Over the past decade, the idea of the community garden has caught on in Israel. There are now some 200 community gardens around the country, many of which are supported by local authorities and various organizations.
Community gardens encourage the strengthening of bonds within the community, enhance the affinity between residents and their surroundings, create opportunities to interact with nature and soil, and allow people to grow their own fresh and organic food. These values form a focus of activities all year round, and not only during Shvat.
Several Reform communities around Israel are nurturing community gardens or are at the planning and development stage for such projects.
They include communities in Jerusalem, Tzur Hadassah, Rosh Pina, and elsewhere. The combination of a Jewish community and a community garden manifests the agricultural and ecological values embedded in Jewish tradition and texts. Activities in the gardens empower and enrich the experience of community prayer, study, and gatherings.
In addition to the Reform communities that run community gardens, in the Arava region of southern Israel a Reform kibbutz lives a comprehensive Jewish-ecological way of life. Kibbutz Lotan is based on the values of Zionism, love of the Land, renewed Judaism, and the protection of natural resources. The kibbutz runs a center for creative ecology and sustainability that hosts groups from Israel and abroad.