Dedication of New Garden at HUC-JIR/Los Angeles on Sept. 9 at 10 am - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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Dedication of New Garden at HUC-JIR/Los Angeles on Sept. 9 at 10 am

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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Between the start of classes and the start of the 5770s we are excited about the learning and growth that will take place at HUC-JIR this year.  Last semester, members of the  student body worked to pull up approximately 200 feet worth of sod just outside the patio of our building.  During the first week back this fall, we mixed dirt with compost to create fertile soil and laid a walking path that turned the rectangle of dirt into 6 separate beds to represent the 6 days that God created.  The next day, on August 19, we were visited by our first butterfly and, along with Bruce Phillips, planted the first seedlings (beans, winter squash and cucumbers...all that came from Bruce's home garden).  On this same day, Heath Watenmaker, Brad Cohen and Jessy Gross attended a meeting of a newly forming coalition in Los Angeles of Jewish organizations committed to growing their own food, sharing that food and understanding the values and texts in our tradition relevant to this process. 

Our hope is that this garden will be many things:

  • It will be a 'great sage garden' in which we can learn and pray with our hands and feet like Heschel
  • a source of food that, from the time it is planted, is intended to reach the plates of people in the community who need it
  • a statement that some of what we have to learn can not take place in the rooms of our building but must happen outside under the sun
  • an opportunity for everyone in our community to help plant, grow, tend to and reap the harvest
  • to learn both the practical methods of farming along with the Jewish texts that remind us we come from an agricultural people
  • in our contemporary lives, we can connect to that tradition in a real and meaningful way.  We can plant, grow and feed others.  

Please join us on Wednesday, September 9 during Tefillah (10 - 10:30) for a special tefillah in which we dedicate the garden.


Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's leading institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates leaders to serve North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, museums, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding.