Shavuot Sojourn: A Jewish Agricultural Journey

Much of the content from our 2020 virtual Shavuot program is still available! Explore a variety of lectures and discussions on Jewish Agriculture and Earth-based Jewish Wisdom.

Join fellow environmental and sustainability professionals, students, educators, designers, farmers, homesteaders, gardeners, artists, Rabbis and activists as they share their gifts and learn from each other through this inclusive community.

Restoring the Five Lost Grains of Ancient Israel - Eli Rogosa

Join us to renew the meaning of 'bread from the earth' that is holy to the Jewish people. Discover the little-known authentic 5 species of grains used in ancient Eretz Israel for matzah and bread, and the history, folklore and traditions that they teach.

This session took place on Sunday May 24th, 2020

The Farm and the Mill: conversations with Migrash Farm - Ian Yosef Hertzmark

Migrash Farm grows and processes traditional cereals for the modern table and focuses their energies on preserving and enhancing the place of fresh local grains in culture, diet, and economy. Migrash Farm is committed to small grains that are grown, processed, and consumed locally and sustainably.

This session took place on Sunday, May 24th, 2020 at 8pm

Jewish Values & Environmental Education - Kadijah Spence

Most Jewish environmental education organizations include Jewish values in their curriculum to enhance their participants’ understanding of both the environment and Jewish texts about the environment. How do these organizations align specific Jewish values with environmental education topics, and what they feel participants take away from their experience

This session took place on Monday, May 25th, 2020

Permaculture and Shmita Ethics - Dave Boehnlein

The Shmita (or sabbatical year), which is found in the Book of Exodus, provides a spiritual and intentional respect for the land. Likewise, the permaculture movement focuses on conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive systems. Join in the discussion with Dave Boehnlein, noted permaculture expert.

This session took place on Monday, May 25th, 2020

Growing Soil: Vegans, Vegetarians, and the Jews - Ari Lesser

Genesis 1:29 is clear that "Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree that has seed-yielding fruit—to you it shall be for food." We are meant to be Vegan, even though the Torah is full of eating animals, and the Halakhah (Jewish law) encourages eating meat on Shabbat and Festival. Join us for this conversation.

This session took place on Monday, May 25th, 2020

Ancient Land Stewardship and the Future of Just Economics - Justin Goldstein

Shmitah not only holds ancient wisdom for how we relate to the land in just relationship, it also provides wisdom for how we support new economic relationships grounded in just relationship and mutual aid.

This session took place on Tuesday, May 26th, 2020

To be called to Jewish Farming: a Conversation with the Jewish Farmer Network - Sarah Seldin and Shani Mink

Jewish Farmer Network is an exchange of thoughts, questions, and information from which personal and professional growth inevitably follows. Understanding leads to engagement, and Jewish farmers are connected to the organizations, services and education that feed communities, farms, and selves.

This session took place on Tuesday, May 26th, 2020

Wisdom from the Mountain: Reality as Guide?

This session took place on Tuesday, May 26th, 8pm - Rabbi Psachyah Lichtenstein

Explore the Torah’s layered approach to nature and reality understanding that even after thousands of years of human inquiry reality still shatters our conceptions. We will explore what it can mean to find guidance, support, and mission through an embrace of what is.

A Bakery, a Bed of Wheat, and a Jewish Calendar - Nili Simhai

Bread plays a central role in Jewish tradition and in so many cultures around the world.  There is no better way to both live our Judaism and to connect with our wider community than growing, baking, and breaking bread together. Learn how one Jewish community and synagogue put wheat back in the center of Jewish life.

This session took place on Wednesday, May 27th, 2020

Tending the Wild / Midbar Abundance - Joe Murray

Not so long-ago, native peoples all over the world lived in harmony with their environment. Such was the abundance they co-created: While many of the caretaking examples will be from Pearlstone and surrounding ecosystems, the principles are universal. In this class you will learn that you and your students are the solution to many of our ecological problems today.

This session took place on Wednesday, May 27th, 2020

The Human and the Tree: Compassion vs. Self˗Interest - Tanhum Yoreh

Jewish thinkers and legists by and large understand environmental issues as being extra-legal and not under the purview of halakhah (Jewish law). While considered important, environmental issues only fall under “midat haḥasidut” (acts of lovingkindness), ultimately translating into environmentalism being seen as not obligatory within a legal framework. I’ll suggest why this is the case, and ways to move past this barrier to a more inclusive environmentalism.

This session took place on Wednesday, May 27th, 2020

The Science and Spirit of Baking and Breaking Bread - Eve Wachhaus

Take your Motzi to a whole new level, and step into the kitchen of Pearlstone’s Deputy Director, Eve Wachhaus. She will share her bread baking secrets with you and inspire you to truly appreciate this important staple in our lives.

