June 21, 2024
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Torah Flora Walking Tour Planned for Sunday in Teaneck

Summer is a wonderful time to walk around our neighborhoods and appreciate nature. However, if you are seeking a deeper appreciation of nature, one that connects us to Tanach and Jewish tradition, then joining Dr. Jon Greenberg’s walking tour is the solution. Dr. Greenberg is a Biblical and Talmudic ethnobotanist and the author of “Fruits of Freedom, the Torah Flora Haggadah.”

On Sunday, July 11, Dr. Greenberg, a resident of Teaneck, will be leading a botanical walk through Torah and Jewish history in Teaneck. The tour will meet at 10:30 a.m. in front of Congregation Rinat Yisrael, 389 West Englewood Avenue.

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, 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.

On his walking tour, Dr. Greenberg will point out and explain the significance of the relevant plants that are encountered, as well as discuss how the various plants that are seen in the neighborhood figure in Biblical prophetic metaphors, midrashim, halachic discussions in the Talmud and later authorities, and Jewish food history.

Dr. Greenberg is a frequent speaker at synagogues, schools and botanical gardens. He is often consulted by rabbis and other scholars for his broad knowledge of Biblical and Talmudic botany. He received his bachelor’s degree with honors in biology from Brown University and his doctorate in agronomy from Cornell University. He has also studied with Rabbi Chaim Brovender at Israel’s Yeshivat HaMivtar and conducted plant research at Cornell, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the University of Pennsylvania’s Institute for Cancer Research. Previously on the faculty of Yeshivas Ohr Yosef and Indiana University, he has taught at the Heschel School since 2008.

There is no fee for the event and advance registration is not required. Children ages 12 and above are welcome.

Copies of “Fruits of Freedom, the Torah Flora Haggadah,” will be available for sale at the end of the walk ($35, cash only, please). The Haggadah includes Greenberg’s commentary and illustrations that explain the Exodus and the seder in terms of the history of Jewish food and agriculture. For more information, visit http://www.torahflora.org/hagadah/ or https://store.bookbaby.com/book/FruitsofFreedom. Dr. Greenberg can be contacted at [email protected] or visit his website at http://www.torahflora.org.


Susan R. Eisenstein is a longtime Jewish educator, passionate about creating special, innovative activities for her students. She is also passionate about writing about Jewish topics and writing about Israel. Susan has two master’s degrees and a doctorate in education from Columbia University.

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