Shoresh is the Hebrew word for “root.” Grounded in Canadian soil, Shoresh helps community members get back to their Jewish roots.
Shoresh is a grassroots Jewish environmental organization in Southern Ontario. We exist to nurture a regional Jewish community that sees environmental ethics as a core element of Jewish identity, and is actively committed to responsible stewardship of the earth. We do this through transformative educational programs that link Jewish texts and teachings with experiences of awe and wonder of the natural world; leadership opportunities that invest in the next generation of Jewish environmental leaders; and responsive action including environmental advocacy and the production of sustainable products that enrich Jewish life. We operate out of Shoresh’s Kavanah Garden in Vaughan, Bela Farm in Hillsburgh, and through schools, synagogues, camps, and community organizations throughout the Greater Toronto Area. Grounded in Canadian soil, Shoresh helps community members get back to their Jewish roots.
A regional Jewish community that embraces responsible stewardship of creation as a core element of Jewish identity and is actively committed to environmental sustainability.
To inspire our community to act as responsible stewards of the earth by nurturing a sense of awe and connection through Jewish experiential education and action.
Shoresh’s programs and activities respond to three key challenges facing our community:
Environmental Crisis. Our natural world is in a state of crisis, as a direct result of our personal lifestyle choices. The effects of environmental degradation are being felt in devastating ways around the globe. We already are witnessing, for example, honey bee populations being decimated by agricultural pesticides; an island of plastics the size of Texas floating in the Pacific Ocean; and severe and unpredictable weather events due to global climate change robbing people of homes, sustenance, and livelihoods.
Poverty and Hunger. For the 6th year in a row, GTA food banks have seen over one million visits, with an increase of nearly 40 per cent in Toronto’s former inner suburbs since 2008. Within our own community, over 24,000 Toronto Jews are living below the poverty line. The number of vulnerable community members is steadily growing, with the majority of them lacking access to fresh, local, organic, healthy food.
Jewish Disengagement. Individuals from across the Jewish spectrums, young adults in particular, are struggling to find engaging and meaningful experiences that strengthen their Jewish identity and facilitate sustainable action and community building.
VALUES AND OUTCOMES
As a Jewish charity, we respond to these complex imbalances in our world and our community through educational programs and actions grounded in Jewish ethics. The following are the core values that guide our programs, spaces, ventures, and working processes, as well as the outcomes we aspire to achieve through our work of Tikkun Olam, repairing the world.
Mah rabu! How Great! Foster a sense of awe and wonder of the natural world in order to inspire responsible stewardship of Earth and its resources.
L’ovdah u’l’shomrah. To work and to protect. Encourage lifestyle choices that support sustainable environmental practices and food systems, preserving the health of our planet for generations to come.
Dayenu. Enough. Promote gratitude for existing resources and avoid wasteful choices and habits to lessen our community’s ecological footprint.
Tzedek, tzedek tirdof. Justice, justice you shall pursue. Respond to hunger in our community, and advocate for those most vulnerable to ecological degradation, to ensure equal access to our community’s resources.
Kehillah. Community. Build a more cohesive, pluralistic, and interconnected Jewish community, united by a shared relationship with the natural world.
Zehut. Identity. Deepen personal Jewish identity through earth-based Jewish experiences, reconnecting community members with their Jewish roots.