Plant the Dream

On January 23rd, over seventy Jews honored Tu Bishvat by planting trees in San Francisco’s Holly and Crescent Parks.  The service project, organized by the Federation's GET FED program, found Jews coming together to celebrate Tu Bishvat in a modern context, participating in tikkun olam by greening our community.   At the same PLANT THE DREAM event last year, Federation CEO Jennifer Gorovitz put her shovel in the dirt and said that the JCF needed to get their hands dirty (pun intended) in various Green ventures and organizations.  Since then, the JCF has begun funding Green-initiative driven Jewish organizations and has begun to look into what it would take to Green and solarize Jewish institutional buildings*.  Gorovitz was not the only one thinking of our future.  After her speech, a handful of leaders from different parts of the Green community gave their dreams for 2011 including:

  • Zach Franklin (Grid Alternatives, Development Director): My dream for 2011 is that we can take the example of today's work project [tree planting in Holly Park] and look for more ways to organize a "minyan for the environment" to work with family, friends and neighbors on projects that heal the planet while building community.
  • Adam Werbach (Saatchi and Saatchi S, author of "Strategy for Sustainability"): It's hard not to be depressed with all of the bad news about the earth going on. Scientists declared last week that the Tasmanian Devil of Australia is on the verge of extinction.  But last week my daughter Mila told me that she was joining the environmental club in her 2nd grade class.  My dream is that she does a better job than we have done.
  • The opening ceremony also included words by GET FED’s David Katznelson, and a drash by the Jewish Study Network’s Rabbi Shaye Guttenberg.

Afterward, the volunteers spent the rest of the afternoon planting seventy-five trees in the two city parks and listening to a marching band comprised of JAZZ MAFIA all-stars, who paraded through the work fields playing their renditions of Jewish tunes.  Parents worked with children, teaching them about Jewish traditions, while newfound friends dug holes and ate from the prepared snack bags filled with Tu Bishvat-oriented consumables (nuts, dates, carob) lovingly put together by the Adler family. 

Each bag contained the prayer:

As a way to celebrate the “New Year for the trees,” it is customary to eat the fruits grown in the land of Israel.  Like trees, we too, need strong roots and nourishment.  As you eat and plant today, feel free to reflect upon what keeps YOU centered, and then, as the old adage says, “Grow where you are planted.”



The PLANT THE DREAM 2011 service project was led by the Jewish Community Federation’s GET FED program, and run in conjunction with San Francisco Recreation & Park Department. The event was made possible from a generous grant from the Sarlo Foundation. Thank you to:  Bonnie Shrek of the Living Library, John Miller from the San Francisco Recreation & Park Department, The Jewish Studies Network, Reboot, the HUB, Hazon, Urban Adamah, Adam Berman, Adam Werbach, Or Shalom and Dan Brook, and Zach Franklin. *In December, the GET FED program of the JCF solarized a lower-income house in San Francisco in honor of Hanukkah.


January 25, 2011


The Federation