Congregation Shomrei Torah in Wayne has begun construction of a raised-bed community garden, using a $2,500 grant from Passaic County’s Dig In program and City Green, a private nonprofit organization that promotes community gardens. It is the only synagogue in Passaic County to receive the grant.
Synagogue volunteers will complete construction of the garden, which will include raised beds and a deer fence, this month. The first crops will be planted in the spring. Congregants will grow vegetables to use for kiddushes and oneg Shabbats and will donate surplus food to a local food pantry. Hebrew school students also will help with gardening.
The garden program offers a way to consider today’s issues through a Jewish lens. Should the garden be organic? Would Moses have used insecticides on locusts? Were Adam and Eve vegetarian? Why are we taught to leave fields fallow during jubilee years, and not glean the corners of our fields so that the poor in the community can have a food source?
The committee, which is still in formation, includes Linda Dumoff, Alice Moskowitz, Marcy Marcus, Linda Gaba, Zev Friede, Tova Friede, Beth Julie, Ivan Gerstein, Andy Simon, Stu Millstein, Rabbi Randy Mark and Henry Ramer, its informal chair.