July 16, 2024
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July 16, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Camp GrowTorah Celebrates Tremendous Growth, Plans ‘Harvest Feast’

(Courtesy of Camp GrowTorah) Frolicking through organic farmland, caring for chickens and goats while learning about Tza’ar baalei chayim, and naturally tie-dying organic cotton camp shirts—118 campers at Camp GrowTorah 2022 did all of this and more for the last two weeks of August.

Campers picked tomatoes to make salsa, organic basil for a fresh pesto snack, and cucumbers for the lacto-fermented pickles that they took home. Every day was packed with farm activities, as well as natural arts and crafts projects—besamim pouches for Havdalah with herbs from the garden; botanical soaps with tree butters and herbs; beeswax Havdalah candles, and flower-printed challah covers.

Every activity was infused with a Torah value, capitalizing on every opportunity for true experiential education. To make the natural tie-dye for camp shirts, campers used avocado stones instead of a synthetic chemical dye; they made Rosh Hashanah greeting cards by recycling the camp’s own paper.

The campers were invited by host farmers to help with several large farm projects: harvesting 450 pounds of onions, removing hundreds of cabbage plants from the fields to the compost pile, clearing rocks from the cultivated fields to prevent tractor damage, and much more.

Since this year is a shnat shemitah in Eretz Yisrael, every day the campers studied a different aspect of the mitzvah through counselor-led Torah learning sessions. Although the camp is located in Rockland County and the laws of shemitah do not apply outside of Eretz Yisrael, they used the fields and the learning garden to unearth the lessons of shemitah for the campers. They looked at the crop rotations—seeing which fields looked fallow and which were cultivated. Through these observations and working on the land, campers saw firsthand how many wild creatures call the farm their home, and how a mitzvah like shemitah helps the creatures reset in their natural habitats.

More than 50% of the campers are able to explore the wonder of Hashem’s creation on the farm thanks to the incredible generosity of the Mina Gillers Memorial Fund (MGMF), which allows the camp to make its program tuition available to camp families on a sliding scale. They are deeply grateful to the MGMF donors, who support the camp in offering this unforgettable Torah farming experience to all of the campers regardless of their family’s financial situation.

Beyond camp, GrowTorah runs educational garden programs with over 20 school partners across the country (including most Bergen County yeshiva day schools). Between these school garden programs, one-time workshops, Camp GrowTorah, and the college internship (“the Inchwormship”), GrowTorah reaches over 8,000 participants annually.

In celebration of the success of its largest-ever session of Camp GrowTorah, and in support of the thousands of participants across the country who will learn and grow with them in the coming year, they are welcoming old friends and new to join them at their inaugural Harvest Feast. On Sunday, September 18, guests will enjoy the idyllic 14 acres of organic farmland through guided tours, and engage in GrowTorah’s signature experiential and environmental Torah activities. They will dine under the party tent with sustainable and locally sourced fare (some directly from the farm itself) catered by Moss Café.

Your support delivers their programs to over 8,000 participants annually, advancing their mission to cultivate a more passionate, compassionate and sustainable future driven by Torah values.

Celebrate with them at www.growtorah.org/harvestfeast 

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