September 14, 2014   19 Elul 5774
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Community Garden
Jun. 21, 2006
Cultivating produce on synagogue grounds to serve at a local soup kitchen.

Community Contact Information:
Temple Oheb Shalom
Baltimore, MD
www.templeohebshalom.org


Goals:

  • Foster relationships between local Jewish and African-American communities.
  • Grow fresh produce for a population in need.
  • Provide a meaningful hands-on project that embraces the Jewish values of tzedakah and tikkun olam.

Overview:
Preparation:
The synagogue built a community garden on its grounds named after a late congregant, who was an early childhood educator, religious school administrator, and social activist. The synagogue partners with an inner city African-American church to harvest produce from the garden for the church’s soup kitchen.

Project Implementation:
Many congregants became involved in this effort, including religious school classes and members of the brotherhood and sisterhood. The garden operates from a fund started in honor of the late congregant. In addition, a congregant in the nursery supply business donates plants, seeds, fertilizer, and gardening tools. The garden also prospers due to the volunteer efforts of a local master gardener.

Results:
Volunteers harvest over 4,000 pounds of fresh produce each year. In addition to providing food for the hungry, this interfaith project fosters relationships between the local Jewish and African American communities. Due to the success of this project, the congregation plans to expand the size of the garden. The social action committee feels that the appreciation of gardening, values of giving and sharing, and passion for tikkun olam that result from the garden are wonderful legacies for a beloved late congregant.

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