I’ve been a gardener and foodie all my life. Family legend has it that as a toddler I used to go from one cherry tomato plant to the next in our backyard garden, picking and sampling each one. The green ones I’d spit out, but I didn’t give up; I savored each sweet, red tomato as a gift as soon as I found it. Later I discovered my love of cooking with my first cooking class at age seven and hours upon hours of hounding my great-grandmothers, grandmothers, and mother to teach me what they know…until I developed my own eclectic, vegetarian cooking style.
There could be no better place for the garden at Oceana High School in Pacifica, Calif., than where it is located — just outside the cafeteria. The 8,400-square-foot garden is a concrete reminder to the 600 students and 35 faculty members of the unique opportunity they have to personally engage in sustainable agriculture and learn about environmentalism and healthy eating.
A garden refuge in the heart of Jerusalem Five years ago, the plot of land on the grounds of the Natural History Museum in Jerusalem was barren and unused. Today it has become the city’s largest community garden. Designed as a space to grow organic crops, the garden — located just a stone’s throw from a busy street - is also an educational institution and an urban refuge for the people of Jerusalem. The community garden is open to anyone, and regular visitors include school children, artists and a nursery for mentally disabled adults. DOWNLOADS: VIDEO: - HiRes: www.megaupload.com - HiRes NoNarration: www.megaupload.com - Streaming: www.megaupload.com - Streaming NoNarration: www.megaupload.com DOCUMENTS: - INTRO: www.megaupload.com - SCRIPTS: www.megaupload.com Please credit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Israel for any use of these videos
An old Tel Aviv neighborhood now being gentrified has become the unlikely heart of Israel’s burgeoning alternative fashion industry. It’s one of Tel Aviv’s oldest neighborhoods, but now Gan Hahashmal — the Electric Garden — so called for being Israel’s first neighborhood to house a power plant, is famous for its alternative fashion boutiques. “There’s an atmosphere of creativity in the neighborhood,” says Idit Barak, owner of Delicatessen Boutique “There are some artists’ studios and fashion. It’s not like Dizengoff [Boulevard] where the boutiques are glued back to back. There’s a nice mix. Here it’s more like a stroll in the city and you find all kinds of little places.” Gan Hahashmal is a prime place to view Bauhaus style buildings, many of them currently being renovated, along with an eclectic mix of trendy stores, cafes, hardware stores and shoemakers — even a medical supply warehouse. “I choose to work here because it’s an interesting place, a place that stimulates inspiration,” says jewelry designer Hagar Satat (www.hagarsatat.com). Video on YouTube: DOWNLOADS: VIDEOS: - HiRes: www.megaupload.com - HiRes No Narration: www.megaupload.com - Streaming: www.megaupload.com - Streaming No Narration: www.megaupload.com DOCUMENTS: - INTRO: www.megaupload.com - SCRIPT: www.megaupload.com Please credit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Israel for any use of these videos
Around the country, a number of synagogues, JCCs, day schools, and other Jewish institutions are doing inspiring work to integrate the physical spaces of gardens and farms into their core work of transmitting Jewish ideas and values. Last month, I highlighted the increased popularity of school and community gardens and pointed out some of the necessary measures needed to maintain them properly and maximize their impact. Innovative Jewish institutions from synagogues to JCC’s and educational farms around the country are also taking broad steps to engage members, students and teachers in Jewish garden programming.
The best-kept secret in Jerusalem More than 10000 species of plants can be found at the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens, a peaceful green oasis in a busy city. Boasting the largest plant collection in Israel, the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens (www.botanic.co.il/en) opened to the public in 1985. Director of development Sue Surkes calls it “the best kept secret in Jerusalem.” More than 10000 species of plants from around the world are here, divided into six geographical sections. The tropical conservatory contains rainforest plants, including edibles such as pineapple and rice, and even carnivorous ones. Among the new features are the African Savannah grass maze and the 500-meter Bible Path. “What we discovered was that plants literally littered the Bible,” says Surkes. Just one example is the tamarisk, planted by Abraham when he arrived in Beersheva. Hopping aboard the “flower train,” as the ride is popularly called, is one of most fun ways to see the entire site, which is located on the Givat Ram campus of the Hebrew University (www.huji.ac.il/huji/eng). DOWNLOADS: VIDEO: - HiRes: www.megaupload.com - HiRes No Narration: www.megaupload.com - Streaming: www.megaupload.com - Streaming No Narration: www.megaupload.com DOCUMENTS: - INTRO: www.megaupload.com - SCRIPT: www.megaupload.com Please credit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Israel for any use of these videos
‘Pilgrimage of Thanks’ brings the formerly trapped men to religious sites of Israel as well as tourist spots and a meeting with the president. After two months trapped underground in a collapsed mine as the world looked on in horror, 25 of the 33 rescued Chilean miners accepted the gift of a trip to Israel. The Israeli Ministry of Tourism paid for the miners, along with their spouses or girlfriends, to come for a tour of the religious sites and famous sightseeing spots in the Holy Land. From playing in Dead Sea mud to walking along the Via Dolorosa and touring Christian sites such as the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the Garden Tomb, the Catholic group got the VIP treatment. In welcoming them to his residence, President Shimon Peres recited the traditional prayer of thanksgiving after a situation of great danger — particularly appropriate for a journey that had become known as a Pilgrimage of Thanksgiving. Downloads: - Chilean miners HiRes NoVoice: www.megaupload.com - Chilean miners HiRes: www.megaupload.com - Chilean miners Streaming NoVoice: www.megaupload.com - Chilean miners Streaming: www.megaupload.com - Chilean miners INTRO: www.megaupload.com - Chilean miners Script: www.megaupload.com When using these videos, please credit the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs
If Rabbi Noah Farkas of Valley Beth Shalom synagogue in Encino, fulfills his vision, 101 food-bearing gardens will blossom at synagogues, Jewish organizations, schools and private homes throughout urban Los Angeles — with 90% of their harvest going to feed the hungry through his new organization Netiya: The LA Jewish Coalition on Food, Environment and Social Justice.
Though there are many sacred sites peppered around Israel, Jerusalem has a magic no other place can produce. Jerusalem is home to beautiful churches and other sacred and historical sites. Israel has more than a million specifically Christian visitors each year. Many of them spend most of their time in Jerusalem — where pilgrims from all sects of Christianity can pray at the city’s sacred sites. One of the churches that stand out is the gold topped Church of Mary Magdalene — a distinctive Jerusalem landmark on the Mount of Olives. There’s also the Church of All Nations, located at the foot of the Mount of Olives next to the Garden of Gethsemane. According to Catholicism, a section of stone in the Garden of Gethsemane is believed to be where Jesus prayed on the night of his arrest. Protestants, however, believe this to be the site of Jesus’s crucifixion. Above all, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City, attracts the bulk of tourists. Within the walls of this enormous church it is believed that Jesus was stripped of his clothes, nailed to the cross, crucified, and buried. The energy in this church is exciting even for non-believers. In addition to their historical significance, many of the churches are architecturally interesting as well. Visitors will delight in the Gothic-style stained glass windows, the 19th century mosaics, and the structural design of the churches.
Becca Bodenstein is a nature guide, garden grower, and environmental teacher in LA’s Jewish community. As the Director of Jewish Life at the New Community High School, she teaches 11th grade Judaism and the Environment text course and runs the school’s organic garden. Bodenstein, who knows about Jewish gardening from the ground up, will share her expertise about educating, programming and growing food at the Hazon Food Conference West taking place in Sonoma County, Calif. on December 23-26.