To those living in the world of social justice, the idea of a violent revolution seems repulsive. Taking the lives of many to improve the lives of others is oxymoronic, paradoxical, a nightmare. We live in the world in which we dream of peaceful revolution, one of love, respect, and gardens. To wrap up the first session of the gardening and environmental education at Camp Young Judaea Sprout Lake, I decided to welcome participants into the ever growing, ever changing revolution of Jewish environmentalism. To my heart’s dismay, when I asked the campers what came to their mind when they heard the world revolution, their minds only went to historical examples of war, bloodshed, and death. These children, ages seven to thirteen could not think of a single example of a large-scale change that happened peacefully.
Fortunately, that all changed one the last day of camp. It is the role of educators, parents and activists to inspire children to take part in our peaceful revolution, a change in the way that our country interacts with nature, food, and most importantly, each other. By teaching them the concept that every single person has a spark of the Divine in their body and soul is the way we must begin this revolution. No longer can Jewish education be focused just on formal prayer and text, we must begin to look at prayer as our interactions with others, the natural world, and with G!d. Through these ideas, we will give birth to a revolution of caring, one without war, and one of peace.
Gardens are the classrooms where these new concepts should be taught. The way campers took charge of the garden, nurtured the plants, and spoke about their work was proof that every person can learn to look out for the other. On our closing day, I challenged campers to take the time and energy they used to weed, water, plant and enjoy their plants and apply it to their interactions with all people. Teaching loving kindness and the importance to commitment at this young age will truly mold these children into caring adults who will lead our revolution.