Gardens / Gardening Subscribe

A selection of initiatives, blogs, resources and communities on Jewcology which focus on garden-gardening.


Blogs

Earth Etude for Elul 25 – Practicing Teshuvah

by Maxine Lyons~ I lost a lot of azalea bushes this past winter. The space looks stark and bare, and I am deciding what to place there to fill that void that a harsh Boston winter destroyed in my garden. The weight of the snowfall broke branches. I was at first very upset looking at the spot where azaleas once flourished in the springtime, and angry that the snow’s destructive force did this when I was not home for two months (to brush them off and relieve the pressure of the snow’s weight). I used a combination of practices from Mussar (using the soul-trait ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 10 – I Can Do Something

by Joan Rachlin~ I recently retired and have since been immersed in climate change related activities. I once heard it said that most working folk are "denatured," so one of my post-retirement goals has been to “renature.” With this kavannah in heart and mind, I have been trying to more actively appreciate the boundless gifts nature offers us daily. Most specifically, I’ve begun to notice, appreciate, and more consistently support those who produce the food that sustains my family and me. Through the physical labor of farmers we are given the gift of nourishm...

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Earth Etude for Elul 3 – One Natural World

by Rabbi Robin Damsky~ While I do a great deal of writing for In the Gardens – our nonprofit that brings organic edible gardens to greater Chicagoland, donates 80% of our produce to the hungry and teaches mindfulness practice – when thinking about Elul, I had to dig in, no pun intended, for what to say. Because it’s not just about sharing the love of gardening or teaching about sustainable and healthy food. It’s about creation and our future. It’s about living on the earth as an interconnected whole. For me, this is the main message of the High Holy ...

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Towards an all-inclusive Tu Bishvat

Tomorrow (Shabbat 11th February) we celebrate Tu Bishvat, the Jewish New Year for trees. It is a time when we celebrate the natural world, when we take time to contemplate all that God has provided for us – the trees, flowers, fruit, rivers, seas. But in such times of celebration we must also spare a thought for those less fortunate. Those subject to rejection because their physical form isn’t perfect.  Those who find themselves dismissed from lack of beauty. That is, those fruits and vegetables excluded from the supermarket shelves due to blemishes or ...

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Eden Village is Hiring Farm Educator Apprentices

Eden Village Camp is Hiring! Submit Your Application About Eden Village Camp: Eden Village Camp aims to be a living model of a thriving, sustainable Jewish community, grounded in social responsibility and inspired Jewish spiritual life. By bringing the wisdom of our tradition to the environmental, social, and personal issues important to today’s young people, we practice a Judaism that is substantive and relevant. Through our Jewish environmental and service-learning curricula, joyful Shabbat observance, pluralistic Jewish expression, and inspiring, diverse staff ...

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Earth Etudes for Elul: A Collection of Meaningful Ways to Enrich Our Lives

by Susan Levine ~ It’s not too late to read the thought-provoking Earth Etudes for the month of Elul. Now is a good time to think about our lives and what matters: our family, our friends, this Earth we call our home and all the other people and animals who share it with us. How can we take care of our health and work towards a peaceful and sustainable future for our children? A special thank you to Rabbi Katy Z. Allen for organizing this project and to our contributing writers with their meaningful essays, poems and thoughts. You can read them here whenever ...

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Our Earth Etudes for Elul: Thank you to our contributors!

Thank you!

By Susan Levine A special thank you to Rabbi Katy Z. Allen for organizing this project and to our contributing writers with their meaningful essays, poems and thoughts. Elul is the month that leads up to Rosh Hashanah, but these Earth Etudes are insightful windows into the meaning of life and the interconnection between our lives, our Earth and our spiritual existence at any time.  ~ Etude Elul 1 by Andy Oram: Save the Earth to Save Our children. Read more... ~ Etude Elul 2 by Rabbi Robin Damsky: Oh Deer What Can the Matter Be? Read more… ~ Etude Elul 3 by ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 29: Hope Sprouting

by Rabbi Judith Kummer   ~ When the world is whirling and despair for the future begins to crowd in I turn to growing things, seeking hope.   The sweet potato plant cutting I made last week, Bereft of leaves but stuck into a vase to root anyway-- Just in case-- has now sprouted tiny purple and spring-green leaves, against all odds.   How did it know to grow, know it could grow?  What generative force propelled it forward into a future I sometimes cannot imagine?   In the garden Swaths of bright ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 27: Teshuvah in the Garden

by Maxine Lyons ~ My perennial love relationship with the earth is expressed most explicitly in tending my flower gardens. For me it is spiritual work, a way to respect the earth while feeling more mindful of how growth and change is an ongoing  process and mirrors the major themes of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The spiritual work of Teshuvah on the Yamim Norayim for me often centers on facing challenges, reviewing the aspects of my life that need changing and seeking new ways that I can re-commit myself to positive actions to bring about those changes. The ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 21: The Food We Eat

by Leora Mallach ~ The severe drought affecting the northeast this growing season is causing farmers to apply for federal disaster relief (they must prove at least 30% crop loss to qualify). According to USDA data, Massachusetts topsoils were 25% drier in July 2016 than the 10 year mean, and there are mandatory water restrictions in many towns. The National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC), established at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1995, tells us: Drought is an insidious hazard of nature. It is often referred to as a "creeping phenomenon" and ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 18: Help the Honeybees

by Susie Davidson ~ I always enjoy perusing the Jewish holiday-themed emails from Rabbi Arthur Waskow of the Philadelphia-based Shalom Center. Earlier this year, Rabbi Waskow pointed out that Earth Day ended just as Passover began. "As the traditional Haggadah says," he quoted, "In every generation we face destruction -- and so in every generation all of us -- every human being --  must seek freedom, justice, and healing anew." Waskow suggested passing around an inflatable Globe at the end of the Seder, and singing a song that began: We have the whole world in ...

