Gan Students Learn about “Clean” Dirt

            “Clean dirt” is a concept the two and three year old Gan students learned about at the Tot Shabbat.  It is the first of several teaching experiences incorporating age appropriate concepts that promote the intertwining of ecological and Jewish values at Temple Sholom for all members of the congregation.  These types of projects can include students of all ages as well.

            It was a cold Saturday morning when the Gan Students anticipated spring by pouring “clean dirt” into decorated cups (indoors). “Clean dirt” does not have glass, plastic, gum wrappers and other trash mixed in which makes it hard for new plants to grow. Seeds of various herbs were then added while Rabbi Goldberg entertained with songs for the kids and parents.  This was followed by Rabbi Conover telling a story involving a fairy, trees, and Tu b’Shevat themes, ending again with the idea of “clean dirt.”  This project is the beginning of having young children think about their world and start to observe their environment outdoors.  Later in the Spring the children will have an opportunity to take the plants that germinated from these seeds and plant them in our very own Gan Emunah.  

            Karen Lewis, chair of Eco Chauvra, and myself, a new Eco Chavura and new Temple member, were present to help the teachers, parents and students with the project. Eco Chavura is a group of Temple members who are working to promote ecological education, solutions and life style changes in accordance with Jewish teachings. 

            What did you think of this Tot Shabbat experience? Perhaps you could grow some herbs yourself at home and then use them in your cooking later this year.  It’s easy and doesn’t take much work.  If you have other ideas for Eco Chavura to consider or want to know more about Eco Chavura, please let us know. 


Katherine Billingham is a clinical psychologist, member of the Temple and of Eco Chavura.