Hebrew School on the Farm
We are excited to offer a unique outdoor, farm-based Hebrew School program this Fall for children in grades 2-4. Programs will be run at Urban Adamah’s organic farm in Berkeley, CA, in partnership with Kehilla Community Synagogue and Congregation Beth El. (Please note that registration for the program takes place through the partner organization and not through Urban Adamah.)
- To increase awareness of the miracles that abound in life;
- To foster a greater sense of connection to others, to the food we eat, to Jewish tradition and to the natural world;
- To cultivate a sense of responsibility to the world around us and to all those who dwell in it.
What Happens at Hebrew School on the Farm?
Hebrew School on the Farm participants learn about Judaism’s deep relationship to the environment, farming, food and environmental stewardship and how these ancient values apply to today’s world. Through hands-on activities, games, songs, and stories, participants get a taste of organic farm life, from planting, weeding and harvesting to learning about the mighty role of earthworms, the delicate relationship between natural and urban ecosystems and how to prepare and eat healthy food.
At Hebrew School on the Farm, we play and work together. We get our hands dirty in the field and enjoy the fruits of our labors—fresh, delicious organic produce! In a progressive and passionate Jewish context, we use group-building exercises, games, art and fun science activities, to learn about the natural world (yes, in the city!), and explore community, teamwork, and the interconnectedness of all things
Our activities are inspired by the cutting-edge work of two Jewish environmental organizations, the Teva Learning Center and the Kayam Farm. The Teva Learning Alliance is the oldest Jewish environmental education program in the country. It currently runs experiential education programs for over 1,200 children annually in New York and New England. The Kayam Farm is a Jewish organic farm and education center near Baltimore, Maryland, that runs Jewish agricultural programs for thousands of local community members. Casey Yurow, Urban Adamah’s Hebrew School on the Farm Director, has served in leadership positions at both organizations. Adam Berman, founder and Executive Director of Urban Adamah, served as the Executive Director of the Teva Learning Center from 1996–1999.
Jewish Traditions at Urban Adamah
At Urban Adamah, Jewish tradition comes alive though activities that integrate Jewish values and ritual with hands-on farm exploration, environmental education and community building.
The Jewish tradition’s core values of ahava (love), chessed (compassion) and tzedek (justice) guide the development of all of our programs and activities. Jewish tradition is also rich with connections to the natural world and a call to social action. At Urban Adamah we put into practice ancient laws like Bal Taschit (do not waste), Shmita (letting the land rest), Peah (leaving the corners of the field for the poor), and Tzaar Baalei Chayim (preventing cruelty to animals) in the context of the environmental and social realities of the 21st century. We also examine timeless practices like Shabbat and kashrut, which invite renewed connection in an era when the energy we use and the food we eat have consequences for people around the globe.
Brachot (blessings) and hitbodedut (reflection) are also essential components of Urban Adamah programs. They allow us to pause, to notice the fleeting and the overlooked, and instill in us a sense of awe and gratitude.
How much does Hebrew School on the Farm cost? Each program is priced differently, and largely depends on the number of hours students will be on site. Please check with our partner organizations.
How do I get my child to and from Urban Adamah? Transportation arrangements vary among the different programs. Please contact of the appropriate partner organization for the specifics of the program you are interested in.
Who exactly will be running the Hebrew School on the Farm? Casey Yurow is the Urban Adamah Director of Education and will serve as the supervisor of all programs. Casey has served in leadership positions at the Teva Learning Center, the Kayam Farm, and Eden Village Camp. Lizzie Baron and Yotam Yosefyan will serve as lead educators in the program. Urban Adamah Fellows will also serve as educators in Hebrew School programs. The Fellows are young adults in their twenties who are participating in a three-month residential leadership training program that integrates organic farming, direct social justice work, and community service. As part of their training, they will receive intensive instruction on how to run all programs at the farm. There is never less than a 7:1 ratio of adults to students during our farm programs.
What is the level of Jewish observance at camp? Jewish observance in our programs reflect the specific community norms of our partner organizations. For example, our summer camp program with Congregation Beth Israel is conducted in accordance with the halachic norms of that community. Our Hebrew school programs with the JCC and Kehilla reflect the broader Jewish diversity of the families these institutions typically serve.
How do I register? To register, you must contact the appropriate partner organization that is cosponsoring the Hebrew School on the Farm program you are interested in. Urban Adamah is not able to take your registration.
Is there a bathroom at the farm? Yes. There is a full-service bathroom with running water inside our office trailer that is available for student use.