Teva is a project which aims to transform Jewish education in the US to foster a sustainability that is Jewish, ecological, and food-oriented.
Teva was founded in 1994 by Hazon, the Jewish sustainability organisation, to immerse young people in the natural world and provide structured activities to sensitise them to nature’s rhythms. The aim is to help young people develop a more meaningful relationship with nature, and deepen their connection to Jewish practices and traditions. This process also facilitates personal growth, community building, and a genuine commitment to Tikkun Olam – healing the world. A decade later, Teva’s focus expanded to include issues of food sustainability.
Teva programs are designed for children ages 2–17 years old and their educators. Over the last 20 years, Teva has worked with more than 450 day schools, congregations, camps, JCCs, BJEs, youth groups, and other Jewish institutions. More than 100,000 individuals who have benefited from the programmes cover the spectrum of religious affiliation and age.
Over 250 young adults form the core of Teva educators and more than 500 community educators have sought out Teva’s professional development opportunities. In turn, Teva educators have been inspired by their experience to start 14 initiatives that are making real impacts on the Jewish community.
Students come away excited about the natural world and more knowledgeable about what Jewish tradition has to contribute to our understanding of the environment
All children ages 5-12 have the opportunity to participate in Hazon's Jewish Outdoor, Food, Farming, and Environmental Education programme called Camp Teva! at a retreat centre in Connecticut. Set in 400 acres of farmland forest, lakes, and streams, the centre offers activities from hiking and farming to yoga and prayer, during the Shabbat and Chaggim holidays in accordance with the conventional Orthodox laws.
Offered to fifth- and sixth-graders is a four-day programme called Shomrei Adamah, which means 'Guardians of the Earth'. This integrates outdoor environmental education with Jewish concepts and values through hands-on activities. The aim is that students develop a greater sense of responsibility, independence, and self-esteem, and come away excited about the natural world and more knowledgeable about what Jewish tradition has to contribute to our understanding of the environment.
School children at one of the activities organised by Teva at its 450-acre retreat in Connecticut. Participants learn to connect with nature and about how Jewish tradition is deeply entwined with the environment Picture: Hazon