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Growing Torah for Adults and Children in the Orthodox Community: Two Orthodox Environmental Organizations Merge to Maximize Impact

[Proud and excited to share this new development for Orthodox Jews who care about the environment! – Evonne]

GrowTorah and Canfei Nesharim, two Torah-based environmental non-profit organizations, have merged into one entity, effective Dec. 10, to strengthen their combined efforts and maximize their impact within the Orthodox Jewish community.

Canfei Nesharim (founded in 2003) is dedicated to sustainable living inspired by Torah. Its groundbreaking work over the last sixteen years has educated Orthodox Jews regarding the Torah imperative to lead a sustainable life and empowered the community to take action on a personal, communal, and global level. Canfei Nesharim is known for exceptional Torah education related to the environment, including curricula for each Torah portion of the year, every Jewish holiday, and a set of eighteen “core teachings” on Torah and the environment, which were later collated into a book called Uplifting People and Planet.

Inspired by the work of Canfei Nesharim, and to complement its rigorous environmental Torah publications with immersive experiential education, GrowTorah was started in 2016. Its mission is to cultivate a more passionate, compassionate, and sustainable future driven by Torah values. The four core values taught in every program are incubating emunah (faith), environmental stewardship, compassion for all creatures, and tzedakah (charity). Currently, GrowTorah develops and manages educational Torah garden programs at 13 Jewish schools in the tri-state area, in addition to running its own weeklong summer camp on an organic farm in New City, NY.

GrowTorah and Canfei Nesharim have been collaborating to develop curriculum projects for two-and-a-half years, cultivating a healthy partnership. After six months of thoughtful conversations and consultations with advisors, the teams are delighted to announce the completion of this merger, ensuring a broader reach and deeper impact.

The merged entity will now be known as GrowTorah, Inc., and the combined venture will galvanize the Orthodox community towards environmental stewardship. The four primary program areas will be:

  1. Experiential garden programs at schools
  2. Camp GrowTorah
  3. Development and publication of Torah-based environmental articles and science-based, action-oriented environmental resources for adults
  4. Environmental sustainability action plans for our partner institutions.

“After so many years educating the Orthodox community about our environmental obligations, it’s thrilling to see Canfei Nesharim take root in new soil through this merger with GrowTorah,” said Evonne Marzouk, co-Founder and the first executive director of Canfei Nesharim.

“I have been using Canfei Nesharim’s resources since January 2007, when I organized my first Tu B’shvat seder in college. Ora Sheinson and Evonne Marzouk — the co-founders of Canfei Nesharim — are two personal heroes, and I am excited to have them on our board, guiding this new venture” said Yosef Gillers, Founder and Executive Director of GrowTorah.

Schools, synagogues, and community centers across the Orthodox community are invited to become involved in the new joint venture. Schools may join the growing network of institutions with educational garden programs. Synagogues and community centers are invited to host classes and workshops. For ongoing updates and green living tips from GrowTorah, sign up here. Support for the new organization is welcome and much appreciated!

For press inquiries and additional information, contact Sara Just-Michael, GrowTorah Program Manager.

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