Teva Seminar on Jewish Outdoor, Food and Environmental Education

Jun 9, 2014 - Jun 13, 2014

The Teva Seminar has proven itself to be the heart of training for educators, activists, camp counselors and visionaries seeking a foundation and growth in Jewish Environmental and experiential education. Fantastic learning at its most fun.
—Teva Seminar participant

The Teva Seminar was the premier annual professional development opportunity in the field of JOFEE: Jewish Outdoor, Food, and Environmental Education. The JOFEE Network Gatheringis the next iteration of the Teva Seminar.

For 20 years, this multi-day, hands-on training program was designed for educators, camp counselors, community leaders, and anyone who was seeking training in the emerging JOFEE field. Each workshop was accessible to people with all levels of experience in gardening, wilderness skills, culinary arts, and/or experiential Jewish education.

  • Workshops and panels with top farmers, rabbis, activists, and Jewish outdoor, food, and environmental educators
  • Learning to be a Jewish naturalist through hikes in the woods, spiritual teachings and eco-Torah activities
  • Garden and farm educator training with Jewish Farm School on the Adamah organic farm at Isabella Freedman including:
    • Permaculture, organic farming, and the Shmita year
    • Edible forest orchard with fruit trees, grape vines, and berries
    • Raising goats and chickens on a small patch of land
    • Preserving cultural traditions: hands-on cheesemaking and pickling
  • Keynote sessions on the impact of Jewish outdoor, food, and environmental education, and how to grow together over the next five to ten years
  • Take-home resources and curricula to infuse JOFEE into your camp, school, synagogue, or community center
  • A presentation on models for funding your JOFEE projects locally, including successful examples like the Jewish Greening Fellowship, Shoresh Environmental Programs and Ganei Beantown
  • A series of sessions on the background, practices, and spiritual significance of the Shmita tradition, as well as its rich potential to transform our lives.
  • Hands-on cooking demos with Adamah Foods chefs

Download the full 2013 schedule
Download the 2013 Course Descriptions

From Stephanie Sperber,
High School Teacher, Fitness Instructor, Founder of Moishe House West Hartford


The 2013 Teva seminar was amazing!  I went in very optimistic but very hesitant that I would be able to lead any sort of outdoorsy-Jewish thing by the time Moishe House started later that month.  I was so wrong!  Not only did the TEVA community and participants support my ideas completely, but the teachers were incredible and I came home with many more ideas than our house could possibly pull off in a season! Being surrounded by such dedicated and spiritually-minded people all working towards the same goal was incredible and completely inspiring.

I was so grateful to be inundated with a plethora or ideas and materials.  After TEVA I purchased many books about Jewish earth-based spirituality that our house has used for shabbat discussions, rosh chodesh meditations, and garden education.  We have done or have planned many of the activities I participated in at TEVA; coal-burned kiddush cups, seed paper making, pickling vegetables from our own garden, babka making, and multiple outdoor meditation sessions.  I especially appreciated all of this education in January, when we put together our own Tu B’Shevat program and incorporated many songs that I learned through TEVA and Isabella Freedman!

In addition to the practical skills and program ideas I learned from my TEVA experience, my appreciation for home grown vegetables and the significance of our local Jewish CSA through Adamah grew exponentially.  Our entire house committed to working in the garden, and learning about each new vegetable from our CSA share.  Every shabbat throughout the season we posted a “Where did these vegetables come from?” sign in the dining room, and before each meal we tried to educate our community in a fun (and delicious!) way in hopes that they, too, will be inspired to help in our garden and participate in some way with Adamah!

From Jessica Yaffa Rubin,
Award-Winning Environmental Educator


For over a decade, I have been teaching outdoor education and Judaic studies, carefully combining these disciplines according to how they intertwined in my studies. However it was not until I attended the Teva Seminar that I experienced a rich and deep framework within which people have been weaving quality nature and Jewish education together seamlessly for years.


The Teva Seminar is an inspiring, enriching, and nourishing portal. Can you imagine a professional development experience that is not only super fun but also sprinkled with learning opportunities at every turn? At this seminar you not only get to network with amazingly talented folks involved in diverse aspects of Jewish education but also witness and explore various techniques, orientations, tips, activities, resources, and approaches that broaden your skills on many levels: as an educator, community member… While you may already be familiar with much of what you are exposed to, there is a special creative vibrancy in sharing this framework with other colleagues which highlights subtle details of the process and makes visceral the sacredness of the work.


Since last spring I have read several of the books, studied with some of the teachers, practiced many of the skills, and shared various activities I learned about at the Teva Seminar. My Hebrew school students, summer program participants, havurah kindred, synagogue community members, and mentees all benefit from what I have been able to bring back from the Teva Seminar. I recommend the Teva Seminar to all camp counselors, Hebrew and Day School teachers, environmental/outdoor/science educators, Jewish lay leaders, mentors, and anyone who is a member of a family or community. I look forward to continuing to share and learn more this year!!

From Danny Drachsler,
Master’s Student of Jewish Experiential Education at JTS


The Teva Seminar was beneficial for me in three ways: community, exposure, and practice. At the Seminar, I met a group of Jewish Experiential Educators that were friendly, enthusiastic, welcoming, and curious. It felt good to be included in such a community. I made connections with people that I know I can turn to in the future. I also was exposed to these educators’ diverse teaching styles and ideas, inspiring me to think differently about my own practice. I gained valuable and practical ideas for teaching, and had a lot of fun in the process. I also had the opportunity to share one of my own lesson plans. This was a great practice for me and allowed me to see my lesson in the context of the other lessons I had taken part in during the seminar. As a result of my participation in the Teva Seminar, my own teaching is stronger, and the circle of my community is more diverse.


Hazon is pleased to present the Teva Seminar in partnership with: