Dr. Jon Greenberg is devoted to biblical ethnobotany. In addition to writing essays, he also presents live programs on this subject for audiences of all ages and educational levels, often at synagogues, religious schools and botanical gardens.
Ethnobotany is the study of how people use plants. Biblical ethnobotany is a way of using the tools of botany and ethnobotany to help us better understand the Torah. This includes such things as identifying the plants and other natural phenomena mentioned in the Tanach (Jewish Bible), using information about these plants to shed light on their use in prophetic metaphor, and studying the plants involved in performing various mitzvot in order to better appreciate and perform those mitzvot. To see what this sort of scholarship looks like in practice, click on Essays at the website: Torahflora.org and read a few of the items available there. The Resources page will also provide you with opportunities to learn more about Biblical ethnobotany.
Dr. Greenberg received his bachelor’s degree with honors in biology from Brown University and his Master’s and Doctorate in agronomy from Cornell University. He has also studied with Rabbi Chaim Brovender at Israel’s Yeshivat Hamivtar and conducted research on corn, alfalfa, and soybeans at Cornell, the US Department of Agriculture, and the University of Pennsylvania’s Institute for Cancer Research. Since 1989, he has been a science teacher and educational consultant. Dr. Greenberg was Senior Editor of science textbooks at Prentice Hall Publishing Co. Previously on the faculty of Yeshivas Ohr Yosef, the School of Education at Indiana University and the University of Phoenix, he has taught at the Heschel School since 2008. He is a frequent speaker at synagogues, schools and botanical gardens. Greenberg’s summer schedule is below:
Sat., May 30, Teaneck, NJ 4:00-5:30 PM: Biblical and Talmudic botany neighborhood walking tour
We’ll meet at 4:00 PM at the corner of Belle Ave. and Sagamore Ave. Reservations are not necessary, but an e-mail to [email protected] to let me know to expect you would be appreciated. This event is free and open to all.
Sun., June 21, New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, NY 2:00-3:30 PM: Biblical and Talmudic botany walking tour
We’ll meet at 2:00 PM at the main entrance, 2900 Southern Blvd., Bronx, NY. The tour is $10 per person (children under age 12 free). Children under age 12 will receive a free craft project. However, this tour is not recommended for children under age 8. Admission to the Garden is $13 ($6 for seniors age 65 or older and students age 12 and older with school ID, $3 for children age 2-12, and free for members and children under age 2). Reservations are not necessary, but an e-mail to [email protected] to let me know to expect you would be appreciated.
Sun., June 28, Brooklyn Botanic Garden 10:30 AM-12:00 PM and 2:00-3:30 PM: Two Biblical and Talmudic botany walking tours
We’ll meet at the main entrance, 990 Washington Ave., Brooklyn, NY. The tour is $10 per person (children under age 12 free). Children under age 12 will receive a free craft project. However, this tour is not recommended for children under age 8. Admission to the Garden is $12 ($6 for seniors age 65 or older and students age 12 and older with school ID, and free for members and children under age 12). Each tour is limited to 25 people. To reserve a place for the 10:30 or 2:00 tour, please e-mail me at [email protected]
Sun., July 12-Wed., July 15 Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, Falls Village, CT
A series of four programs, including lectures, a Torah Flora garden tour, and possibly a Torah Flora dinner as part of Camp Isabella Freedman for senior adults and their families, July 6-19. Details about this adult summer camp program are available from the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center.
Sun., July 19, Frelinghuysen Arboretum, Morristown, NJ 10:30 AM-12:00 PM and 1:00-2:30 PM: Two Biblical and Talmudic botany walking tours
Register for either session after June 1 at ArboretumFriends.org. There is a $15 fee. Be sure to register early--this annual event has been oversubscribed every year.