At a festive ceremony held on a beautiful new deck, the Morton L. Mandel Oak Mile was dedicated at the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens on November 1, 2018. The ceremony was attended by
Morton L. Mandel, chairman and CEO of the Mandel Foundation;
Mr. Alan Berkley, chairman of the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens;
Professor Jehuda Reinharz, president of the Mandel Foundation;
Mr. Stephen Hoffman, vice chairman of the Mandel Foundation; and
Mr. Moshe Vigdor, director general of the Mandel Foundation-Israel. Faculty, senior staff, and friends of the Mandel Foundation-Israel rounded out the well-wishers assembled.
Mr. Tom Amit, director general of the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens welcomed all those in attendance and expressed his happiness that the permanent home of the Mandel Foundation in Jerusalem is being built adjacent to the Botanical Gardens. He was followed by
Dr. Ori Fragman-Sapir, the scientific director of the Gardens, who spoke about the oak tree, which he considers the most important tree in Israel, America, Europe, and Asia.
Morton L. Mandel speaking at the dedication of the Oak Mile at the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens
“It is due to your many attributes and all your successes that we chose to honor you with the Oak Mile,” said
, chairman of the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens. He lauded the oak as a Biblical symbol of strength and divinity, which serves as a universal symbol of kindness and hospitality. Mr. Berkley acknowledged the firm roots and grounding that Mr. Mandel received from his mother, who served as a moral compass who instilled her sons with integrity, respect, honesty, and generosity. "Just like our oak trees from this garden are now populating streets, communities and cities in Israel," he added, "so too are your Mandel scholars populating all aspects of Israeli society."
“I am pleased and proud to be here," said
Morton L. Mandel in response to the recognition he received. "This garden is more than a thing of beauty; it is a work in progress that's helping to maintain a living history of nature.”
At the end of the ceremony, three Ohio Buckeyes – the official tree of the state of Ohio – were planted in honor of three inspiring brothers: Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel. The trees, which will be displayed in a location at the junction of the future Mandel campus and the Botanical Gardens, symbolize the shared commitment of the Mandel Foundation and the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens to the city of Jerusalem, to excellence and education, and to creating a more just, compassionate, and inclusive society in Israel.