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What does Judaism teach us about our responsibility to care for the earth, and what can we do to act on this responsibility? This was the question that JCDS sixth graders tried to answer during their TEVA experience, Camp TEVA-JCDS. TEVA stands for Togetherness, Ecology, Bal Tashchit (do not waste) and Awareness.
While students were sad to not be able to travel to the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in Connecticut for TEVA, facilitated by Hazon: The Jewish Lab for Sustainability, the sixth graders were thrilled to participate in a three-day outdoor experiential education program at Camp TEVA-JCDS.
Through text study, nature walks and learning about how energy is produced and preserved, the students came to understand that we were given this planet not only to use, but also to care for and to maintain.
As their follow-up service project, the sixth graders will work with middle school science teacher Avraham Sosa to complete an energy audit of the entire school, and will give recommendations to head of school Shira Deener about how JCDS can use less electricity.
At TEVA, the students also sang songs, learned about fire safety, built a campfire and created their own TEVA T-shirts and bracelets. There was also plenty of time for play, as students walked to Gore Place to climb trees and roll down hills. It was a fantastic three days!
Andrea Silton is a middle school teacher and advisor at JCDS.