Homeshuling

Homeshuling


What’s Jewish about Earth Day?

posted by Homeshuling

tevaIn another lifetime, I was an outdoor educator. My work involved taking kids to play, and sometimes live, in the woods. For several years after  college I worked as a teacher at Nature’s Classroom, a five-day residential environmental education center, and as a wilderness guide for Outward Bound. While there was nothing Jewish about either of these programs, during that time I experienced a kind of spiritual awakening. I felt closer to the Divine on a mountain peak and in a desert canyon that I ever had in synagogue. Not terribly interested in becoming a pagan, I started to search for ways to merge these two, seemingly opposing, spiritual words – Judaism and Wilderness.
These days, the Jewish world is teeming with wonderful outdoor and environmental programs. But in the early 90’s, this was relatively new ground. There were Jewish camps with strong wilderness programs, but there wasn’t usually any Jewish content to the expeditions. There were Jewish day schools attending centers such as Nature’s Classroom, but they  followed the  standard public-school curriculum. The only difference was that the kitchen got kashered for the week.
I had a relatively simple idea which has blossomed, thanks to many extraordinary educators and visionaries, into an amazing program. Why not start an environmental education center just like Nature’s Classroom –  where children come with their whole grade, spend 4 or 5 days in a rural camp, go on daily hikes, observe the wonders of nature, and learn environmental ethics – but make it Jewish? Teach sacred texts about caring for the world, recite blessings about the wonders of nature, pray outside, and see that Judaism can be fun…or maybe even a little bit cool?
Out of this small idea was born the Teva Learning Center, which I had the immense pleasure to direct in its first year. It has grown beyond my wildest dreams thanks to a few people who didn’t think I was crazy, a few who did, and a lot of people with other crazy wonderful ideas. Check out their website – and consider a contribution. They’re doing great work.



Advertisement
Comments read comments(2)
post a comment
lewis sadowsky

posted January 26, 2011 at 10:16 pm


How can I donate to the Teva Learning Center



report abuse
 

Homeshuling

posted January 27, 2011 at 3:15 am

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

More blogs to enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting Homeshuling . This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Truths You Can Use Inspiration Report Happy Reading!!!

posted 9:57:03am Jul. 06, 2012 | read full post »

Teaching the Four Questions to young children
One of the greatest privileges of being a kindergarten teacher in a Jewish day school is having the opportunity to teach children to recite the four questions. Unlike almost anything else I teach them about Jewish ritual, this is "real work." The candles will get blessed, kiddush will be recited, an

posted 7:36:03am Apr. 01, 2012 | read full post »

Guess what's Kosher for Passover (this will change your life.)
I'm not exaggerating. The bane of my Passover existence has been pareve baking. I cook a lot more meat during the holiday than I do the rest of the year, which means a lot more pareve desserts. Which has, up until now, usually meant margarine made from disgusting ingredients such as cottonseed oi

posted 5:02:27pm Mar. 22, 2012 | read full post »

Why I love the New American Haggadah (and it's not just because I got to have a martini with Nathan Englander.)
I'm not a haggadah junkie. I know many Jews whose shelves are overflowing with numerous versions of the Haggadah - from the traditional Maxwell House to the not-so-traditional Santa Cruz - and whose seders are an amalgam of commentaries, poems, and (alas) responsive readings, from these dog-eared, p

posted 9:25:37pm Mar. 14, 2012 | read full post »

Best Hamentashen Ever, even better. And, a Purim opera.
This time of year, I'm always excited when I look at my google analytics and see that people have landed at my blog by searching for "hamentashen recipe". I love the idea of people all over the world making my great-grandmother's fabulous hamentashen, the same ones my mom made with me and that I mak

posted 7:13:38pm Mar. 05, 2012 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.