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WNER Education Day 2014
SUSTAINING THE EARTH / SUSTAINING OURSELVES
The theme of WNER's annual education day this year was "Sustaining the Earth/Sustaining Ourselves," and it was a day chock-full of information and inspiration. About fifty Hadassah members and associates gathered at the Pleasant Valley Country Club in Sutton, Mass to learn about the environment and our place in it. Professor Bertold "Tolo" Fridlender, President of Hadassah Academic College in Jerusalem, led off the day with a presentation about the work of the BioXplore project that has been collecting and cataloguing every item of flora in the Mediterranean area. Fridlender, the coordinator of the project that includes Spain, Greece, and the Palestinian Authority, told us how the researchers have been testing every part of every plant for potential use in drugs, food supplements, flavorings, and even cosmetics.
Jan Sullivan, Director of the Mass Department of Public Health's Community Assessment Program, discussed environmental impact on our health. She pointed out the discrepancy between people's beliefs and the facts about the major contributors to disease, and she told the audience how her staff investigates the dangers in our communities.
Vivian Newman, educational consultant with the PJ Library, led an interactive session on how to transmit Jewish values on the environment to our children and grandchildren. She also demonstrated how to use a sample of the PJ Library books, suggesting hands-on activities to supplement the content of the books.
The last speaker of the day was Rabbi Jacob Fine, Director of Jewish Life at Northampton's Congregation B'nai Israel, who led a session discussing how theshmita, or sabbatical year, could help to save the planet. He then expanded on the strictly agricultural focus of theshmitato include other social justice concerns, such as the jubilee year canceling of debt and the Hebrew free loan societies.
Artisans and crafters working with up-cycled materials, and ecology-oriented organizations had tables surrounding the main ballroom.
All in all, a successful day!
To see all the photos, click here.