Dear CBI community,

Spring is here! We couldn’t be more delighted to see our backyard and the hills greening, the willow tree behind the sanctuary bursting into leaf, and the flowering trees now in bloom.

Wise and compassionate stewardship of our land has been a Jewish value ever since the Garden of Eden. In this era of climate crisis, it’s important to care not only for our grounds, but also for the local ecosystem of which we are a part. 

Here at CBI we’re doing a few different things to live out this Jewish value:

  1. We’re once again participating in “No-Mow May,” an international initiative designed to give bees, butterflies, and other small native creatures the early spring foraging time they need in order to thrive. By postponing our major mowing until later in the season, we give our ecosystem time to wake up from the cold winter. (For more on this, see The ‘no mow’ movement could transform our lawns in The Washington Post.)
  2. When we do begin mowing for the summer, we’ll mow in a measured way, giving our land a gentle haircut rather than shearing it too close to the ground. 
  3. Where our land meets the wetlands, we’ll continue to promote “rewilding,” letting native plants return to the edges of our space. We can think of those edges as akin to the tzitzit on our prayer shawls. Torah teaches that holiness can be found at the “fringes,” whether literal or metaphorical.
  4. Our pollinator garden, built in hexagonal beds to remind us of honeycomb, is filled with native flowers and herbs chosen to give local pollinators the nourishment they need. 
  5. And our grove of fruit trees at the front of the synagogue continues to establish roots, and someday we’ll harvest fruit from our very own trees. 

It takes a village to nurture an ecosystem. If you want to join our volunteer land-care team, please let us know. As summer sets in we will be especially in need of volunteers to water our trees, to tend the pollinator garden, and to weed amongst the stones of the Al and Frances Small Memorial Labyrinth where all are invited to contemplate the natural beauty around us. We welcome your help with any or all of these.

We are so fortunate to be in a location where we can care for a little piece of our earth. City shuls can’t hold a candle to the beauty of where we are planted! 

Blessings to all,

Rabbi Rachel Barenblat Natalie Matus, President