Ezra – a Strawberry of Hope
In the Spring of 2011, five year-old Ezra planted a strawberry plant in a little garden he made in front of his house. Ezra’s favorite flavor is strawberry. He was a very good gardener.
Every morning before going to school, Ezra checked to see if any new strawberries were peeking out. Every afternoon after school, he carefully watered his plant. He chased away the snails and any threatening insects. He kept the ground near the strawberry clear of weeds.
Ezra’s plant produced only a handful of fruits, but he was pleased with his success. He made sure everyone had a chance to taste how delicious they were, freshly picked. When he came home from his vacation at the beach in August, he happily discovered his plant had survived the heat of the Tuscan summer. Before going to his mother’s for a vacation from which he has still not returned, Ezra watered his plant and pulled away some weeds near it. He checked his plant one last time before getting in the car.
Ezra has not seen his plant for nearly 7 months. If his family and friends at home could speak with him, they would have told him many things, including Happy Birthday on February 26, or that Florence had the coldest winter in the past 25 years, all covered in snow. But Ezra is in St. Petersburg, Russia, where he has been placed in an institute, a Yeshiva, where he is not permitted contact of any time with his family or his friends at home. No one has had contact with Ezra, in person or by phone, all this time.
Ezra does not even know that the most remarkable thing happened. When the Tuscan snows melted, his strawberry plant was still there, thriving.
It is waiting for Ezra to come home.