by Frances Lasday, Teva, Hazon Parshat Behaalotecha What strikes me most about this week’s parsha, Behaalotecha, is the kvetching. The parsha (Torah portion) spends an entire chapter retelling several instances where the Jewish people complained endlessly. So, what can we learn from this? As an outdoor educator who works with children, and who supervises other educators, I too encounter whining. What interests me most about this parsha are the descriptions of the different ways in which Moshe and G!d react to their cranky people. I think that there is a lot to learn from how Moshe in particular, as leader, caretaker, and educator of the Jewish people, responds to the incessant whining. Before I go any further, full disclosure: I am totally a whiner. I get cranky, and I express it in ways that I am not always proud of. So I get it. I can’t imagine it was easy to wander aimlessly through the desert for 40 years, and there were probably lots of things to be cranky about. But, in Behaalotecha, the Children of Israel’s complaining takes on a whole new level. “The people took to complaining bitterly before Hashem and the Lord heard and was incensed.” […]
Topic: Topsy Turvy Bus Tour
Old Stones, New Ripples – Reflections on the Close of JOFEE Fellowship Cohort 1 | D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog
by Yoshi Silverstein – JOFEE Fellowship Director May 18th, 2017 | 22nd Iyar 5777 | 37th day of the omer | gevurah she’b’yesod 16 Organizations. 17 Fellows. Over 500 programs. An estimated 37,000 participants in Jewish Outdoor, Food, Farming & Environmental Education (JOFEE) programs across the country. These are some of the incredible numbers emerging as we look back at our first JOFEE Fellowship cohort, who completed their closing seminar and siyum last week at our sister JOFEE organization, the Pearlstone Center outside Baltimore, MD. Behind those numbers are thousands of people encountering – many for the first time – the incredible power of a Jewish tradition steeped in deep cultural and spiritual connection with the earth, with place, with human communities and our surrounding ecosystems, with our food, and with each other. A Jewish tradition that recognizes both the limits and abundance of the resources our home planet provides for us. A tradition that says this world is amazing – there is so much magnificence – and yet we have work to do – not to complete by ourselves, but neither to desist from doing our part. And wow did our JOFEE Fellows do their part! Here are a […]
Upside Down and Open Hearted | D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog
by Emily Glick, Teva, Hazon, Falls Village, CT Parashat Shoftim Editor’s Note: Welcome to D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog! Most weeks throughout the year, you’ll be hearing from the JOFEE Fellows: reflections on their experiences, successful programs they’ve planned and implemented, gleanings from the field, and connections to the weekly Torah portion and what they’ve learned from their experiences with place in their host communities for the year. Be sure to check back weekly! P.S. Interested in being or hosting a JOFEE Fellow? Applications for cohort two are now open for both prospective fellows and prospective host institutions! My debut expedition as Teva’s first JOFEE Fellow began in a transformational grease machine / holy mobile space most commonly known to the greater world as the Topsy Turvy Bus. Having just completed a three-week JOFEE Fellowship orientation and training intensive seminar, I was leading our seven-week Mayim l’Mayim themed bus tour fueled on used cooking oil, holy vibes, and Torah – not to mention the passion of our 5 radiantly unique bus educators, all of whom brought skills and essential senses of humor that our tour would not have succeeded without. Our team performed in camp talent shows; saw shooting stars; wrote […]
Topsy Turvy Tour De Farm
Hi! This is Molly, one of the Teva support staff members. This past Sunday, the Topsy Turvy bus was in my hometown working with the Mitzvah Garden in Overland Park, Kansas. The Mitzvah Garden is a community garden that recruits volunteers to garden and harvest produce for local food banks and other organizations. The bus tour was part of the first ever “Tour de Farm”, a bike ride starting and ending at the garden and touring through a few parks as rest stops on the route. The Topsy Turvy bus was set up at one of the rest stops, and the educators aboard met the people on the bike ride and gave tours of the bus. The educators hung out with the riders at the rest stop, baking cookies in their solar oven and talking about using the elements as fuel. The educators also met the riders at the end, with a new element in tow – a bicycle powered blender, to showcase the expanse possible uses for a bicycle. The bike blender operates on the power generated by a person pedaling a bike attached to it. Participants of the Tour de Farm were excited to try out the bike […]
