Trees: Heart, Mind and Soul!
To coincide with the introduction of JTree, this was a celebration of trees from spiritual, scientific and creative points of view. Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, co-founder and driving force behind EcoSynagogue, JTree, and Senior Rabbi of the Masorti movement was joined by Jonathan Drori CBE, former Kew Trustee and author of “Around the World in 80 Trees” and Tracy Chevalier, Woodland Trust Ambassador and author of Girl with a Pearl Earring”. Their lively, illustrated conversation was chaired by Emily Kasriel of BBC News.
It also featured this speech by Ely Boyd:
In 3 weeks, I celebrate my bar mitzvah. There was no question in my mind what I wanted my project to be. I knew, that as I become a Jewish adult, I take on the responsibility of many things. One of which is tikkun olam – or repairing the world.
In Genesis, God created the world by planting a garden for us. Now, with JTree, we are going to repair the world by planting a garden for God.
I’ve asked all of the guests at my bar mitzvah to help me plant 613 trees – one for each commandment I take on as I become a Jewish adult. So far, my guests have raised over half of the money needed to plant those trees, and we are still going strong.
Most synagogues have at least one bnei mitzvah a month. There are over 450 synagogues in the country. If everyone reaching bnei mitzvah planted 613 trees, we could turn my little grove of trees into a forest. If everyone reaching bnei mitzvah planted 613 trees, we would be able to rebuild this garden that God has planted for us. If everyone reaching bnei mitzvah planted 613 trees, we would be able to plant over 3,000,000 trees annually in the UK alone. That is why I ask everyone in this room, everyone in this community, everyone is the world, to do tikkun olam by planting a tree with JTree.
Images from the event: