It is a park being built to remember Yehuda’s best friend, Chanan Sivan who died early last fall. (The sign, with Yehuda eating home-made pita sitting next to it, reads, 'Gan Chanan', in the name of Chanan Sivan, of blessed memory, Our Dear Son, a playful boy, donated by his family, his friends to the yishuv in his memory. Yom Yerushalayim, 5767) Chanan’s parents, Pinny and Tzippy, have spent months raising the money to make it a special park, fit for little children like Chanan. We helped in their efforts to raise some of the money that they needed through our amazing family and friends. We felt a special satisfaction feeling that we were able to do something – however small – to show the Sivans how much we cared and how much we missed Chanan.
So, every day for the last week, Yehuda and I have been visiting the park. We’ve watched them laying the stones and setting up the equipment. We’ve watched with great excitement as they poured the rubber (most parks here have sand and pebbles on the ground and it’s very exciting to see a park with rubber!). It’s been hard not to show my tears as I’ve walked by the park. It is so beautifully cheerful and so poignantly sad at the same time.
Yesterday, the park finally opened in a moving ceremony for the whole yishuv hosted by the Sivan family. It rained in the early afternoon and I was desperately worried that the event wouldn’t go ahead. They ended up moving certain things inside, but the event did continue. They had a play about Yom Yerushalayim, pita making, songs by Chanan’s friends, and then the presentation of the plaque. Pinny thanked everyone who contributed including all of our friends and family who contributed to the creation of this park.
The park was flooded with children who were excited to jump on new equipment and enjoy the day. It was wonderful to see so much joy coming from something so tragic. The park reminds us so much of Chanan and the sweet spirited, pure little boy that he was. It’s hard to go there without crying.
Yehuda woke up this morning demanding to go to Chanan’s park before school. I figured we’d be there alone – but there were many children who had, apparently, had the same idea. And this afternoon it was packed again. Chanan’s sister, Hadas, was there laughing and having a great time. Of course, watching her made me want to cry, but it also filled me with amazement that she is still able to be a kid and able to have fun. And now she can do it in a park for her brother.
We feel very proud that we were able to help, in our own very small way, in the creation of this perfect memory of Chanan and we thank everyone who contributed from the bottom of our hearts.
May we know only S’mchot.
May we know only S’mchot.