Congregation B’nai Israel

hoshana sukkah

Northampton, MA

Project Summary: Congregation B’nai Israel’s initiative will develop a full calendar of Earth-based rituals, classes, and festivals that will position their on-site community farm (“Abundance Farm”) in new ways and will change the way that their congregation thinks, teaches, and prays by reestablishing the central place of the natural world within their communal Jewish life. Their five primary goals include: (1) training the community’s teachers so they instinctively think about how they can use the farm and outdoor classroom as part of their lessons; (2) overhauling their youth and family education program so the farm is deeply integrated within it; (3) integrating the farm into ritual life by creating a new outdoor prayer space; (4) creating a community-wide Sukkot Harvest Festival and Hakhel Gathering and raising awareness about environmental stewardship and food security activism; and (5) rekindling the tradition of homemade Jewish ritual items, such as “Making Your Own Chanukah Candles” from local beeswax, “Making Your Own Matzah” in their farm cob oven, and “Making Your Own Havdalah B’samim Bundles,” from farm fresh herbs.

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