This session took place on Thursday, May 28th, 2020

Connecting to the Agricultural Roots of Shavuot - Sarah Rovin

Greater Baltimore Virtual Shavuot Experience

What are the agricultural "roots" of Shavuot? We will be exploring how to connect with the agricultural practice of Shavuot.

This session took place on May 28th, 2020

Shmita Came Early - Jakir Manela

Greater Baltimore Virtual Shavuot Experience

How might Israel, America, or any country be different if shmita—the sabbatical year—was observed every seven years?  Where do we see the shmita paradigm reflected in our society today?  Let’s unpack this spiritual, political, economic paradigm, and think together about what it means for us today.  The law applies only to the holy land, but the spirit is essential for us all, now more than ever.

This session took place on May 28th, 2020

The Torah and Ecology of Dust - Stern Christian

Greater Baltimore Virtual Shavuot Experience

In this session, we will explore the contemporary pop-scientific wisdom on dust and its impact on life on Earth, as well as it's spiritual meanings and references in ancient Jewish wisdom.

This session took place on May 28th, 2020


Join Hazon, Pearlstone, Wilderness Torah, and Urban Adamah for a virtual Shavuot day of earth-based jewish learning!
Together we’ll sing, study torah, homestead, tell stories, and connect with nature.

This session took place on May 29th, 2020


Eli Rogosa, author of ‘Restoring Heritage Grains’, conducts field research to conserve ancient grains and traditional knowledge of their culinary use in the Caucasus Mountains and in Israel.  She co-manages the Seed Ark Farm in Western Mass with her husband, Cr Lawn, founder of Fedcoseeds.com. Her on-farm bakery specializes in gluten-safe, ancient grain breads using Biblical and Caucasus Mountain grains that she collected and restored.





Ian Yosef Hertzmark is a farmer, kosher butcher, and teacher based in Baltimore, MD. He farms small grains on 30 of the nicest acres in the Mid Atlantic Piedmont called Migrash Farm and is growing a milling operation around local grains and a hard working stone mill. He is most fond and enthused about his family. 




Kadijah Spence is a graduate student at Bard College studying environmental education and researching Jewish values in Jewish environmental education. During this process, I’ve met Jews of color, queer Jews and female-identifying Jews who are thriving in the environmental field. When I’m not researching the environment, I am in the environment, usually by a body of water. As a New Yorker, the Hudson River and its tributaries teach me so much and offer me a place to daydream.




Dave Boehnlein, is a permaculture designer, educator, and author. He serves as the principal for Terra Phoenix Design working on projects throughout North and Central America.  He is the education director at the Bullock’s Permaculture Homestead, a 35 year-old permaculture homestead on Orcas Island, Washington. He offers Permaculture Design Courses through Bastyr University’s Holistic Landscape Design Certificate Program and Alderleaf Wilderness College’s Wilderness Certification Program.  Dave is a member of both the Cascadia Permaculture Institute and the Permaculture Institute of North America. He holds a diploma in Permaculture Education and seeks to mainstream permaculture design with integrity.  To that end, Dave teamed up with landscape designer and author, Jessi Bloom, and illustrator, Paul Kearsley, to write Practical Permaculture, and excellent entry-level permaculture design text.


Ari Lesser is a singer, songwriter, rapper, and spoken word artist from Cleveland, Ohio. He graduated with a BS in Political Science from the University of Oregon and more recently spent time in Israel studying at Yeshiva in Tzfat and Jerusalem. He has performed all over the world, and written hundreds of songs on a wide range of subjects. Ari’s repertoire is expansive, touching on everything from politics, to religion, to animals. He will step into character and rap from the perspectives of hundreds of different personalities living and dead, real and fictional, human and nonhuman. He has also created rhymed translations of about one third of the book of Psalms, translating their powerful ancient message back into the realm of song. Ari’performance brings words to life in a way that is inspirational, accurate, educational, and very entertaining for English speaking audiences of all ages and backgrounds. 


Justin Goldstein, after serving as a pulpit rabbi for 8 years, now serves as the Scholar-in-Residence of Yesod Farm+Kitchen, a small regenerative farm in western NC. Justin teaches on the intersections between ancestral Jewish agriculutral wisdom and contemporary food systems, believing that connecting to our ancient wisdom is imperative in establishing more just systems for the future.






