Outdoor Education

“Do not say that this is a stone and not God.  Heaven Forfend!  For All is God!”  This famous teaching from the 16th century mystic Moshe Cordovero expands our sense of community to include hills, streams, birds, trees and the entire circle of life.  Wonderfully, these words are not new.  Isaiah spoke two millenium earlier, saying, “The whole world is filled with Glorious Presence!”

These outdoor programs are designed to not only bring the words of Isaiah and Moshe Cordovero to all who participate, but to allow participants, no matter their age, to touch the place where these words come from.

  • Elves! Gnomes! Fairies! and Shretelech?

Join this mini-expedition for a slow- paced guided hike in search of the kindly Shretelech, the Yiddish word for the little people.  We’ll explore the natural world through the eyes of children, hear stories of the magical Shretelech, and build shelters for them.   Along with entering the secret world of the Shretelech, this program shares activities that introduce Jewish blessings for the natural world, and teaches adults how to reframe this walk as a contemplative nature hike and antidote to “nature-deficit disorder”.

  • Fifteen Billion Years and Six Days at Night: Stargazing, Genesis and the Big Bang

Come out under the stars for a tour of the night sky.  Gain clues about the origins of our universe, and hear stories from the first days, and explore ways we moderns can reclaim the book of Genesis.  Guaranteed that everyone will learn three constellations that can be seen all year round.  Potential to hold class in canoes, on the lake, if calm.

  • Fifteen Billion Years and Six Days at Day: Crittergazing, Genesis and the Evolution of Life

Theologian Art Green writes, “Evolution is the great sacred drama of our generation”.  This hands-on program introduces our scientific creation story along with mythic and fabulous stories from the first days.  Participants navigate the history of life as a field is turned into the grandest timeline imaginable.  This program can also be held indoors.

  • Wonder with Every Step: Walking the Path of Blessings

Judaism is filled with blessings for rainbows, thunder, spring flowers, beautiful trees and more. These blessings are not from granola eating tree huggers, but traditional blessings for the wonders of the natural world.  During this session for adults, we will engage all of our senses as contemplative nature awareness practices are shared that are designed to expand our feelings of appreciation and awe.

  • A Sense of Wonder: The Texts of Rachel Carson and Abraham Joshua Heschel

These two giants, both filled with wonder, are respective pillars in the environmental community and the Jewish community.  During the first half of our workshop, we will dive into a close textual reading of their work, explore their nuanced understandings about wonder and awe, and find relevance for us today.  During the second half, we will take the time to remember and share our wondrous encounters with the natural world.  Through this process, we will place wonder in a Jewish context and deepen our personal sense of awe.

To learn of my environmental workshops, click here.


-CD’s Available-

The Birth of Love: Tales for the Days of Awe includes David’s retelling of ancient mythology, Old World Yiddish tales (set in the Berkshire foothills), medieval folktales and other stories first told at High Holiday services.

The Life and Times of Herschel of Ostropol: The Greatest Prankster Who Ever Lived brings to life the spirited and light-hearted Herschel, a beloved folk character from the Ukranian village of Ostropol. This CD is jam-packed with lively re-tellings of traditional folk stories, old world Yiddish tales, and introduces Ida, Herschel’s strong-willed, quick-witted and beloved wife. Filled with warmth, humor and excitement, this CD provides fun and pleasure for the whole family.