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Educational Resource Library: Jewish Agricultural Traditions

Weaving Community

by Ashley Davenport
Abundance Farm / Gan Keshet Preschool
Traditionally, weaving has deep roots in the Jewish culture. The craft of weaving is one of the 39 crafts that the Jewish people used to create the Mishkan (tabernacle) in the desert. Weaving, and many of the actions associated with weaving are mentioned specifically in the 39 Melachot, the list of labor forbidden on Shabbat. Although many of the traditional Jewish weaving techniques have been lost to exile, modern day ritual objects are often still made from woven materials, including challah covers, kippot and tallis. Looking back, history shows us that the nomadic Israelites used what fibers they had on hand, such as camel, goat, and sheep, to create their clothing and dwellings. These ancestral methods were simple. Using this simplicity as inspiration, the loom for this project is crafted from sturdy cardboard, the warp is made using cotton string, and the weft consists of long pieces of recycled fabric. Simplicity is often key in introducing new textile art projects to preschool age children. These projects are multifaceted and engaging to young minds, integrating core skill sets such as language and literacy development through oral storytelling, problem solving, pattern recognition, and fine motor development.

What is Jewish About Cheese? Cheese and butter making workshop

by Emily Glick
Hazon - Teva
This workshop explores the history of dairy in the context of Judaism and Jewish tradition. It teaches participants how to easily make their own cheese and butter (they will leave the session being able to try both), while touching upon the modern-day dairy industry and its relation to Kashrut.
Age(s):

We are Shepherds like our Fathers Before Us (Meet the Goats)

by Rebecca Remis
Eden Village West
Through this activity, campers will be able to walk goats to pasture, learn a melody to Psalm 23, and relate shepherding goats to shepherding humans (through social norms).

Throwing Stones or Throwing Flowers: Exploring Our Relationship with the Public Domain

by Shani Mink
Pearlstone Center
This program presents students with the opportunity to delve deeply into the hidden messages of verse 50b of the Bava Kama (the stones text). Through text study, discussion and a hands-on activity, students will explore their relationship with the public domain. After investigating the myriad ways in which we might violate the public domain, students will actively nurture the public domain through shared intentions for community prosperity hidden inside a seed ball or planted beneath a tree.

The Three Sisters in Kehilla: The Power of Teamwork

by Anika Rice
Urban Adamah
This lesson makes a connection between how both plants and people live in community. On the farm, plants and other organisms are giving and receiving help from one another all of the time. This is reciprocity. Companion planting is the technique of sowing two crops together for a specific purpose, often pest control, space use or yield maximization. Native Americans have been planting the Three Sisters (corn, beans and squash) in one plot for generations. Not only does this trio help each other grow and use nutrients efficiently, but they have higher yields when planted together, and form a nutritious diet. People also need each other: to learn, to pray and to live a spiritual life. When we work in chevruta (learning partners) or are part of a minyan (prayer group), everyone involved can benefit from the group. We are individuals, but our communities are greater than the sum of their parts.

Sukkot Harvest Festival DC

by Amanda Herring (OneTable), Mollie Sharfman (GatherDC), Elizabeth Heyman (Jews United for Justice)
Urban Adamah
Experience Sukkot as a celebration of the seasonal harvest while in an urban setting! Join us on an urban farm in downtown D.C. to celebrate the season's bounty with hands-on workshops and a farm-to-Sukkah feast grounded in the themes of the agricultural harvest festival. We invite you to end your week by taking a pause from the busyness of the city to connect with nature and eat from the harvest at Common Good City Farm. From a pickling lesson to tasting local seasonal ciders, we will come together and celebrate abundance both on the farm and in our lives.
Age(s):

Shmita Wild Edibles Cards

by Bailey Lininger
Tamarack Camps
This program is a unique, interactive activity for a festival-style event that combines knowledge of local wild edible plants and the Jewish tradition of Shmita. For this program, the educator creates four unique ?trading cards? to pass out at the event, and two examples of local, foraged food. The trading cards serve as a way to get participants interested in the connections between wild edible plants and Shmita, and the food samples demonstrate the ease and accessibility of foraging.

Shmita with Acorns

by Rachel Aronson
Hazon
This program can be incorporated into holiday programs for a harvest holiday (Sukkot, Passover, or Shavuot) especially during a Shmita year. It provides an interactive introduction to Shmita, including the basis of Shmita in Jewish text and the connection between Shmita and sustainable agriculture.
Age(s):

Privilege and Oppression in Food System; Food Systems and Food Justice in the American Food System

by Rose Benjamin
Urban Adamah
This program is an introduction to the workers within the American food system, ranging from migrant farm workers, to CEOs of large GMO's, to the average consumer in Berkeley, CA. This program reflects on the Jewish morals of Oschek (how to treat laborers) and explores this morals' relevance to our American food system. Lastly, this program encourages participants to reflect on their role as a consumer, and how to use their privilege and power in a positive way.
Age(s):

Philly Farm Crew Text Study

by Liora Lebowitz
Jewish Farm School
This program is to engage with both Jewish and non-Jewish environmentally themed texts after having had the experience of working on a farm. This is a discussion based program where conversations happened both in pairs and as an entire group to think about the texts presented.
Age(s):

Peah Forward

by Rebecca Remis
Eden Village West
Learn about and enact the value of peah through harvesting a delicious summer treat and decide how much to donate. Share the remaining bounty with the camp community. Experience the joy in working hard and sharing the abundance (through recognition in the dining hall, working with a community organization, and leaving camp for a field trip)

Jewish Food Justice Around the Farm

by Rachel Binstock
Urban Adamah
This program is an introduction to Jewish agricultural law. Pairing them with sustainable agriculture projects offers a taste of what it might have been like for our ancestors to follow these laws. Participants will have the opportunity to farm in small groups and to learn how many of our earth based laws also help us help our communities today.
Age(s):

Holy Compost! Sacred cycles of rest and work

by Ze'ev Gebler
Pearlstone Center
This program combines a group walk to compost piles, and a look at vermicomposting bins, with a conversation about the Jewish value of distinguishing between rest and work. Participants will engage in text study and discuss the relationship between adding intention to our time with Shabbat, and adding intention to our space with the placement of compost.

Havdallah garden training workshop for early childhood educators

by Becky Adelberg
JCC Chicago
This program is an introduction to greening in early childhood classrooms through teaching about the Jewish ritual of havdalah.
Age(s):

Farmer Michael’s Wagon Garden

by Michael Fraade
Jewish Community of Louisville
Children planted seeds in a soil-filled wagon, which could easily be transported from classroom to classroom, and watched them grow over the course of four weeks. The culmination of the program was to bring the children and wagon out to the J's main garden to see how their plants fit into a larger picture and to allow them to sample many of the things they helped grow. The program also touched on topics such as where food comes from, Hebrew vocabulary, composting, using the five senses, and making observations.