These are sad days for our kibbutz. Shortly after the tragic death of Yoni Suher, we have now lost another very much valued kibbutz member: Ilan Tannenbaum.
Fortunately, Ilan’s death was more in the natural way of things than Yoni’s. He was 78 years old and had been suffering of Altzheimer’s for the past few years. Still, this loss weighs heavy on us. Ilan was the kibbutz gardener all his life. He designed, built and grew all the beautiful parks and gardens we see around us, and tended them lovingly all day long.
Ilan was born on TuBeShvat, Israel’s national tree-planting day. The name Ilan means “tree”. And he more than lived up to his name and birthday. He loved nothing more than to talk about his gardens. He knew every tree and shrub, their scientific names, when they were planted and how they were doing. If you wanted to know something about trees or plants, Ilan was the one to go to. He presided over every tree-planting ceremony and harvest celebration.
At his funeral, people spoke about the kind of person Ilan was as a father, a husband, a friend. Every single person spoke about his love for nature and gardening, about his kindness and his ready smile. I mainy remember his as the nice gardener, who would stop you on the path and tell you all about the particular tree you were standing in front of. The last few years, Ilan was getting progressively lost in the mists of Altzheimers. I could tell that he didn’t recognise me anymore, but he would still tell me about the trees, shrubs and flowers behind our house.
That beautiful park behind our house will always remind me of Ilan. He left us a legacy that will last forever. Just by walking along the paths and seeing what grows on both sides of us, we will always remember Ilan, the gardener.
Thank you, Ilan, for creating such a beautiful place for us to live in.