Caring for Plants to Care for the Future
Trees have always been very important in Judaism – they even have their own holiday! Today we will look at a photograph and a text from the Talmud to see what we can learn about trees, the environment, and the future.
Activity #1: Analyzing a photograph
Activity #2: Learning about Honi the Circle Maker
Students read a Talmudic text about Honi the Circle Maker (Honi HaMa’agel) and the importance of planting trees, even though they only provide fruit for the next generations.
Depending on the background or age of the students, the text can be presented in various ways:
Students can work in pairs to read the text and answer the questions on the worksheet.
Teachers can tell the story to the children.
Teachers can show a video with the story.
Before learning the Talmudic story:
- What is the importance of trees for you?
- What is the importance of trees for the environment?
- How long does it take for a tree to grow to full height?
After learning the Talmudic story:
- Why was Honi surprised that the man was planting a tree that would only give fruit in another 70 years?
- What was the man’s answer? What did it mean?
- What might Raphael Stern have been thinking about while he was watering the tree? Do you think he was thinking about the future?
- What Jewish holiday celebrates trees?
- Have you ever planted or cared for a tree? Did you also have to wait patiently until you could enjoy the fruit of the tree? Do you feel a special connection to that tree?
Choose one of the following:
- A planting science activity: Easy Plant Science Experiments for the Classroom, Project Learning Tree
- Write a journal entry for the man in the photograph. Reference Honi in the entry.