The Tzedakah Garden

Temple Emanuel’s Early Childhood Center Creates a Tzedakah Garden
to Benefit Meals on Wheels

Garden1What do cucumbers and red peppers have to do with four-year old children and Meals on Wheels? A gift of a green house, from the Parent Association of the Early Childhood Center, literally planted a seed of gardening for four year old children. The element of a Tzedakah garden was created when children began counting the money that they had collected during the year and wanted to do something meaningful with it. In a conversation about their Tzedakah fund a four-year old said “We want to do something helpful and nice. Friendship means love and care. We want to make people happy.” With the help of parents and teachers, the Arazim Class met with volunteers from Meals on Wheels. Since Meals on Wheels shares the building during the mornings, doing a Tzedakah project for the group was especially meaningful. With the help of parent volunteers the children built a raised bed garden to grow certain types of vegetables that Meals on Wheels requested.

Kathy Serabian, acting president for Meals on Wheels, stated, “This garden is a great learning experience for the kids. They will be learning how to volunteer to help home bound people that can’t get out to shop and to cook. We are excited, pleased, and grateful for the cucumbers and red peppers. We make salads every day, and hopefully this will be a cost savings for Meals on Wheels.”

Gardening has long been a part of the culture and identity of Temple Emanuel’s Early Childhood Center. As part of a larger community, our work reflects Temple Emanuel’s commitment to caring for and protecting the natural world around us.

The gardens include an edible garden; a scented Havdalah garden; a tea garden and a flower garden that the children named the “Passover Garden” in honor of the coming of spring. All are the product of collaboration between many teachers, children and parents. Madeline Lowitz-Gold, director of the Early Childhood Center stated, “In addition to creating a communal experience of growing food and studying plants, this joyful experience has provided opportunities for a wide variety of learning in areas such as botany, mathematics, art, and nutrition.” 

Temple Emanuel’s Early Childhood Center looks forward to sharing their harvest with Meals on Wheels.Garden2

Temple Emanuel’s Early Childhood Center located in Kensington, MD, is a full-day, year round school that welcomes over 110 children, ages 2 to 5, and their families.  Our program is celebrating six years together as a community based on creating and maintaining a culture of collaborative learning inspired by the Reggio Emilia Approach to Early Childhood Education and the rich Jewish values of Temple Emanuel.