JOFEE

A growing body of literature shows that direct interaction with nature elevates mood, alleviates symptoms of depression, and has a positive therapeutic effect on patients suffering from all varieties of physical ailments to soldiers suffering from PTSD. Encounters with the natural world also foster positive relationships with nature, particularly amongst children, setting the foundation for making more sustainable choices in the future. It is essential to think of the entire landscape as an outdoor learning environment and to design the landscape to facilitate access for all members of your community through a wide modality of engagements.

Gardening is an activity that rejuvenates Jewish life on many levels. Gardening reconnects Jews to the earth. Two thousand years of urbanization have forged an estrangement from nature that reaches to the core of Jewish experience. Gardening restores familiarity with our local ecologies and deepens our understanding of where our food comes from. Even more consequentially, intimacy with nature deepens our sense of wonder and heightens our consciousness of the sacred in the everyday. Gardening is also a visible and accessible means of reducing your carbon footprint.

Gardening can also bring Jewish text to life. Even for Jews for whom the world of Jewish texts is already familiar and accessible, gardening offers us rich opportunities to open up the world of the Torah, rabbinic texts, and the siddur (prayerbook) in vibrant and creative ways, from the laws of shmita, the sabbatical year, to orlah, the prohibition on eating fruit from young trees.

Judaism sees humans' relationship to animals as one of sacred responsibility - from the laws comprising tza'ar ba'alei chayim to the metaphor of the shepherd and his flock used time and again throughout the torah. Traditional husbandry practices and today's wealth of information on animal welfare science gives us the knowledge and tools we need to keep farm animals happy and healthy. A farm is also an excellent way to teach and practice sustainable farming methods, while gleaning resources like eggs, milk, or honey that can be used within your organization or institution.

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Outdoor Education

Educate about Jewish teachings outdoors
4 points
Education
More info
Set up an outdoor classroom for students
5 points
Action
Install or maintain a 'teva' (nature) trail
3 points
Action
Host an event to learn about your local habitat
3 points
Advocacy
Host a regular indoor event outdoors
2 points
Action
More info
Host an event to learn about your local ecosystem
3 points
Education
Volunteer to clean up a beach, forest, or other outdoor space
3 points
Action
Send students to Hazon's Teva outdoors education program
4 points
Education
More info

Jewish Education

Utilize Hazon's educational materials for food programming
1 points
Education
Green your event decorations
2 points
Action
More info
Educate about sustainable ritual items
2 points
Education
More info
Host an event about Jewish teachings related to the environment
2 points
Education
Celebrate a holiday related to the environment
3 points
Education
More info
Incorporate Jewish environmental teachings into holiday programming
3 points
Education
Prepare for and observe the Shmita year
4 points
Education
Host a JOFEE fellow at your institution
5 points
Education

Gardening

Educate about sustainable gardening
2 points
Education
More info
Incorporate gardening in educational programming and curricula
3 points
Education
Incorporate sustainable gardening practices in your garden
3 points
Action
More info
Plant a garden at your institution
4 points
Action
Use food from your garden in meals
3 points
Action
Incorporate Jewish teachings and agricultural practices into your garden
3 points
Education
More info
Incorporate pollinator-friendly plants and habitats in your garden
3 points
Education
Exercise garden-based Jewish teachings
4 points
Education
More info

Care for Animals

Educate about animal welfare
2 points
Education
More info
Organize a visit to a farm or animal sanctuary
2 points
Action
Host an event about care for animals
3 points
Education
Source animal products from animals your raise (e.g. eggs, wool, honey)
4 points
Action
Raise animals in accordance with humane standards
5 points
Action
Advocate for animal protection
3 points
Advocacy
More info
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