, which took place in 2011.

The Keren Kayemet in Israel has evolved into a global environmental leader, offering its technology to Africa and developed countries. Besides its international eco-outreach projects, the JNF-KKL in Israel has planted more than 260 million trees, constructed more than 240 water reservoirs and dams, developed more than 250 000 acres of arid desert land, created more than 2 000 parks, provided the infrastructure for more than 1 000 communities, and continues to connect thousands of children and young adults to Israel and their Jewish heritage.

It is noteworthy that Israel is 59 times smaller than South Africa – the same size as our Kruger National Park.

  • If you would like to participate in paying tribute to this heroic movement, contact Beverley on 011 645-2579, email bevp@beyachad.co.za or log on to https://www.jnf.co.za/eco-projects/

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