Shani Mink is a seasoned farmer, experiential Jewish educator and the executive director of the Jewish Farmer Network. Her work at Eden Village Camp, Pearlstone, and other experiences with the land has deepened her spiritual path, and the wisdom of the Jewish tradition has lent endless meaning and intention to her work as a farmer. Shani’s desire to share the depth and beauty of the connection between farming and Judaism led her to co-found the Jewish Farmer Network with Sarah Julia Seldin in 2017. The cultivation of this network is Shani’s proudest accomplishment to date.


Sarah Julia Seldin is a first generation farmer and a co-founder of the Jewish Farmer Network. Sarah Julia began growing food in 2015, in a search for embodied outdoors work that contributes to a more just and kind world. Today, Sarah Julia is steward-in-residence of Yesod Farm+Kitchen, a new community space dedicated to regenerative agriculture, earth-based Jewish living, and growing relationships across difference on 16 acres of ancestral Tsalaguwetiyi and Catawba land, in the mountains of Western North Carolina.





Rabbi Psachyah Lichtenstein is a teacher, farmer, author and artist. He is the Director of Education at Pearlstone Center in Baltimore MD. Psachyah graduated from the Rabbinical College of America and Pratt institute in NYC. He has served the Jewish community as a mentor and teacher of Jewish mysticism in the US and Israel for over 20 years. As a Rabbi and speaker Psachyah has built trans-denominational relationships across every boundary. He walks the intersection between ecology, technology, and the human spirit.


Nili Simhai serves as the Director of Outdoor Educationfor Abundance Farm. Nili served as the Director of Teva, a leading Jewish environmental education organization, for fourteen years.  A recipient of the Covenant Award for excellence in Jewish education, Nili has been recognized for her leadership in training and counseling hundreds of educators in the tenets of Jewish environmental education.  One of her current passions is outdoor classrooms in Jewish institutions.  Nili can be reached at nili@abundancefarm.org.



Joe Murray has been teaching nature connection since 1997 and has made it his life’s work to learn from the Indigenous peoples of the earth and share the old ways with as many people as possible. During that time, he has mentored thousands of kids and helped design the curriculum for several wilderness schools and is a founding member of the nonprofit Ancestral Knowledge 501(c)3. Currently he is the Caretaker at The Pearlstone Center in Baltimore specializing in wilderness education and land restoration efforts including the use of prescription fire on the Pearlstone Campus.


Tanhum Yoreh is an Assistant Professor at the School of Environment at the University of Toronto. His research focuses religion and environment, faith-based environmentalism, faith-based environmental ethics, and religious legal approaches to environmental protection. He is particularly interested in the themes of wastefulness, consumption, and simplicity. Dr. Yoreh is currently researching the motivations for environmental engagement in faith communities in Toronto, and Jewish environmentalism in Israel and North America. He is the author of Waste Not: A Jewish Environmental Ethic (2019).



Eve Wachhaus, Pearlstone’s Deputy Director, is an experienced hospitality director, a former non-profit executive director and a foodie. She has managed 13 food and beverage operations from casual restaurants to golf club hospitality departments, and loves bringing meaning to people’s simchas. As Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity of the Greater Harrisburg Area, she earned numerous distinctions and awards. Eve also has expertise in community engagement, home preservation, marketing and ReStore leadership. As a side hustle, Eve owns Do What Ema Says, a Mediterranean Food Blog and catering company, where you will find she heaps on the spices and encouragement.



Jakir Manela is Pearlstone’s Chief Executive Officer. He and wife Nets started the farm and educational programs in 2006, and after managing five years of growth, Jakir was promoted to lead Pearlstone in 2012. He is blessed to work with an amazing staff and wonderful board to engage over 20,000 participants each year in immersive retreats, transformative Jewish education, and organic farming, and community sustainability. Jakir lives just up the road with Nets and their four sons- Lev, Shama, Yovel, and Amani.


P Stern Christian joined Pearlstone as the JOFEE (Jewish Outdoor Food Farming and Environmental Education) Outreach Fellow in February 2019 holding a decade of diverse experiences as a youth educator and mentor with young people from across the globe. Stern facilitates connection between land, spirituality, and self through experiential education and Jewish wisdom. After completing the Fellowship in February of 2020, he signed on as a Lead Educator to support all of Pearlstone’s incredible educators in their work!


Sarah Rovin, a Lead Educator in Pearlstone’s Program Department has worked as a JOFEE (Jewish Outdoor Food Farming and Environmental Education) Educator at Pearlstone for three years. She has experience working with people of all ages, and has built a deep relationship to this land. She arrived here through participating in the JOFEE Fellowship in 2017, spending a year doing professional development and learning in the JOFEE field while working full time at Pearlstone. She has professional experience as a case manager, community educator and has been involved in community organizing around climate justice. In her free time Sarah enjoys singing in the community with her friends and spending quality time with the goats.