Deep among the swaying boughs of the Aminadav Forest in Jerusalem, picnickers may be surprised to come upon the last thing they’d expect to see in Israel—the memorial of an American president. The Kennedy Memorial, or Yad Kennedy, rises majestically in the midst of the forest, sheltering an eternal flame within its slender columns. Here in one of Jerusalem’s greenest areas is also one of its most poignant artistic achievements, as well as a symbol of the lasting goodwill shared by Israel and the United States of America. The Kennedy Memorial was built in 1966 following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
The memorial was built with the aid of donations raised in American Jewish communities, and was designed by Israeli architect David Resnick. The architecture of the 60 foot high memorial is deeply symbolic in a variety of ways. The shape of the Kennedy Memorial echoes that of a felled tree trunk, in representation of a life cut short. The 51 slender white columns that comprise the Kennedy Memorial are representative of the 50 states of the United States, plus the District of Columbia. At the center of the Kennedy Memorial burns an eternal flame, symbolizing the memory that lives on even after the life that inspired it has departed. The Kennedy Memorial can be found in the heart of the Aminadav Forest, a 7,000 dunam forest located near Hadassah Medical Center in Ein Kerem. The forest and picnic grounds in the immediate vicinity of the Kennedy Memorial are named the John F. Kennedy Peace Forest.
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