Leaving a Living Legacy in Israel
A lover of nature and the land of Israel, Goldie Keehn of Shelburne Falls, MA enjoyed spending time outdoors and frequently purchased and planted trees in Israel through Jewish National Fund. Goldie was only nine-months-old when her mother died, and she was raised by her beloved Aunt Frances (Fanny) K. Coblentz, who immigrated to New York City from what is now Gdansk, Poland in 1921. She became a well-respected teacher, a profession that Goldie also pursued as an adult.
The youngest of the family's children, Goldie formed a special connection to Fanny and remained eternally grateful for what she did for her as a child.
Following her passing in 2014, Goldie's family carried out her wishes by bequeathing a forest in Israel in memory of her cherished Aunt Fanny. In May 2017, a forest was dedicated in memory of Frances K. Coblentz near Be'er Sheva. The ceremony took place at JNF's Donor Recognition Center in American Independence Park in Jerusalem and was attended by Goldie's family in Israel and from the U.S.
"Goldie was keenly aware of how much Fanny loved Israel and tree planting, and wanted to ensure that her legacy lived on by a means she was most passionate about," said Philip Keehn, Goldie's brother and the executor of her estate.
"Goldie was a free spirit who loved nature and greenery," said Dr. Aryeh Keehn, Goldie's nephew who lives in Beit Shemesh. "She studied in Israel in the 1970s and was very devoted to her family and also to the state of Israel."
The dedication ceremony was opened by Dr. Keehn's wife, Arlene, who said, "Goldie donated a forest of trees in honor of her Aunt Fanny; trees that help make the area around Be'er Sheva green. We are very grateful to her for her gift and to JNF for carrying out this meaningful project." After she spoke, Dr. Keehn shared some recollections of holidays the family had spent together, and of how all the nieces and nephews always looked forward to Goldie's visits to Israel.
To the Keehn family, there's no greater way of honoring Goldie's legacy than planting trees that will green Israel for generations to come.
To see other stories of people who have left their estates to JNF, visit jnflegacy.org or call 800.562.7526.