Shoresh is the Hebrew word for “root.” Grounded in Canadian soil, Shoresh helps community members get back to their Jewish roots.
Shoresh inspires and empowers our community to take care of the earth by connecting people, land, and Jewish tradition. Through nature-based Jewish education, healthy food production for vulnerable community members, environmental action, and sustainable Jewish products, we offer community members meaningful opportunities to be responsible stewards of the world around us.
Serving the communities of Southern Ontario, Shoresh operates out of the Kavanah Garden in Vaughan, Bela Farm in Hillsburgh, Maxie’s Garden in Kensington Market, and through schools, synagogues, camps, and community organizations throughout the Greater Toronto Area.
Grounded in Canadian soil, Shoresh gets community members 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.
We actualize our mission through four strategic activities:
Nature-Based Jewish Education. Working with schools, shuls, camps, and community organizations, our hands-on programs at Kavanah Garden, Bela Farm, and in the community elicit experiences of awe in response to the wonders of the natural world, and teach paricipants how we can be shomrei adamah (protectors of the earth).
Tzedakah from the Ground Up. Shoresh has developed a unique multi-faceted approach to the Jewish value of tzedek (justice).We grow local, organic produce for vulnerable community members, and provide training for at-risk community members to grow their own food so that they are empowered to be more resilient, food secure, and healthy.
Environmental Action. At Shoresh, we put our Jewish environmental values into practice! At Bela Farm we are planing a 20-acre Forest for the Future, and are stewarding a 4-acre bee sanctuary for our pollinator friends. We are also creating and maintaining pollinator garden spaces at Kavanah Garden, the Wolfond Centre, and throughout the GTA.
Sustainable Products. Bring the abundance of OUR fields to YOUR tables! From honey for Rosh Hashanah to beeswax Chanukah candles, we have sustainably-made products for your family`s holiday celebrations throughout the Jewish year!
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.
All of Shoresh’s programs are designed to address these three challenges.
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.