Joseph Kirschner GrowTorah Garden

post by Hillel Torah | Aug 24, 2021

We are excited to announce the launch of the new Joseph Kirschner GrowTorah Educational Garden at Hillel Torah – an amazing new educational initiative that combines STEAM and Torah learning. The Joseph Kirschner GrowTorah Garden is a hands-on vegetable gardening program located at the southwest corner of the school, with plenty of sun exposure, encouraging outdoor learning, exploration, and connection while beautifying our campus.

This program is in partnership with GrowTorah, a national organization that guides schools in developing an experiential and environmental Torah-based gardening program. GrowTorah began in the Northeast and we are proud to be participating in the first cohort of their expansion to schools across the country. A special thanks to Zachary Kupietzky and family for bringing this program to our attention.

The GrowTorah curriculum explores the connection of environmentalism and agriculture to Judaism and teaches students the mitzvot haTaluyot bAretz in an exciting, hands-on way. Through working in and learning about the garden, students experience a functional school garden in which they are actively involved, cultivating various crops throughout the year.

Thank you to Jennie and Avi Rothner for dedicating the Joseph Kirschner GrowTorah Garden in memory of Jennie’s father. As the child of a Holocaust survivor, Mr. Joseph Kirschner had an incredibly strong connection to his Jewish identity and a love for Torah. He was an avid gardener, absolutely loved children, and was passionate about gardening as a way to connect with and teach children. Mr. Kirschner also felt strongly that not all children are the same and different children thrive in different environments. This new GrowTorah garden aptly named for Joseph Kirschner will fittingly give Hillel Torah students the opportunity to explore the beauty of gardening and Hashem’s world in a hands-on way and connect to Torah and themselves in new ways.

The garden will be cared for by Rabbi Michael Friedman, who will be the Head Farmer and teacher. This living garden will also be integrated into our science classes. K-4 students will have the opportunity to participate in garden walks where they will work in the garden and learn about the environment, planting, and related Torah lessons. Middle school students will have the opportunity to volunteer to help care for the upkeep of the garden.