Summer Feature – Teva Educators: Where Are They Now?

As we begin approaching Teva’s 25th Anniversary, we will be spending the summer months 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!

Noah Slovin came to Teva in 1998 as a student with Solomon Schechter Day School of Worcester and came back as a Teva educator in the Fall of 2010. Noah is now working for a consulting company as a Planner focusing on helping communities prepare for natural disasters.

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

1. I remember singing “The River is Flowing” every evening, and one of the educators told us to think about it every day and try to figure out what it meant. I think I figured it out on the last day but then I wasn’t called on so never got to prove myself.

2. I remember being led to the overlook in a blindfolded trustwalk line – we walked in a line for a bit, then stopped, and our Morah Derech (trail teacher) led us one at a time to stand in a spot, and told us not to move. Then on the count of three we uncovered our eyes. My main emotion – I was very angry that I had been led so close to the edge of a cliff! What if I hadn’t listened and had moved?? [Editor’s note: the educators are paying close attention to be sure this doesn’t happen :)]

3. I remember doing the Shema sound map activity at the overlook. I could hear a dog barking.  Years later (when I was an educator) I found my old Teva notebook.  It was mostly empty (oops) but the Shema (listening) soundmap was there and I could remember hearing all the things I had drawn.

4. I remember wanting my Brit Adamah (covenant with the Earth) to be “if it’s yellow let it mellow” but somebody wisely told me that I should pick one that wouldn’t make my family upset with me. I don’t remember what I chose in the end, but I never got my Earth bead. [Editor’s note: students receive their earth bead six weeks after they complete a life change they commit to doing during Teva to increase their positive impact on the Earth]

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

Don’t waste! And learn how to use your senses. I’m also pretty sure I went through a literal tree-hugging phase for a bit after Teva.

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

My undergraduate degree was in geosciences, but all of my work experience when I graduated college was in Jewish education (Camp Ramah, Hebrew school, etc.). My sister was working at IF as the mashgicha at the time and suggested Teva to me! So I submitted the best flip-book animation video of all time, mooed like a cow, and got the job.

What was it like to return?

The first time I went up to the overlook and remembered going there as a kid blew my mind!

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

How life-changing the experience is for the educators, not just (or maybe even more than) the kids.  My view of Teva now is that it is a space where we come together to create an alternative way of living, then invite students to visit so they can experience that alternative way.  Creating that alternate reality is challenging, exciting, inspiring work.

What are three words you would use to describe Teva?

Earnest, eye-opening, fun

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?

Soon after finishing Teva (as an educator) and re-entering the “real world,” I and another ex-educator went to a bonfire being hosted by a synagogue. The bonfire was in the middle of a field, set back from the road. We arrived, hung out for a bit, and then left. As we were leaving, about to walk away from the bright fire into the dark field, someone asked us if we wanted flashlights. The thought had never crossed our minds. So the practical answer is – I can walk in the dark without a flashlight. Thanks night hike! On a larger level – I trust my body in nature!

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