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Oneg Shabbat

Share your special mitzvah with KI by sponsoring an Oneg Shabbat!

 This is appropriate to honor so many events:

  • An Event Honoring the Memory of a Loved One
  • An Anniversary
  • A Birthday
  • Any Other Special Occasion

The Women of KI ensure that a beautiful spread is available every week, including delicious pastries, cookies, fruit, coffee/tea and soft drinks. A partial sponsorship will increase the offerings while a full sponsorship adds cheese and crackers, pies and cakes in addition to what is normally offered.

Questions? Please call Vikki Dunn at the office: 610-435-9074 or Iris Epstein, Oneg Chair: 610 390-4185. You can also use the form here to contact us. 

First Annual Plant Swap

The Women of KI’s 1st Annual Plant Swap on Sunday May 16, was a successful and fun event for all.  It was a warm and welcoming group of members, friends and family who learned about plants from each other.  We even welcomed a plant biologist who happened to be walking by with a small group!

We were outside and masked.  The 3 large tables of plants consisted of indoor and outdoor plants divided from ones at our homes, seedlings we planted and packets of seeds.

People came and went during the 2 hours.  We learned about plants from each other by casually talking about our plants to those interested in them.  There were various types of information available: labels to identify the plants, short information cards, a spreadsheet, handouts and an ipad to show photos.  

One member wasn't able to attend the event but donated a plant ahead of time.  Another took some leftover plants.  This was also a good way to connect and participate.

Looking back on the event, it was much more than trading plants.  There was a theme of connection.  Rabbi Shoshana was very moved to be back at the building for the first time since the pandemic started.  Most of the participants hadn’t seen each other in a long time, nor spent much time with others outside their families.  Now, afterwards, we have plants from each other to remind us of the plant swap - of our discussions and connections with the people who we received it from.  We put these plants in the soil of our homes.  The roots of the plants are now intertwined in the soil. We are connected to the earth and to each other.

We connected to KI’s physical building and grounds, to each other and then brought a symbol of that to our homes and planted it in the earth. 

The enthusiasm led to using some of the leftover plants to improve some of KI's flower beds and then a Brotherhood and WOKI flower bed work party.

A since thank you goes to staff Vikki and Kelly for their help with the event and to all the members, friends and family who participated.  It was a fabulous first annual plant swap.  

Women of KI Gardening Resources


"Let the earth sprout vegetation…" (Genesis 1:11)  Aderet Eliyahu explains that God placed the potential for growth in the earth.  It is up to human beings to sow the seeds.

Gleaning (leket in Hebrew) fields, is mandated in the Bible.  Leviticus 23:22 reads: "And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap all the way to the edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I the Eternal am your God."

Part of Parashat Behar (Leviticus 25) involves the commandment prohibiting the sowing or harvesting of land or the pruning of vineyards during the sabbatical year, every seventh.  The land is rested instead of farmed, to produce better crops in the future.  Whatever grows is left for needy people and wild animals. The land and people are cared for at the same time.

Deuteronomy 8:8 lists the 7 species of plants that sustain the land and people of Israel: wheat, barley, vines, figs, pomegranates, olive trees and date (honey).


Judaism teaches us that humans are caretakers of the earth.  God led Adam around the Garden of Eden showing him all of the beautiful flowers and trees.  Then God told Adam: "See how beautiful everything is that I have created.  It has all been made for you.  Remember this, and do not corrupt or destroy My world.  For if you do, there will be no one left to save it."  (Ecclesiastes Rabbah 7:13)

Commandment Perek Bet: Don’t destroy the environment, God’s precious gift!  Moses instructed his people about the treatment of trees to preserve the environment.  "When in your war against a city you have to besiege it a long time in order to capture it, you must not destroy its trees, wielding the ax against them.  You may eat of them, but you must not cut them down."  "Are trees of the field, like human beings, capable of withdrawing before you into the besieged city?" (Deuteronomy 20:19)

Perek Bet also forbids shifting the course of a stream that could cause the roots of trees to dry up.

Blessings to Use for Planting

"Baruch atah Adonai Eloheynu Melech ha’olam oseh ma’aseh b’reisheet."  Blessed are you God, Sovereign of the Universe who continuously blesses creation.

If planting for the first time - "Baruch atah Adonai Eloheynu Melech ha’olam shekekianu vekeyamanu vehigianu lazman ha’zeh." Blessed are you God, Sovereign of the Universe who has kept us alive and sustained us and brought us to this moment.

When you see handsome or beautiful people or lovely trees, you should say: “Be praised, O God, who creates beautiful creatures in the world.” (Mishnah Berachot 7:7)

Jewish Holidays

Tu BiShvat, Jewish Arbor Day, the "New Year of the Trees"

Sukkot, harvest festival & commemorates the 40 years of wandering in the desert after receiving the Ten Commandments

Jewish Gardening

Community Gardening

Local Programs

Local Places to Donate Produce

  • Jewish Family Service of the Lehigh Valley,
  • Central Elementary Food Pantry, 2nd & 4th, Thursdays year round, Valerie Lane,
  • Daybreak, Dominic 605-220-9160,

Gardens for Touring

General Information

Local Stores

Websites for Shopping

Gardening for Life: Native Plants in Country and City Landscapes


Thank you for your interest in our Gardening for Life presentation.  Elsbeth and I enjoyed the opportunity to share the way we think about gardening, the value and beauty in planting natives and some scenes from around our outdoor spaces. 

Please enjoy the recording of the presentation below.  They are both the same recording, but you can view it from Youtube or Vimeo - your choice!

Below the videos you can find information about garden centers that carry our native plants, additional resources and pdf versions of the presentation.

Watch on Youtube


Watch on Vimeo

Further Information

Here are some nurseries where I've found native plants:

  • Herbeins - 4301 Chestnut St, Emmaus
  • Tall Timbers - 4187 Huckleberry Road, Allentown
  • Tilley's - 111 E Fairmount St, Coopersburg
  • Tree Authority  - LLC 602 Minsi Trail, Perkasie - very reasonable prices for small to mid-sized trees

Nurseries specializing in native plants:

  • Edge of the Woods - 2415 PA-100, Orefield
  • Northeast Native Perennials -  1716 E Saw Mill Rd, Quakertown
  • Kind Earth Growers  2503 Mountain View Drive · Ottsville, (mostly wholesale)
  • Unitarian Church in Bethlehem has a spring and fall native plant sale

Other sources of native plants

Interesting article by Dr. Doug Tallamy

A professor of entomology at the University of Delaware, Prof. Tallamy is a source of insight and inspiration. I can recommend his talks that you can find on YouTube, as well as his books.

PDF Versions of the Presentation:

Ready to Participate?

Sun, April 14 2024 6 Nisan 5784