“See my works, how fine and excellent they are. All I have created, I created for you, so please take good care of it. If you wreck it, there will be no one else to repair it other than you.” Ecclesiastes Rabbah
Early spring in the Berkshires brings the promise symbolized by the approaching Passover holiday week. Gathering with loved ones and dipping fresh greens remind us why we chose the scenic Berkshire hills, forests and towns to call “home.”
So it is fitting, that we have a Shabbat Lunch and Learn several weeks before Passover itself to put us in the frame of appreciating the nature around us and our proximity to its beauty. To do this, we have a young woman, Elizabeth Orenstein, coming to teach us after a delicious lunch after the Shabbat service on Shabbat, April 6th.
Elizabeth Orenstein was born and raised in the Berkshire Hills of Western Massachusetts. She grew up walking and painting in the woods and has loved the natural world ever since. Elizabeth studied classics, religious studies, studio arts, and botany at the University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, the Aegean Center for the Fine Arts in Tuscany, Italy and Paros, Greece, and Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont.
Elizabeth’s current work is at the nonprofit Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT) in Pittsfield as Education and Outreach Coordinator, as well as painting local flora for her continuing studies of Berkshire plants. The 15-year old organization works hard to maintain the environmental integrity of our county. One recent project focused on improving high water quality standards in Pittsfield, with partners Berkshire Community College, Housatonic Valley Association and Pittsfield city officials. They have also worked with the Department of Conservation and Recreation on the Pittsfield Greening the Gateways Cities program planting over 2,000 free trees so far and holding free Tree Walks on the Pittsfield Common, Park Square, and Burbank Park among others.
Please do not miss the opportunity to join Elizabeth Orenstein for a discussion about connection to place through natural history and fine arts. Together we will explore Elizabeth's botanical paintings, various authors’ works on environmental stewardship, and connecting to place through artistic practice. She has truly accomplished the integration of her passions: ecological sensitivity and artistic instinct! We are hopeful that she will be arranging with Families Together to develop a customized intergenerational program for the enjoyment of our Hebrew School families.
Please register for lunch by calling 413-445-4872 x. 10 and reserving seats for your group. Generous donors to our Kiddush Lunch Fund will provide your lunch. If you would like to add to the fund, please send checks to our main office at 16 Colt Road, Pittsfield.