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.
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
Rabbi Mordechai Liebling is the founder and director of the Social Justice Organizing Program at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College of which he is a graduate. Prior to this he was the Executive Vice‐President of Jewish Funds for Justice. Earlier he was the Executive Director of the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation. He is the President Emeritus of the Shalom Center and serves on the boards of T’ruah: A Rabbinic Call for Human Rights and of the Faith and Politics Institute. He was the founding chairperson of Shomrei Adamah: Guardians of the Earth. He is a member of the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable and of the Green Hevra, a coalition of Jewish environmental organizations. He has been trained in The Work that Reconnects by Joanna Macy, a founder of deep ecology and has completed the Jewish Meditation Teacher Training program. He has published numerous articles. He is married to Lynne Iser, they have five children and their family was the subject of the award‐winning documentary Praying With Lior.
Jakir Manela is the Executive Director of the Pearlstone Center near Baltimore, MD. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 2004 and has worked as a Jewish environmental educator and nonprofit leader ever since. After founding Kayam Farm at Pearlstone in 2006, Jakir now oversees the entire agency, as Pearlstone engages over 17,000 participants each year in retreats, transformative Jewish education, and hands-on sustainable agriculture. Jakir lives just up the road from Pearlstone with his wife, Netsitsah, and their two sons—Lev Yodea and Shama Nissim. Together they hope to soon establish a Jewish intentional community near Pearlstone.Reisterstown, MD
Cara cultivates earth stewardship in a Reconstructionst synagogue through directing its summer camp, founding a teen program called Teva Torah, working on the family education team, and developing the shul’s educational garden program. Cara is a certified permaculture designer, a student of community herbalism, and a long-term apprentice and staff member with the Mahalo Arts Center in Vermont, which integrates wilderness, creative arts and personal growth work. She has worked with the Teva Learning Alliance since 2005, is an alumna of the Adamah Fellowship (’05), and has presented at numerous secular and religious institutions and conferences, including Smith College, the University of Massachusetts, Hazon and the Ganei Beantown Food Conference. Cara is passionate about developing programs and facilitating community experiences that allow people to explore and express themselves, their relationships with the earth, and their relationships with each other. She is a recipient of the 2013 Harold Grinspoon Awards For Excellence In Jewish Education.
Nati is a writer, carpenter and educator living in Philadelphia. From 2005 to 2007 Nati ran an award-winning garden construction program for the Urban Nutrition Initiative at University City High School. Over the last several years Nati has led service–learning trips in the developing world for American Jewish World Service, and in the US for Jewish Funds for Justice. He enjoyed two fall seasons at the Teva Learning Center and has continued to work for Teva as a curriculum writer. Nati has studied sustainable building design and natural building and is a certified Permaculture designer. Nati holds a B.A. in Religion and Environmental Studies from the University of Pennsylvania, and was a recipient of the Joshua Venture Group Fellowship for Jewish Social Entrepreneurs.Philadelphia, PA | firstname.lastname@example.org
Nili Simhai is currently living a year of shmita, release, from her career in the field of Jewish Environmental Education. She is exploring the values of the shmita (sabbatical) year in preparation for Rosh Hashana 2014, the start of the next shmita year.
Nili served as the Director of the Teva Learning Alliance for fourteen years. A recipient of the Covenant Award for excellence in Jewish education, Nili has been recognized for her leadership in training and counseling hundreds of educators in the tenets of Jewish environmental education. One of her current passions is outdoor classrooms in Jewish institutions.
Before coming to Beacon Hebrew Alliance, Brent Spodek served as the Rabbi in Residence at American Jewish World Service and the Marshall T. Meyer Fellow at Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in New York. He has been recognized by the Jewish Forward as one of the most inspiring rabbis in America, and by Newsweek/The Daily Beast as “a rabbi to watch.” Brent holds rabbinic ordination and a masters in philosophy from the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he was the first recipient of the Neubauer Fellowship. Prior to entering the rabbinate, he attended Wesleyan University and worked as a daily journalist in Durham, NC. He lives in Beacon with his wife Alison, a professor of environmental chemistry at Vassar College and their two children, Noa and Abraham.
Rabbi Waskow founded (1983) and directs The Shalom Center. He pioneered in developing Eco-Judaism; is the author or editor of about 22 books on US public policy and on Jewish history, thought, and practice (e.g. the original Freedom Seder, Seasons of Our Joy, Godwrestling, Down-to-Earth Judaism, and Torah of the Earth); and has been arrested about 22 times in nonviolent civil resistance on issues of racism, militarism, and climate damage. He has taught at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Hebrew Union College (the first course on eco-Judaism at any rabbinical seminary), Swarthmore, and Vassar. In 2014 he was honored by T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights with its first Lifetime Achievement Award.
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.
- Baltimore Jewish Environmental Network
- Canfei Nesharim
- Eden Village Camp
- Ganei Beantown
- Green Zionist Alliance
- Jewish Farm School
- Jewish Greening Fellowship
- Moishe House International
- Neo Hasid
- Pearlstone Center
- The Religious Action Center
- Reconstructionist Rabbinical College
- Shalom Center
- Urban Adamah
- Wildnerness Torah
- Yiddish Farm
Hazon is pleased to present the Teva Seminar in partnership with: