The opportunity to live and work in an immersive Jewish community first drew me to the Pearlstone Center in the winter of 2012. When a few months later conversation about creating a seven month immersive experience began to percolate I was ecstatic about the opportunity to be a part of making it come to life. Today Pearlstone’s Integrated Sustainability Apprenticeship is seven weeks into its inaugural season, and hosts eight fantastic apprentices who are transforming our farm, retreat center and the broader Jewish community whom we have the pleasure of hosting throughout each year.
The idea itself is quite simple. Eight young adults will live together on the farm, building a community for themselves and brining new breath and energy to the Pearlstone community as a whole. While here, apprenti (as they are lovingly known) work on the farm and in the retreat center, participate in creative and traditional expressions of Jewish tradition and practice, celebrate Shabbat and chagim together, as well as attend workshops in Jewish education, agricultural skills, team building and leadership development. In practice, maybe it isn’t so simple. But, in just seven weeks, this first cohort of thinkers, doers, and leaders have risen above the challenge and a community beyond what we could have expected in emerging in Reisterstown, Maryland.
It is hard to say what will emerge in the next five months. Together we will experience the cycle of the seasons and the Jewish calendar. The first fruits of our gardens, the turning of the wheel of our people’s history marked with holy days, the birth of new life in our animal pasture, and the consistent return of Shabbat each week. We will work hard and we will celebrate together, we will grow food and ourselves, and we hope for the opportunity to welcome you to this amazing community as part of one of the many incredible programs and retreats that happen at Pearlstone throughout the year.