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Reusing the land: then and now

(from Rabbi Nina Cardin's blog, posted August 21, 2011 http://blog.bjen.org/)

By a bend in the Genesee River, fast along the eastern shore, right about where the massive Hutchison Building of the University of Rochester stands today, an Algonquin tribe once thrived.

They built homes from the forest's abundant tree bark and farmed the rich soil. They occupied about 9 acres there. They created the foot paths (and followed the animal trails) that became the city's major roads. They plied the rushing waters of the river when it was not yet tamed. It is believed that the area around the Genesee has been inhabited for thousands of years.

I thought about this tumbling re-use of land over the centuries, the chain of generations that benefited from it, and the landed legacy we inherit – and are destined to pass on – as I shuttled my son from home to dorm.

The university is known for its research in engineering and optics, and its devotion to music and art.

There is hope that a university, and especially its students, who are devoted to both beauty and progress, today and tomorrow, will help us figure out the right questions to ask, the right answers to explore, and the right things to do.

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