One of the sweetest things about New England at the start of September is the grape harvest; the sweetness of the harvest is matched by the building energy of the Hebrew month of Elul.
This is the third year Ganei Beantown has been harvesting grapes at Temple Israel for juice for Rosh Hashanah. It has been fun to watch the grapes ripen and wonder if we will get more than the four legged critters – so the call to harvest can come pretty quickly. Each year volunteers come and help harvest and process the grapes.
One of the best parts of being an educator is facilitating students’ learning, and seeing their wonderous moment of realization that vegetables grow on plants or that grapes are what make up grape juice. Realizing when we say the blessing of “borei pri hagafen” at the Shabbat table, that these grapes are the fruits of the vine. A high school student who realized that she could eat the cucumber she just pulled off the vine. Introducing students of all ages to ground cherries. These are the moments where the garden faciliates learning that is experiential, relevent to today, and wonderous. I love making that happen.
In the fall, when we prune back the grape vines, it’s nice to know we have a solid foundation upon which to grow. With your financial donation, we can. Just as we make jam to preserve our grapes through the winter, so too we must preserve Ganei Beantown so more sweetness and educational opportunities can be inspired in the future.
At this time in the Jewish calendar, before Rosh Hashanah, we think about how we approach G-d, each other and the world around us.
“The celebration of creation, so central to the psalmist, calls out for revival in our day… the urgent need to transform human behavior in relation to the environment will be best supported by a religious life that returns to the Psalmists’ consciousness of our human place within (not above) the great symphony of creation.”
– Arthur Green, Radical Judaism, p. 99
Thank you for helping us harvest. Wishing you a Shanah Tova, a good and sweet new year,
PS: Read more about celebrating creation during Rosh Hashanah from Rabbi Ebn D. Leader here!