Dash- Environment as a space for unity
In a world where seemingly every topic of conversation has the potential to sow division, it has become increasingly challenging to engage and find common ground that unifies all those seated around the weekly Shabbat table. One of the areas that highlights our common human interests is the environment. Israel is no different from any country in the world when it comes to our genuine environmental challenges and sustainability. And, given our neighborhood, the conflict, and the fact that we are not in normal relations with two of the four countries that border ours, the topic of the environment nonetheless has the amazing ability to blur boundaries and ideologies, and rebuild alliances in the region.
One of Israel’s more inspiring places is located at Kibbutz Ein Shemer, which houses a treasure trove of all things social change with its Ecological Greenhouse, established in 1977 by resident artist Avital Geva. The Ecological Greenhouse specializes in education, research and social action through innovations and exploration in ecological sciences. Located not far from the coast, Ein Shemer sits at the gateway of Wadi Ara, an area in Israel populated primarily by Arab citizens, and sitting on a major highway southeast of Haifa. The greenhouse fulfills its potential for social change not only in its focus on the environment, but in its method for doing so, by bringing together youth from diverse populations of Israeli society: Jews and Arabs, religious and secular, native Israelis and new immigrants, gifted children, youth at risk, special education students, and those with special needs.
Among their various projects, “Growing Together” stands out as one of the most inspiring. “Growing Together uses its participants common interests around the environment to its participants promote relationships and strengthen mutual understanding. This joint program for Arab and Jewish youth brings school children together to explore science, ecology and agriculture as they team up to work on shared challenges, such as the treatment of sewage water. Since water is a fundamental resource, the challenge of water shortages on both global and national levels creates a shared set of goals for students, who are able to realize their potential as young scientists while learning firsthand the value of cooperation.
For more on this inspirational place: Ein Shemer Eco-Greenhouse. We hope to take you here next time you are in Israel!