Alumni Connecting to Your Roots: Young Judaea Alumnus Starts Organic Farm in Israel
Humans of YJ Feature: Eli Saper
I remember the moment that I discovered that I could make a difference in the world by growing organic food. I had just finished exploring and connecting with the people of Israel during Year Course. Surging with a renewed connection to Judaism and Israel through its nature, I found myself out of place starting university in a strange land. I knew that I needed to take action to do something deeper that would change the world. My years in Young Judaea taught me that we need to care for our land and for each other. I made the decision to leave school and learn sustainable agriculture in Israel. That year changed my life forever.
My wife and I officially made Aliyah in 2012 to reconnect with our Jewish agricultural roots and fulfill our dream as pioneers. Six months ago our family garden expanded into a small local farm, Havat Iyar. By using organic and permaculture techniques, we are respecting and caring for the natural ecology of the land. We started selling vegetables to neighboring communities and we are expanding to plant a large medicinal herbal tea section.
Our goal is to promote healthy lifestyles and spiritual growth by enriching people’s connection to the land. It is not enough to just come here (to Israel); we are meant to heal the land and to allow ourselves to be healed through it. We are creating a space where people can grow by working together and experience first-hand the incredible life force manifesting through the earth.
Young Judaea instilled the values that made me who I am today. Growing up in the movement taught me to be who I am and go for my dreams. It is up to us as individuals and as a collective soul, to deepen our connection to the land and in turn, discover who we are and who we can become.
Eli Saper is a former CYJ Midwest (2001-2003) and Tel Yehudah (2004-2005) camper and attended Machon (2006) and Year Course (2007-2008).