Let it go, let it go! – Reflections from a Topsy Turvy Adventure
It is 11:30 am, and I am sitting in a field in the middle of the Rocky Mountains surrounded by horses, trees, compost toilets, a bike blender and solar ovens. And Eli, who is dressed as a tree, sitting in a sleeping bag, his head covered in blankets and a music stand. Everything we need for our second program at Ramah in the Rockies…except for the kids. This blog post is about letting go of control, about what it means to truly accept everything that we cannot change and take advantage of for spontaneity and improvisation. Set for 9:50, the group was delayed coming back from a masa on horseback, leaving Eli waiting patiently (and snugly) for over an hour and a half and the rest of the group practicing, preparing and dancing around the bus. This was hardly the first moment where things did not go quite according to plan; yesterday our (valiant) attempt to climb the Rockies raised the engine temperature above the heat limit and we had to pull over on the side of the mountain…twice. It started raining while we were trying to paint the bus’s roof to add water protection. There have been parking challenges, […]
The Journey Begins
by Benji Elson I have the immense honor and pleasure of writing the first blog post from the road of this 2014 Teva Topsy Turvy Shmita Bus Tour! To be the first to try to articulate the experiences of this amazing group of talented passionate educators, and the incredible things that we have seen and done thus far is a huge honor. Because we are so awesome and having such amazing experiences! Just to be a part of this team is such a huge honor. Here’s me and Eli on the bus, I’m on the left. So…after months of waiting and preparing we finally all met for the first time in Cheesman Park in Denver, CO. Right from the start I could sense that we were a group of highly talented people who each had his or her own strengths which were going to compliment the other extremely well. After introducing ourselves to each other and playing some silly “icebreaker”/movement activities to get to know each other a bit the team got straight to work gutting and cleaning the bus, arranging all our material possessions into the hidden storage compartments throughout the bus and working to get the bus in […]
We’ve arrived in Denver!
Shalom! I’m Molly, a member of the program support staff for this tour, and I’m thrilled to be putting up the inaugural post for this blog. Today marks the first day of orientation, where the educators will all meet for the first time (those who don’t already know each other) and continue developing the energy, knowledge, and sense of community that we’ve been working toward since February when we first started planning out the route. They’re choosing their educational stations (worms, bike blender, solar ovens, veggie oil), their beds, and their rules to live by for the tour over the next three days. To recap, here’s what they’re looking forward to: The educators are getting excited to hit the road, catch some rays, and begin the exciting journey of learning and growing along with pockets of our people scattered about this great strange nation. Five educators will be touring the nation, talking about Judaism and sustainability in different communities. They’ll be busting into the Rockies in the beginning of July and then head straight through the center of the contiguous 48 — you can check out the route in the tab entitled “tour schedule.” In just one […]
The Topsy Turvy Bus is Getting Ready to Go!
Hazon’s mobile educational spectacle is traveling from Denver to Connecticut while teaching communities how to rethink cycles of food, energy, and time. If you happen to be on the road this summer anywhere between Colorado and Connecticut, you might be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a golden-orange school bus traveling upside down along the highway. You’re not seeing things. The Topsy Turvy Bus (so named in honor of the donation fromBen Cohen of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream that made this mobile educational spectacle possible) is indeed real, and will be on a cross-country tour from June 29 – August 4, 2014. The Topsy Turvy Bus is a bio-fueled environmental schoolhouse on wheels that is driven and staffed by Teva educators. Teva – a program of Hazon and is North America’s leading Jewish environmental education program – provides pluralistic outdoor, food, and environmental education experiences throughout the Jewish community. Teva works with Jewish day schools, congregational schools, community centers, synagogues, camps, and youth groups. Starting out in Denver, Colorado, with stops in Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts, the Topsy Turvy Bus will travel to Hazon’s Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in Falls Village, […]