Students at Yeshivat Frisch who work the “Frisch Farm” with Yosef Gillers prepared for the harvest holiday of Shavuot with tzedaka last week, practicing the midah of caring for the poor that is a central theme in Megillat Ruth. The Thursday before the chag, students picked a beautiful harvest of cabbage, chives, mint and chive blossoms for donation to New Jersey’s Center For Food Action.
The Frisch Farm club was the pilot program for GrowTorah, started by Gillers in the fall of 2014. It started as a farming club, with students meeting weekly during their lunch time to tend to the farm and grow vegetables, herbs and flowers. Since then, the program has expanded to include a weekly mishmar, open to all students. The underlying goal of the program, according to Gillers, “is to expose students to as many ‘mah rabu moments’ as possible; that is to say, to experience the awe and wonder of growing food, and appreciate Hashem’s role in our lives.”
“There is so much beauty in the world, and the garden affords us myriad opportunities to feel that appreciation and deepen our sense of emunah,” explained Gillers. The three core values of the program are Jewish environmental stewardship, compassion for creatures and tzedaka. During Frisch Farm mishmar, students have the opportunity to explore these values in greater detail, as well as the agricultural themes of each Jewish Holiday, before tending their crops.