What's Jewish about recycling?
This year our 6th/7th grade class at Shoresh is learning about our responsibility as Jews to the earth, the local environment, and animals. The goal of the unit is to learn that Jews have a responsibility to the earth, the local environment, and to other creatures on our planet that affects the way we live and the decisions we make. They have learned about climate change, using land for farming, and what Judaism says about water and conserving water. They have studied texts for the holiday of Tu Bishvat and celebrated the holiday with a Tu Bishvat seder. They have decorated their own reusable water cups and learned about making Jewish holidays more sustainable.
The students noticed that some classrooms don't have clearly visible recycling bins (as well as some common spaces at KAM Isaiah Israel) so they wanted to ensure every space has a recycling bin. They studied Jewish texts including a verse from the Torah, Genesis 1:28, and created a rap about the Jewish importance of recycling. Click the image above to watch the video.
God blessed them and God said to them, "Be fertile and increase, fill the earth and master it; and rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and all the living things that creep on earth." - Genesis 1:28
They then wrote a letter to KAM Isaiah Israel's tenant schools, City Elementary and Chicago Free School, explaining why they asked for recycling bins to be purchased and placed in the classrooms. They also spurred the KAM Isaiah Israel staff to get recycling bins for our common spaces, as previously there had only been recycling bins in the office areas.
This learner-centered project started with a group-level enduring understanding and learning goal for the unit identified by the Shoresh curriculum, but it shifted as learners noticed the lack of recycling bins and wanted to take action. This is the future of the Jewish people: proactive, tradition-driven, and energetic.