The Torah is called a “tree of life” (Proverbs 3:18). Like the Torah, trees support a healthy and sustainable environment in which life flourishes. Israel is one of only two countries in the world that entered the 21st century with a net gain in its number of trees, but In the wake of the worst fires in Israel’s history, at least 700 homes have been damaged, 560 completely lost, and 10,000 acres of forest have been destroyed.
An important part of our Religious School curriculum here at Temple Beth Sholom involves teaching our students that they are the “Guardians of the Earth.” As part of this, this fall our 5/6th graders helped to clean and plant the gardens outside the temple building. They were very excited to do their first Mitzvah as a class outside, weeding and planting. They understood that this was not only important for the appearance of the temple, but also to make the earth a little healthier.
In Israel, JNF has planted more than 240 million trees all over the State of Israel, creating “green lungs” around congested towns and cities, and providing recreation and respite for all Israelis. JNF ensures forest environmental soundness through diversification, planting trees indigenous to the Middle East, such as native oaks, carob, redbud, almond, pear, hawthorn, cypress and Atlantic cedar.
As the fires burned in Israel, our teachers and students thought about what we could do as a community to help to rebuild these damaged forests. We recalled that it took years to plant and grow these forests. We remembered how hard we worked with putting only a dozen plants in front of the Temple. We knew we had to do something, so we decided that the best response would be to begin a drive to help rebuild the forests. Our goal is to make this the biggest and best tree drive in the history of our Temple.
This year, Tu B’Shevat is February 11th. The New Year of the Tree. If we start now we hope to be able to raise enough money to plant a Temple Beth Sholom School Forest in Israel. Please join us in this effort as we reach out to our parents, grandparents, and our Temple family to help us make this dream come true–one tree at a time. We hope to build a forest of 100 trees, which will cost $1,000.00. We can do it with your help! Please plant a tree in the School forest and help our students complete a mitzvah they will never forget. To donate a tree, or trees, download the form and return to: Temple Beth Sholom Religious School, 50 Pamela Road, Framingham, MA 01701. You may also contact the Religious School directly at 508-877-2540 ext. 203.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts, all the students at Temple Beth Sholom Religious School.