Kochavim (entering 4th grade) stood around in a circle as Rosh Aidah, Josh Warshawsky, asked them, “Why is it important to have a garden at camp?” One Kochavim camper answered, “It makes the land prettier.” Another answered, “To learn how to make our own gardens at home.” And a third answered, “We want to make the Earth a healthy place.” This conversation started off our very new and reinvented teva (nature) program! For the first time in years, we have our very own garden. Today, Kochavim helped prepare some of the seeds, which they will plant on Sunday. Josh told the story of Choni, a Jewish parable that talks of a man named Choni who found a man planting a carob tree. Choni asked the man, “How long will it take for the tree to bear fruit?” The man answered, “Seventy years.” Choni asked, “Do you think you will live another 70 years?” The man replied, “I found carob trees growing when I was born, because my ancestors planted them for me. Now I will plant them for my children.”
The campers heard the Choni story to understand the work they would be doing in their garden. They learned that one mitzvah leads to another mitzvah; and that by planting a tree, even if you can’t see it grow, it will grow for someone else to enjoy.
Nick Bruscato, Rosh Teva, split up Kochavim into a few groups: one would be preparing the planting pots, one would be scratching the surfaces of our mimosa pudica seeds (a plant with leaves that close at the touch) with sandpaper, and another would be putting those same seeds in hot water to break down the shells before planting.
Kochavim enjoyed learning and working with Nick to start preparing for the garden they will be planting on Sunday. Even if they don’t get to see the leaves in full bloom this summer, the plant will grow bigger and stronger with each coming summer—from Garinim next summer, to Halutzim, and beyond.