September 9th 2014
Ramat HaNadiv can be translated into English as Donor Heights. Named for Baron Edmond de Rothschild who made a number of significant contributions to the establishment of the State of Israel, the gardens cover over a thousand acres in northern Israel, between the cities of Zichron Yaakov and Binyamina.
Baron Rothschild and his wife are buried on the grounds among the Memorial Gardens. The gardens formally open into an entrance area. Notice the Rothschild family’s crest hanging over the entrance gate. This section is divided into five long sections representing the five Rothschild brothers. You’ll see this theme of five repeated in other parts of the gardens.
The Fragrance Garden is most unusual and was designed for special appreciation by visually-impaired visitors, although it can be enjoyed by anyone. The most noteworthy feature of the Fragrance Garden is the scented flowers and spices that are at their peak of fragrance during hot summer days. The beauty of this garden is enhanced by a round pool and benches. A guard rail with explanations in Braille makes it possible for visually-impaired guests to better understand their surroundings while feeling safe.
The Cascade Garden faces the Mediterranean to the west. Look for the map that indicates the locations of the Baron’s settlements. It won’t be hard to spot since the large map is made of stone and appears in relief. A modest, private amphitheater plays host to classical music concerts that begin at dusk on summer evenings.
Another section is known as the Rose Garden. Note the five small fountains that are implanted between the symmetrical beds of roses. Like the five sections of the entrance area, these represent the five Rothschild sons. A larger pool to the north represents the family patriarch.
The Palm Garden is home to a variety of the range of palm trees that grow throughout the world. The most prominent is the Washingtonia palm which the Baron chose to line the main streets of the settlements he had a hand in supporting, such as Rishon LeZion and Zichron Yaakov.
The area where the Baron is buried is known as The Crypt. Enter the stone doors and walk down the dimly lit tunnel to visit the tomb itself. In the courtyard, note the cypress tree that is shaped like a flame and meant to invoke the image of a memorial candle.
There are picnic grounds next to the Memorial Gardens and multiple marked circular trails for hiking.