The hubs of the Jewish and Latino communities in Los Angeles may be miles apart geographically, but their shared vision of social justice and respect for the Earth can create mutual understanding, friendship, and trust despite physical distance. That is exactly what happened when IKAR, a Westside synagogue, and Proyecto Jardin, a sustainable community garden in Boyle Heights, began working together years ago on food justice and Tikun Olam.
Thanks to a generous ChangeMaker Challenge Grant from the Jewish Federation, IKAR and Proyecto Jardin have explored the remarkable spiritual similarities between the Jewish and Aztec agricultural views. This joint exploration will culminate in a Sukkot and Harvest Festival on Sunday, October 12th. The Festival celebrates the struggles both peoples have overcome in order to practice and pass on their teachings. It also highlights the reverence both cultures have for the Earth and its fruits as divine gifts.
While Jews express Tikun Olam ideals in written texts such as the Torah and Talmud, Aztec tradition articulates caring for the Earth and for others through danzas, or dance prayers. The Jewish-Aztec Sukkot and Harvest Festival allows the two groups to share their dramatic and beautiful harvest rituals with one another–the sukkah, shofar, lulav and etrog marking the Jewish holiday and the conch shell, feathered costumes, face paint and aromatic censer animating the Aztec danzas. And the Sukkot crafts projects and multicultural food exchange, with Sukkot treats and vegetarian delights from Proyecto Jardin’s organic garden, are sure to bring the two communities even closer together! Most important, people from different faiths and neighborhoods will rejoice in the Earth’s bounty and dwell together in peace in Proyecto Jardin’s beautiful intercommunity sukkah.
IKAR and Proyecto Jardin invite all Angelinos to join the Jewish-Aztec Sukkot and Harvest Festival starting at 1:00 pm on Sunday, October 12, at Proyecto Jardin, 1718 Bridge Street in Boyle Heights.
The ChangeMaker Challenge offers grants up to $5000 to project proposals that make a meaningful impact on LA in the areas of transportation, education, economic development, fighting hunger and civic engagement. If you have an innovative idea that will make Los Angeles a better place to live, apply for a Jewish Federation ChangeMaker Challenge grant at ChangeMakerChallenge.org. Applications are open until October 6. Contact Aubrey Farkas at AFarkas@JewishLA.org or 323-761-8163 to learn more about the opportunity.