Teva: Shomrei Adamah
Jewish learning from the (sacred) ground up.
Shomrei Adamah, meaning “Guardians of the Earth,” is a four-day overnight program designed for 5th- and 6th-grade Jewish day school students. The program integrates outdoor environmental education with Jewish concepts and values through hands-on exploratory learning, communal living, and nature connection.
What happens during Shomrei Adamah?
Over the course of four days and three nights, students participate in two types of daytime classes: Limudei Chutz (outdoor learning) and two Chuggim (electives).
In Limudei Chutz, students embark on a journey through Pearlstone’s forests, creeks and meadows to study earth sciences, plant and animal life, and the connections between them that allow these ecosystems to function in harmony. Through experiential activities and games, they will explore what Jewish wisdom has to say about humanity’s role in Creation, and participate in group challenges which promote communication, build trust, and encourage creative problem solving. The main goal of Limudei Chutz is to give students the opportunity to unplug from their daily routine and immerse themselves in the natural world through learning, play, and connection.
In Chuggim, students choose from electives relevant to Teva’s mission, including drama, music, natural crafts, cheese making, movement, survival skills, meditation, and more. One of the two Chuggim slots is a hands on Beit Midrash (Jewish text study) where students learn that Torah is not only studied on a page but is brought to life in practical application in the world.
Evening programs include a campfire and song circle, night walks (a student favorite!), and an exciting interactive performance about ecology and waste. During mealtimes, students sing together and measure their collective waste impact, with student-led brachot (blessings) being said before and after eating. Students also lead shacharit (morning prayer) services, with support from their teachers and with input from program educators. Beyond mealtime, lesser-known brachot are taught for natural events (such as rainbows and animal sightings) as a means of heightening awareness and expressing wonder and gratitude. You can see a sample schedule HERE.
Bringing their seeds home.
All Shomrei Adamah students participate in the “Bringing It Back to Our School” program, in which they design a project to implement throughout the school year. At Teva, students explore a wide variety of environmental topics and focus on ways that they—individually and as a class or school—can contribute to creating a more just and sustainable world. The projects not only help to reduce waste and empower students in their daily lives, but they also keep the spirit of Teva and experiential learning present in the classroom! Past projects have included reducing lunchtime waste by starting a school-wide composting system, starting or improving upon recycling systems, and creating school and community gardens, among other projects.
We have our ears to the ground.
The ecological and climate science landscapes have changed profoundly over the 25 years of Teva’s history, necessitating continual curricular innovation by Teva educators to respond to students’ intellectual and socio-emotional needs. In response, the program has built upon its deep roots in Jewish ecological wisdom to address climate change and environmental justice with hope, resilience, gratitude, and even joy!
Pearlstone is a leader in high quality Jewish outdoor and environmental education. Our students always return from the TEVA program with new ideas, ways to “green” our school and enrich our community. The extensive facilities, including full-service kosher kitchen, ropes course and overnight lodging, offers many opportunities for retreats and programming. For more than a decade, I have been participating in and sending groups to Pearlstone. I appreciate the personalized attention and willingness to accommodate the smallest of details to ensure the most impactful experience for our participants. ~ Rabbi Moshe Schwartz, Krieger Schechter Day School, Baltimore
How to Participate
Want to bring your Jewish day school to Teva?
Contact Clara Feigelson at email@example.com to learn more and register.