June Feature – Teva Students to Teva Educators: Where Are They Now?

As we begin approaching Teva’s 25th Anniversary, we will be spending the month of June featuring former Teva Educators who were once Teva students. They are from different Teva seasons and have different stories, experiences and memories. Enjoy the walk down memory lane with us!

Chera Garlick came to Teva as a student with JCDS Boston first in the 5th grade in 2004 and then again on a Teva camping trip in 7th grade in 2007. She returned as a Teva educator for the Fall 2017 season. Chera currently works as an educator with Boston Ballet’s Education and Community Initiatives department and as special education teacher at Gateways: Access to Jewish Education.

Chera in 7th grade when she returned to Teva for a camping trip

What do you remember about Teva as a student participant? Which moments/memories/stories stand out?

A moment that is most present in my heart was a moment of light and community. Having just begun my time at my Jewish day school, Teva was the first time I was somewhere where so many people around me were also Jewish. It was the 6th night of Hanukkah and we all gathered together to light the candles and sing songs. I remember feeling a warm and strong sense of belonging in the room with other young Jews that I had just met that week.

What do you think Teva taught you as a young person?

The biggest take home message from my time at Teva as a kiddo was around waste reduction. I thought about my relationship with food, water, and “things” in a new way. The songs really stuck with me and my peers at school. We used to sing about “reducing the psolet on our plates” as we ate our lunch or played four square.

When you grew up and thought about Teva, before you came back to be an educator, what sentence would you have used to describe it?  

Wacky Earth lovers teaching me about caring for the Earth and learning about trees.

Which life steps lead you to coming back to Isabella Freedman to be a Teva Educator?

I found my way to Adamah (the Jewish Farming Fellowship for young adults run at Isabella Freedman) the summer after graduating from college and then a year later made my way back to Freedman as a Teva Educator.

What was it like to return?

It was so wonderful to return to the world of Freedman and Teva after being an Adamahnik. I really followed my heart in coming back to Freedman to be a Teva Education. The work that I did with the curious and imaginative young students and co-Educators brought a wholeness to my relationship with Freedman.

What stands out to you now as a Teva Educator when you think about your experience as a Teva Student?

The power of building collective responsibility with other young Jews in the woods. Learning about the rings of a tree and what compost was with other Jewish little ones was very powerful. I was so moved by the connection we could make through our Judaism. There is a real magic that exists when a bunch of little ones are welcomed and invited to explore together in the woods.

What are three words you would use to describe Teva?

Play, Compassion, Responsibility

How do you think doing Teva as a young person and coming back to be a Teva educator will or has shaped your life going forward?

Through Teva I have learned the importance of building relationships, with other people and our surroundings, when caring and advocating for our environment. Working at Teva has emphasized the power of joy and laughter in sustaining this work.

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