Tu Bisvhat, the birthday of the trees, is often celebrated by planting, eating delicious fruits and nuts and rejoicing in the gifts of the bounty of nature. But this year Hebrew High celebrated the minor holiday differently; by planting seeds of change with hopes for growing a brighter future.

In collaboration with B’nai Tzedek Youth Philanthropy, director Andrea Cohen and Hebrew High’s principal Rabbi Aviva Funke, led the teens of Hebrew High through an exploration of modern day issues they wish see addressed in the near or distant future. Students learned that years ago, groups of passionate Jewish leaders came together to plant seeds of change in hopes to establish a foundation to ensure funds for Jewish programming and opportunities for accessible Jewish education and life. Those organizations, now the Center for Jewish Philanthropy and the Bureau of Jewish Education were once seedlings, and our students are harvesting on the fruits! Now’s it’s their turn.

After a delicious feast and l’chaims, students made lists of issues, and then in small groups began to create initiatives.  Their ideas were wild, wonderful and incredibly enough, actually doable.

We heard several groups talk about ways to conquer antisemitism. One group wants to educate youth on history and ancestry of Israel to address the issue a lack of Israel education and connection. Another group wanted to start a composting center to tackle issues of food waste and trash production.  And yes, someone considered an initiative to install roller coasters in synagogues to make it more…exciting. That certainly would be!

Several groups felt empowered by the project that they would like to see their initiatives realized, and fortunately for them and for the support of the CJP, it’s incredibly possible! Regardless of these teens realizing their projects, we know activities like this help them to see what’s possible, and that they can be part of the change this world drastically needs.

What kind of initiative would you like to see for our community?


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