A Jewish Blessing for the Edible Garden at Rodef Shalom

On Friday, May 27, 2011, Rodef Shalom Preschool held a Teacher Appreciation lunch. During this lunch, Harriett Green, one of our teachers, encouraged everyone attending to view our edible garden and to see how much the students have planted so far. Once the group was assembled in the garden area, Rabbi Aaron Bisno gave a short talk about what Jewish tradition says regarding planting. He indicated that there is a midrash the speaks about how each new seed gets it’s own angel, which encourages the seed to grow and flourish.
However, neither Rabbi Bisno, Rabbi Henry, nor Rabbi Hertz was able to find a blessing specifically for newly planted items. Rabbi Bisno indicated that he believes this is so because a Jewish blessing usually accompanies an action or an immediate result. When planting, we have to anticipate the future blessing of the adult plant, during the harvest. However, Rabbi Bisno did find a blessing that “thanks G-d for the continuous renewal of creation.” This blessing is transliterated as “Baruch ata Adonai Eloheynu Melech ha’olam oseh ma’aseh b’reisheet.”  Blessed are you G-d Sovereign of the Universe who continuously blesses creation.
After this lovely blessing, the group also said the “shehekianu” prayer which is said when one does something for the first time, moments we’ve anticipated and moments of celebration. “Baruch ata Adonai Eloheynu Melech ha’olam shekekianu vekeyamanu vehigianu lazman ha’zeh.” Blessed are you G-d, Sovereign of the Universe who has kept us alive and sustained us and brought us to this moment.

April Ohms, another preschool teacher, created a wonderful short movie of the event. Check out a video of the blessing here.

kids in the garden

All the families and teachers and guests admired the newly planted items such as the strawberries, tomatoes and pea plants. The garden will continue to get new plants and to be tended by the teachers and students over the summer.



Edible Garden at Rodef Shalom Free Workshop Tonight in Pittsburgh

Integrating Edibles in Small Suburban and Urban Landscapes Workshop

Monday, June 27, 7:00 PM

Edible plants in landscape

Come learn how to weave edible plants into small spaces with Nancy Knauss, master gardener and educator for the Penn State Cooperative Extension.

This workshop is sponsored by Life Long Jewish Learning at Rodef Shalom Congregation, made possible through a URJ Incubator Grant.

Rodef Shalom Congregation
4905 5th Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15213
(412) 621-6566

Edible Garden Shabbat at Rodef Shalom Congregation this Friday June 10, 2011


Pittsburghs Backyard Gardener Doug Oster


Friday, June 10th 6:30 pm
Rodef Shalom Congregation
4905 5th Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213


Doug Oster, Post-Gazette Backyard Gardener & KDKA Garden Guru, will lead a discussion based on his book Tomatoes Garlic Basil: The simple pleasures of growing and cooking your garden’s most versatile veggies. A vegetarian dinner with potluck salads and sides will be served at 6:30pm.  The discussion will begin promptly at 6:45.  

All are welcome to attend.  Please RSVP to JoAnne Ruffing, ruffing@rodefshalom.org – bring a salad or side dish to share with 6 people.  Free Parking.


Time to Plant the Edible Garden at Rodef Shalom and the 25th Season of the Biblical Botanical Garden

Inch by Inch. Row by Row.
Come Help The Garden Grow!

Wednesday, June 1 – 6-8 p.m. – Deaktor Terrace/Lawn
The Edible Garden at Rodef Shalom

 Sign up to plant vegetable seedlings in a self-watering container.

There are a limited number of containers, so reserve yours today! Pizza dinner
and deserts provided. Please bring a fruit or vegetable side dish to
share with 6-8 people. Make fun garden art. Sing and learn blessings for
the garden. Take a tour of the Biblical Botanical Garden, open from 7-9p.m.
This event is for everyone, and it’s fully accessible. Sign up to
plant as a family, couple, or single. RSVP to JoAnn: 412.621.6566 or ruffing@rodefshalom.org.

Biblical Botanical Garden Opening
Summer 2011, Our 25th Season
“Eat, Drink, & Be Merry: Wine & Food in the Ancient World”

Wednesday, June 1
Sunday – Thursday: 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Wednesday (June-August): 7 – 9 p.m.
Saturday: Noon – 1 p.m.

 Visit ancient Israel in a setting of a cascading waterfall, a desert, and a bubbling stream, the Jordan. Plants are displayed among replicas of ancient farming tools. Dedicated hostesses and docents, directed by our talented horticulturist, Irene Jacob, welcome thousands of visitors each summer. Open to all. Free. Accessible. Group tours for eight or more.

 P.S. Mark your calendar for our Garden Anniversary Shabbat Service on Friday, July 15 at 5:30 p.m.