Hadassah national president Marcie Natan planted the first trees in what is to be a commemorative forest for the victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting, near Beersheba, on Friday.

The forest, planned to include more than 1,000 trees, is being planted in the Beersheba River Park, east of the city.

“The roots of this mulberry tree will hold the desert soil, produce fruit, and give shade to the families recently under fire who will enjoy the park. Trees are a Biblical symbol of life, and the saplings donated will bloom, grove after grove, in the memory of the children and the staff in Newtown,” Natan said.

Connecticut is home to over 7,000 Hadassah members; 230 of them live in Newtown itself.