By Alisa Chambers and Sam Moore
In partnership with Congregation Bet Haverim, the Grant Park Conservancy (GPC) is pleased to announce the planting of a Worldwide Daffodil Project garden in the Erskine Fountain beds at historic Grant Park on Sunday, November 14, 2021. Over 75 people from Congregation Bet Haverim joined the GPC to plant 2,000 daffodil bulbs for the Daffodil Project, a Living Holocaust Memorial.
Bringing a Daffodil Project garden to Grant Park was the idea of local resident Ms. Linda Fishman, and her daughter Julie Fishman. “We want to express our deep appreciation to the Grant Park Conservancy…who worked with us over the past five years to establish this garden in Atlanta’s oldest park. In the mid-19th century the first Jewish settlers in Atlanta lived and worked in the adjacent southeast Atlanta neighborhoods. We hope that this garden and our future community education programs will preserve this forgotten history for new generations of Atlantans at a time when our country is again divided by hatred, violence, racism, anti-Semitism, and threats to human rights,” they said.
The group listened to remarks from Michelle Blackmon, Executive Director of the GPC, Andrea Videlefsky, founder of the Worldwide Daffodil Project, Theresa Prestwood, president of the board for Congregation Bet Haverim, and Rabbi Dayle Friedman. Michelle Blackmon said, “It is a privilege to have worked with Linda and Julie, the Worldwide Daffodil Project, and Congregation Bet Haverim. As we began restoring the fountain, we knew we had finally found the right spot for our Daffodil Project garden, a space of beauty and peace befitting this important living memorial.”
After the recital of Eli Eli, a song associated with Yom HaShoah, the congregation began planting daffodils in the beds beside the fountain and at the entrances of the Erskine Fountain area. The children and parents, equipped with cultivators, hand trowels, and bulb planters, worked together to plant 2,000 daffodil bulbs.
The Daffodil Project was founded in 2010 by Andrea Videlefsky in Atlanta. This project aims to spread Holocaust and genocide education and awareness by engaging communities through action-oriented programs and initiatives. The main goal of the project is to plant 1,500,000 daffodils across the world through the creation of memorial gardens, creating a Living Holocaust Memorial, honoring the more than 1.5 million children who were killed during the Holocaust. “Each daffodil we plant together brings hope, light and unity as we remember the past and remind ourselves to take action,” said Andrea. Next spring, 2,000 daffodils will bloom through the newly landscaped beds of the recently restored Erskine Fountain, which is being renovated in thoughtful phases by the Grant Park Conservancy. Phases I and II included renovating the island that the fountain sits on, restoring the original marble bench and plaza, and restoring the 1896 bronze fountain after nearly a century of disrepair.
The current restoration phase includes installing a cobblestone entryway, installing a landscape of native plants and flowers and the installation of the Daffodil Project garden. This phase of the project will cost $29,000. “We are honored to have received a $10,000 donation on behalf of Congregation Bet Haverim and a $2,500 Callahan Incentive Grant from the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation. In addition, Friends of Erskine, an important partner in this restoration work, has pledged to raise $3,000 towards this phase,” Blackmon said. Fundraising is underway for the remaining $13,500 needed to complete the project. For more information, contact the GPC at firstname.lastname@example.org.