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Elul: A Time to Start Shifting Our Imperiled Planet onto a Sustainable Path


The Hebrew month of Elul has arrived. It is the traditional time for heightened introspection, a chance to consider teshuva, improvements in our lives, before the “Days of Awe,” the days of judgment, the “High Holidays” of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The shofar is blown every morning (except on Shabbat) in synagogues during the month of Elul to awaken us from slumber, to remind us to consider where we are in our lives and to urge us to make positive changes. How should we respond to Elul today? How should we respond when: Science academies worldwide, 97% ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 3: G-d’s Might, Detroit, and Coming Back to Life

by Moshe Givental ~ Every year on Tisha b’Av we begin a 7-week journey of preparation for Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur. Like most significant experiences in life, for the Jewish Holy Days to have the potential for transformation, they require preparation. So we started a few weeks ago by looking at the broken-ness of our physical, ethical, and spiritual worlds signified by Tisha b’Av, moved towards the hope of a world filled with love 6-days later at Tu b’Av, and are now in the midst of a month of working on Heshbon HaNefesh (our soul accounting), reflecting on ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 2: Oh Deer, What Can the Matter Be?

by Rabbi Robin Damsky   I am sitting with the concept of brokenness as it relates to Tisha B’Av and the ensuing unfolding of the High Holy Day season. We often have trouble connecting with this day; our lives are so distant from the First and Second Temple periods, but its central theme is one with which we can all relate: brokenness. In this day of weeping, we weep not only for the brokenness and destruction in the past, we weep for our own brokenness today, and this brings me back to the garden. Growing food most closely informs my relationship ...

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Native Plants for Everyone

By guest blogger, Maggie McCarthy, JCRC Environmental Intern While February may seem early to think about gardening, planning ahead in the winter months allows necessary time for creating a healthy and sustainable home garden. Despite the tendency to think of landscaping as purely ornamental, harvesting appropriate plants can bolster the environment and fuel local ecosystems. Giving such thought and care to gardening endeavors enables us to protect and preserve the earth God has given us. When planning your home garden, rather than simply picking the first plants you ...

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Support your local farmer

When shopping for groceries, many of us are quick to turn to the closest chain store for food items. We often forget to uphold the principle of “Bal Tash’chit” which urges us not to waste. This value is central to Judaism and has the potential to stave off further environmental damage. Although we may not see the potential for waste in purchases from supermarkets, oftentimes these stores harm the national environment and detract from local business. While many boast convenience, they often fail to provide locally sourced meats, grains, dairy products, and produce. ...

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Rededicating Ourselves to Helping The Environment and the Poor During the Holiday Season

By Guest Blogger Maggie McCarthy,  JEI Environmental Intern   The winter months provide several occasions for celebration. Hanukkah is the festival of lights and celebrates the victory of the Jewish people over religious persecution.  The secular New Year is a time for reflection and renewal.  Though we find ample opportunity for gratitude during these holidays, many in our local community struggle with hunger and poverty. These issues result from, not only a lack of resources, but also from the mounting environmental crisis. Tumultuous environmental condit...

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Eden Village Camp is hiring a Farmer/ Educator

Eden Village Camp is Hiring! About Eden Village Camp: Eden Village Camp aims to be a living model of a thriving, sustainable Jewish community, grounded in social responsibility and inspired Jewish spiritual life. By bringing the wisdom of our tradition to the environmental, social, and personal issues important to today’s young people, we practice a Judaism that is substantive and relevant. Through our Jewish environmental and service-learning curricula, joyful Shabbat observance, pluralistic Jewish expression, and inspiring, diverse staff role models, we foster our ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 9 – Weeds and Debris

by Maxine Lyons I started to think about teshuvah and Rosh Hashana early this summer while cleaning out my flowerbeds of weeds and debris. I noticed the different roots in my garden - fibrous roots spread laterally underground and re-appear in other places, taproots that remain steadfast in one place and grow downward deep into the earth. I was musing about how some people are like taproots- making a bold, firm stance whereas others are like the plants with fibrous roots, appearing and reappearing, showing their influences by reaching out in a variety of places and spaces. ...

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From Uncertainty to Action: What You Can Do About Climate Change

The Jewish Climate Action Network (JCAN) is sponsoring its first conference, a time for community members from across New England concerned about climate change to come together. The conference will focus on a Jewish response to climate change, ideas for action, and how climate change is fundamentally a social justice issue. It will provide organized opportunities to connect with others interested in working together. Summery of the conference: Panel exploring what Judaism adds to our understanding and ability to respond to climate change Two rounds of workshops, ...

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