July 23, 2024
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GrowTorah’s Second Annual Dinner Announces Project Accelerate Acceptance

On September 10, just days before Rosh Hashanah, GrowTorah hosted its second annual fundraising dinner, the Harvest Feast, at Cropsey Community Farm in Rockland County, where over 100 people joined to celebrate and support the work of GrowTorah.

The dinner, like all of their programs, stayed true to GrowTorah’s mission of living with environmental awareness grounded in Torah values. Guests took part in GrowTorah’s programming, such as harvesting herbs to make besamim for Havdala, and making herb-infused organic local honey to sweeten the upcoming Jewish New Year. The food, prepared by Chef Itta Werdiger, was sourced from local farms, whose farmers were invited to attend. All food was enjoyed using compostable plates and cutlery, which along with any food scraps were composted to nourish the land.

The dinner included a milestone announcement: GrowTorah has been selected as one of 15 Jewish organizations to participate in Project Accelerate. Project Accelerate is a two-year, cohort-based program that builds the capacity of high-performing, innovative, small and mid-sized organizations in the Jewish community that are poised to enter a new stage of growth and development. GrowTorah is grateful for being chosen to participate in Project Accelerate and looks forward to sharing how this program has positively influenced the organization.

GrowTorah’s flagship program is its partner gardens at NYC area yeshiva day schools and JCCs. The gardens are tools for teaching students lessons from the weekly parsha and chagim, inculcating Torah values throughout. GrowTorah started in 2016 with four school gardens; it is now actively partnered with 27 schools and eight camps for weekly gardening sessions across the continent.

Many of these partner organizations are part of GrowTorah’s nationwide school programming, called Anafim. The Anafim program includes a three day virtual training, biweekly mentorship calls with organizational support, monthly online workshops and a community conversation space for educators to share ideas. Anafim is now operating 10 schools across seven states.

Beyond Jewish environmental education in day schools, Camp GrowTorah finished its sixth summer with 120 campers, doubling in size each year. The camp is offered on a sliding scale for families to pay what they can, thanks to the Mina Gillers Memorial Fund. They also hosted their fifth cohort of college-age summer interns, some of whom have come back to become full-time garden educators.

GrowTorah is slowly expanding its adult programming as well. Coming up on October 29 will be a sunrise hike and Haneitz minyan featuring a dvar Torah from YU Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Jeremy Wieder, who also serves as an adviser to GrowTorah. For more information and to get involved in GrowTorah’s programming please contact [email protected]

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