Shoresh Outdoor School: Semester One

By: Juliana Isaac, Shoresh’s Garden Coordinator

Our first cohort of the Shoresh Outdoor School has just graduated! Over the last eight weeks, our students have been learning about Judaism, the natural world, and the incredible connection between the two.

Throughout the eight weeks, we learned all about how to keep the Kavanah Garden thriving. We planted pea plants, and learned how we can reuse and recycle old household items to create a pea trellis. Kvutzat Shemesh reused old ski poles, wind chimes, and hockey sticks to help support our pea plants. This helped us learn about the mitzvah of Bal-Taschit: do not destroy that which can be used again.

In the last week of the Outdoor School, our first peas sprouted! As one of our students says, “I liked learning things about Judaism like that every blade of grass has an angel beside it that says grow, grow, grow!” – and at the Kavanah Garden, our students were those angels!

In Kvutzat Shemesh, Yaffa says she loved “exploring the forest and seeing all of the wildlife in it.” To earn our tree badges, Kvutzat Shemesh ‘met’ trees, learning all about the ecosystems that trees help support, including birds, bugs, other plants, and even humans (we are a part of the ecosystem after all).

Kvutzat Mayim learned all about composting and got to hang out with the worms in our worm bin! Though a few people are hesitant around the worms at first, our students loved seeing our worms helping make our soil healthy and great for planting in!



Kvutzat Mayim also learned all about tzedakah (giving charity). We harvested radishes that we planted earlier in the season, to be donated to those in need. Kvutzat Mayim also got to make nature-themed tzedakah boxes to take home with them, and were so excited about getting to do good every week.

All of our Shoresh Outdoor School students had an amazing time learning about the deep connections between Judaism and the environment while getting dirty in the Kavanah Garden! We got to plant, sing, and even taste new things. Navah says “Shoresh Outdoor School is fun because you get to try new things like garlic mustard or sorrel. I never even heard about those things before Shoresh!”



We loved learning with our first class at the Outdoor School, and we can’t wait for another session! For more information or to sign your child up for the Shoresh Outdoor School, please contact Maya Stern, Program Coordinator, at (416) 805-8382 or

“No matter how far you have to drive, you’ll have fun!” – Yaffa, Spring 2017 Shoresh Outdoor School

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