Asheville JCCJewish Children’s GardenLael GrayProgram Development & Marketing Director
Asheville JCC“The heart of Asheville’sJewish neighborhood”Founded in the mid 1940sSome families got together PROGRAMS:and bought a house onCharlotte Street Early Childhood (birth – 5) After School (school age)This building replaced the Summer Day Camphouse about 15 years ago Adult Social Programs Elder Day Club Summer Pool Membership Jewish Cultural/Educational
“See my works, how beautiful and praiseworthy they are. And everything that I created, I created for you. Be careful not to spoil or destroy my world – for if you do, there will be nobody after you to repair it.”
Why “Jewish” gardening with youngchildren? Age-appropriate, hands-on learning activities Jewish calendar revolves around agricultural cycles, providing a natural fit for a Jewish curriculum to be taught through garden activities Jewish values are steeped in our relationship with nature. These values become conceptually concrete through a year in the garden. “Within Jewish agricultural law, we find guidance on how to live an ethical and environmentally conscious life.” (Bernstein, E. (Ed). (2000). Ecology and the Jewish spirit: Where nature and the sacred meet. Woodstock, VT: Jewish Lights Publishing)
Garden DesignBased upon Jewish agricultural/festival cycle of the year
Summary Statement (2005):The Asheville JCC’s educational garden will provide a variety of hands-on learning experiences for children enrolled in our programs.The design of the garden and activities will incorporate environmentalthemes based on Judaic values: Bal Taschit (Do Not Destroy); L’ovdaU’l’shomra (To Work and Keep the Land); Shomrei Adamah (Guardianof the Earth); and Tikkun Olam (Repair of the World).Children will participate in age-appropriate activities that teach howtheir actions directly impact the earth. Through their own planting,nurturing and harvesting activities, children will learn about the cyclesof nature, will gain first-hand knowledge of their relationship to theearth, and will ultimately understand the physical and moralimperatives for environmental stewardship.
Building Jewish Identity ThroughJewish Environmentalism Bal Taschit Tikkun Olam do not destroy repairing the world L’ovda U’l’shomra Ma’aseh B’reishit to work and keep the land miracle of creation Shomrei Adamah Tzedakah guardian of the earth justice
OutcomesShort term All children will learn basic gardening skills (planting, watering, weeding) Staff will be trained to guide children in gardening activities Children will become familiar with Jewish values that encourage people to take care of the earth
OutcomesMid-Term Staff will be able to incorporate stewardship concepts into gardening and outdoor activities Children will be excited about the results of their labor in the garden and will express ownership of their gardening activities Children will be able to discuss the changes that occur in the garden throughout the different seasons Children will see a connection between their garden activities and the greater community
OutcomesLong Term Children will understand that their actions impact the environment Children will understand the relationship between a healthy environment and their own health Children will be able to discuss Jewish values that encourage people to take care of the earth Children will want to protect the environment
Lessons Offer A “Jewish” LensInsects:Object/Mitzvah to Be Taught: Bal Tashchit - Do Not Destroy; Hachnasat Orchim - Hospitality/Welcoming Guests; Hoda’ah - AppreciationGoals (Measurable Outcomes): Children will find, capture, identify and observe insects present in the garden. Children will observe use of a field guide for identification of insects present in the garden.Discussion: Identify/define insects. What is different about spiders? What harm can bugs do? What good can bugs do? Since we planted this garden, we have invited many creatures to live here. Even though we can feel that this garden is “ours,” we are visitors to the creatures who live here. Because we are both “hosts” and visitors, we have the responsibilities of both roles.
Kayam Farm, BaltimoreMission To embody and inspire social and ecological responsibility by transforming our community through hands-on Jewish agricultural education.Programs Over 3,500 participants to the farm each year for field trips, volunteering, summer camp, holiday celebrations, skills workshops, and more. Farm visitors include early childhood centers, Hebrew schools, Jewish day schools, youth groups, families, adults, and senior citizens. Farm-based interfaith home school for families from a variety of ethnic and religious backgrounds. Kohlel Summer Program - Thoughts, discussion and ruminations at the intersection of Torah, land, and sustainable community.