The following remarks were made by Terry Schultz, Or Atid congregant and active member of the Gan Chesed Kindness Garden Steering Committee, at Or Atid’s TuB’Shevat celebration with students from the Helen and Sam Kornblau Religious School.
Did you know that Jewish people have 6 senses- touch, taste, smell, sight, hearing, and memory? The goal of the Gan Chesed Kindness Garden is to stimulate all these senses and create caring memories in our sacred spaces.
The gardens we are building and our sensory playground we are currently developing seeks to energize us and enhance all of our senses. It is a fact that sensory gardens improve our overall health and wellness. They connect us to nature, empower us to be mindful and allow us the opportunity to be creative and reflective.
The Gan Chesed Committee is happy you will be planting seeds with us today that will soon be replanted in our garden boxes this spring. We hope you will enjoy watching our gardens grow and prosper. We want you to volunteer to help tend to the gardens so you will be an active caregiver for the earth.
We hope you will notice how our Memorial Garden with its beautiful daffodils that you planted this past Fall are now sprouting upward in memory of the children lost in the Holocaust and in support of continued acts against humanity today.
At this time of Tu B’Shevat we celebrate the birthday of the trees and recognize the importance of planting seeds to make the world more beautiful. We are the caretakers of the earth and it is our job to help grow our garden so it will take care of us in the future. We want to congratulate you because every seed of kindness you plant, no matter how small, will grow and eventually sprinkle its seeds to others, making a difference in the lives of many for years to come.
Consider, the very first thing that a seed develops is its roots. It is important to note that before it can sprout upward, it grows down into the ground. For a plant to grow up it needs to have nutrient enriched soil. This metaphor applies to our lives. What kind of nutrients are you taking in? How healthy are you?
Are you adequately feeding your mind and body? At the holiday of Tu B’Shevat, I hope that your roots are strong, filled with G-d’s love, and the love of your family and friends.
I’d like to thank all the Or Atid donors and the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond for partnering with the Gan Chesed Committee in the development of the Congregation Or Atid’s Gan Chesed Kindness Garden.