The Trees that Saved My Life – Shlomit’s Story

She’s the daughter of a forest ranger, the trees healed her, she’s interested in forest bathing and she brought ‘a silent space’ to Ramat Hanadiv. She’s charismatic, clever, and full of knowledge, but above all, she hugs trees (and they hug her back). We present: Shlomit Samish-Talor (age 85).


Her father studied forestry in the Netherlands and immigrated to Israel to fulfil the Zionist dream. The classical preschool was replaced by the forests, which were her best friends and childhood landscape. She went to primary school in Zichron Ya’akov, where her father worked as a ranger throughout the region’s forests (from Tirat Hacarmel to the triangle).

During her high school years, she studied at the Hebrew Reali School in Haifa, where she unsurprisingly chose the biological study track. The world of nature and the environment fascinated her, and her desire to more deeply understand them was significant, so when she continued to a BSc in botany and an MSc in microbiology no-one raised an eyebrow.

After several years abroad due to her husband’s research, she returned to Israel and worked in the laboratory of a health fund; this environment strengthened her belief that it is important to nurture health and not only respond to disease. Thus, she began in-depth study of approaches in complementary medicine and even enrolled in nutritional science at the Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment (Hebrew University), aiming of teach correct eating habits to the public.

Her charisma, knowledge, and desire to influence led Shlomit to teach at the School of Nutritional Sciences at the Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment, and to even develop a new field of nutritional education and instruction from infancy, which she published in the book: “Childhood meals as a development-shaping experience”.

Approaching 61, she took early retirement in order to be a fulltime grandmother. Her children prepared a special tribute to her life and brought her to a carpark in Zichron Ya’akov where they had installed a sign: ‘Mum’s home will be erected here’. Thus, after years of wandering due to her careers, she returned to her childhood home, Zichron Ya’akov.

During her first days in the town, she came to Ramat Hanadiv; to this day she clearly remembers her feelings and wonder at the charms of nature.

A conversation in the InfoShop led her to understand that they were looking for volunteers; so 15 years ago saw the beginning of a love story that continues strongly until today. She is particularly moved by the fact that she walks among the trees and looks after them in the knowledge that her father also worked and walked among them. Shlomit comes to the gardens daily with a deep feeling that this is the place that healed and heals her; in her opinion, this place is no less than a second home for her.

A hug from the trees – a silent space

About 4 years ago Shlomit became ill with cancer (a response to losing her son). A sworn lover of scientific articles and content, she discovered an article on ‘forest bathing’ (shinrin-yoku in Japanese) – a very acceptable concept in Japan, where it is strongly anchored in the health system. This approach


Shlomit adopted this approach and believes with all her heart that the forests at Ramat Hanadiv have played a significant role in her physical and mental healing.


claims that the natural environment and the trees themselves have significant healing qualities and abilities. Shlomit adopted this approach and believes with all her heart that the forests at Ramat Hanadiv have played a significant role in her physical and mental healing.

Thanks to her devotion and knowledge, and thanks to the circle of professional contacts she created, Shlomit was able to convince Ramat Hanadiv to initiate research in the field; this research is still in its teething (or rooting) stages, but Shlomit believes it will bring good tidings in the future. In parallel, Shlomit approached the management of Ramat Hanadiv to establish a ‘Silent Space’ – a delightful forest corner in the nature park, a place where one can practise ‘forest bathing’. This is a silent space that allows one to experience, feel, smell, and listen to the here and now, to fully experience nature. ‘Look at this tree and appreciate the powers it has obtained thanks to the sun and the water; is it not natural and wonderful that it gives of its strength to us too?’

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