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


Blogs

L’Shanah Tova and a thank you to our Earth Etudes for Elul Contributors

Elul is the month before Rosh Hashanah, a time when we review our lives and think about how we will live the coming year. Many of these earth etudes actually connect our earth with the spirit of Judaism–Tikkun Olam, repairing the world. We would like to thank Rabbi Katy Z. Allen for bringing together these awe-inspiring contributors, whose essays, poems and thoughts help us understand the meaning of our lives and how we can repair our world. And our Earth Etudes can be helpful throughout the year. So you can read them here: Earth Etude for Elul 1: Rabbi ...

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Forbidden Fruit, Rosh HaShanah, and Our Climate Crisis

According to Hasidic traditions, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, from the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, worked in a deeper way than we usually think about it. It’s not just that after the eating of the fruit we humans could distinguish between good and evil. The test of “to eat or not to eat” kind of assumed that we had that ability already. What kind of a test would it have been if we couldn’t distinguish between good and bad? No, the real problem that came from eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was that we might ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 22 — Lessons from Alaska

by Rabbi Suri Levow Krieger Alaska... Hut in Alaska surrounded by flowers. I expected to be awed by the Glaciers. I was not disappointed.  I anticipated being enLightened by 22 consecutive hours of sunlight. It was outstanding. What I did not expect, was day after day of 80 degree weather. And the following week… Anchorage registered 90 degrees as a massive ‘heat dome’ hovered over the city. This topped the previous record set at Anchorage International Airport of 85 degrees on June 14, 1969. It is good news for the Flora and Fauna! ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 21 — A Little Omer on the Prairie

by Rabbi Margaret Frisch Klein ~ I live on the prairie. In the Prairie State of Illinois. On a summer’s day with large clouds towering over the cornfields, it is spectacular. Awe-inspiring. I remember to be grateful. For several decades, I have followed the practice of Rabbi Everett Gendler of planting winter wheat, rye or barley at Sukkot and harvesting it during the counting of the Omer, the 50 days between Passover and Shavuot. I have done this with generations of Hebrew School students and their parents. It roots the Jewish year in the agricultural cycle. ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 14 –Inner and Outer Climate Change

by Rabbi Robin Damsky A local toad finds a home in the pot of a rooting African violet (yes, the leaf got displaced). ~It’s been a year of change. Not just a move, but a move to a new climate zone and a very new culture. I moved from outside Chicago to Durham, NC, the South. The trees here are glorious – pines everywhere, wisteria in April blooming in the wild, crepe myrtle in vivid fuchsia and pale pastels just now. It’s hot. Average days are in the 90s and one can almost swim in the humidity. A long growing season brought daffodils in February, while I just ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 12 –Two Poems

by Judith Felsen, Ph.D. Urban Garden ~ Urban garden tiny patch of heaven nestled amidst brick and stone; kales and chards salute the sky bok choy sentry elegant, celery, parsleys hold court while lettuce species dance, each offering a breath of life oxygen of garden’s greens infuses air lungs spared inhale may urban gardens grace this world, edible planted prayers of green reviving life and city air; urban garden blessing ground and all Urban garden tiny patch of heaven nestled amidst brick and stone; kales and chards salute the sky bok choy sentry elegant...

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Earth Etude for for Elul 11– Return to Our Values

by Deborah Nam-Krane ~ In 2017, I heard LaDonna Redmond, founder of the Campaign for Food Justice Now, speak at the Annual Gardener’s Gathering in Boston. An organizer working at the crossroads of food justice and racial equality, she laid out a familiar story: her child was allergic and/or sensitive to many foods, but to provide him with the food he needed, Redmond had to step out of her neighborhood because fresh fruits and vegetables weren’t available there. She started a community garden and cooperative, and each step in helping her family and community be ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 7 — To Everything There is A Season

by Maxine Lyons ~ Growth takes many forms and like other Jewish seekers, I rely on the life-cycle events to provide a framework for growth, celebrating nature and new life, knowing that to everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven. I started this year’s Elul preparation in June, with conscious gratitude for the experience of becoming a grandmother for the first time in my 70’s and ready to welcome a second grandbaby due to arrive before Rosh Hashanah. Through my work as a professional educator with older adults for several ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 2: A Plan

by Judith Black ~When despair for my planet came ramming down my door, my heart, my hope, I stood crushed. When despair entered my bloodstream and resonated as cancer, I nodded toward death. When despair began to drive away friends, family, like a toxic odor, I kept belching it out. Then Spring woke the earth. It bloomed in every color imaginable. It smelt like the heaven of the very good. It started to grow cabbage and weeds and insects and flowers. It lives. If this mother of us all has the resilience to wake up and give life, who am I to lose hope? ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 1 — Of Happenstance and Wondering

by Rabbi Katy Allen ~ By happenstance of geography, Eden-- gathering the fruits of the land borne by dint of natural ecosystems, ever-changing as the seasons progress-- is just a distant prehistoric memory  of Paradise. From Eden straight into working the land we went-- by the sweat of your brow you shall till the land. No pauses with our new-found awareness to experience being fully integrated into the ecosystems outside the gates of Gan Eden.  No longer were we part and parcel of Creation, now we ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 20 – Elul Dinner

by Judith Felsen, Ph.D.~ Elul Dinner Dining open air chandeliers starry night invitations flowing rivers boulders chairs ledges tables grasses carpets mosses cushions wildflowers ornaments vegetation food come eat with Us © Judith Felsen, Ph.D., 2018 Judith Felsen holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, certificates in hypnotherapy, NLP, Eriksonian Hypnosis, and Sacred Plant Medicine. She is a poet, consultant, creator of collaborative integrative programs involving nature, Judaism, spirituality and the arts, student of Torah, sacred texts and various teachers, sacred ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 11 – Sitting on the Dock of the Bay

by Hannah Henza~  I am sitting by a lake today looking out over a vast body of water and I find balance here. There is little cell-service; there is much sunlight. There are very large houses and fast-moving boats; there are small cottages and self-propelled craft. This lake is warmed both by the sun and the nuclear power plant at its base; it was created by the contours of the land and the dam at its head. This lake is home to countless species of wildlife, fish, birds, and humans. Today we are constantly trying to get ahead, evolve, improve, dominate, conquer. At ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 6 – Once Upon a Time I Had a Garden

by Rabbi Peg Kershenbaum~ Once upon a time I had a garden. I must have been inspired by reading The Good Earth to plunge a spade into the unyielding, aptly named, Rockland soil. But, after moving rocks, boulders and many less natural obstacles, I protected the small plot and planted tomatoes, cucumbers, Brussels sprouts and 5 slender corn seedlings. As the spring turned to summer and blossoms turned to the beginnings of identifiable vegetables, I realized that I was going to share the bounty with a pudgy and persistent woodchuck, some opportunistic rabbits, ravening ...

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Rainbow Day is on Shabbat, B’chukotai in 2019, May 31-June 1!

Celebrate Rainbow Day and the Rainbow Covenant with all Life! The first covenant in the Torah, when Noah leaves the ark, is a covenant with all creatures, and a covenant with the Earth itself, not just with humanity. There are so many ways you can teach about this covenant, the rainbow covenant, on the day it was established! What is Rainbow Day?  On the 27th day of the second month, Noah, his family, and all the animals that were with them left the ark (Genesis 8). Exactly one lunar year and ten days before—one complete solar year—the flood began on the ...

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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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