Shabbat in the Woods

  • This past Thursday, riding down the coast toward Savannah, I noticed something both surprising and uplifting appear on the median of 95 as it slipped past on its way up north. It took me a minute to realize that something had changed, and it took another minute and a double-take over the tops of my sunglasses to understand what it was. The grass was green.Greener pastures marked the beginning of a weekend filled with warmth and greenness. Heading out of North Carolina on Thursday, we took a quick stop at the renowned “South of the Border” rest stop, where we did a little shopping and rode an elevator to the top of a giant sombrero. Later in the day we had a long-awaited and much-needed staff meeting around a picnic table at a highway rest-stop. And it’s a good thing we did, because that break made it so that we rolled9oi9 into Savannah just in time to see a large, glitzy sign, flashing lights and reading, “Sustainable Design Conference.” So we turned into the driveway.

    Minutes later, we had changed into our Topsy Turvy Uniforms – green and blue “jumpsuits” – and were sitting in the presentation room, listening to SCAD students describe their sustainable design projects.  And when the next break in the program arrived – with permission – a man dressed like a green custodian walked on stage and asked,

    “If you could imagine a vehicle  designed to carry educators across the country on a mission of environmental awareness and responsibility, what would it look like?”

    It wasn’t a tree on wheels, as one woman suggested, and it wasn’t imagination, either.  It was outside, right now!  And it was about to blow some minds.

    We spent some time showing the architects and designers our own out-of-the box design and, once we were sure a new group of future leaders had been inspired, we moved on.

    We spent the evening in Savannah, and while discussing our plans for sleeping, had a chance visitor.

    “Topsy Turvy Bus?”  Somebody knocked on the door.  “From that Jewish Nature program up north?”

    Our guest was Benjamin Bloom, who worked at the JEA in Savannah and had spoken to Joanna on the phone during the booking process of our tour.  We soon became his guests as he let us park in front of his apartment, use his bathroom and bedroom, and in the morning brought us into the JEA where we had a chance to use some basic amenities.  After a hot-tub soak, a sit in the steam room, and showers, we looked good, felt refreshed, and hit the road.

    Shabbat found us parked on the grounds of The Hostel in the Forest, where we met some amazing people, ate some amazing food, and spread our Shabbat ruach and energy to the rest of the guests and staff.  We got in some good R&R with icy swims, serenaded sunbathing, outdoor showers and winding boardwalks through palm, pine, and bamboo forests.  As our own contribution to this guest-run paradise, we, of course, donated around a hundred “Food Should Taste Good” chips and performed our Breisheet skit around the campfire, with great success.

    So mentally rested, physically rejuvenated and spiritually spirited, and with a full tank of veggie-oil that is continuing to be cleaned in the centrifuge while we drive, we’re turning southward and heading for even warmer, greener pastures.  Stay tuned for photos and updates, and check out our facebook or changents site for picture albums.

    ~Noah

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    2 responses to “Shabbat in the Woods

    1. Reena Slovin (Noah's mom)

      Hey Guys – Glad to hear you’re seeing green. Here we’re expecting snow once again! Hope you make it to Vi with Rabbi Sy and Dvora!

    2. great writing noah! I’m jealous… sounds like good times! Although I didn’t know that icy swims were part of standard R&R…
      Glad to hear y’all are inspiring people wherever you go.

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