Every year we endow a young adult to become a Segil Urban Farm Fellow at the Shalom Institute Children’s camp in Malibu. My husband Clive trains them with his deep knowledge of farming in an urban environment ( although you can see from the picture below that the camp is in the middle of a bucolic scene protected by federal and state parks in the mountains of Malibu – but don’t forget – it is surrounded by a city of 10 million people!).
Clive is an expert beekeeper too and the Institute has many offspring of our animals ( goats and chickens) as well as beehives my husband and our farm manager Max, have rescued. Thousands of children from far and wide, including many inner city kids who have no idea that eggs do not come from the supermarket but are laid by chickens, attend this camp for weeks, or weekends depending on the program. The camp also has a special program called Shemesh for special needs children and adults. All moves the heart and soul and we are so proud to be involved albeit in a small way.
When reading a variety of texts, especially the Talmud, the 5 books of Moses ( The Torah), and the Bible both old and new testaments , it is found that acts of goodness are the active representation of a covenant among people, a social contract. This is not about simply getting a request in the mail for funds and writing a check, or bringing a can of soup to a box at your Church or Synagogue. It is not even about showing up once a year at the homeless shelter or soup kitchen or writing letters to Congress to effect social policies. Those are truly important, relevant acts, but they fail to engage people in relationships of understanding. It is when we become engaged with real people and communities on the other end of our giving of time and resources that we realize the covenantal aspect of doing good. The Segil Urban Farm Fellowship along with our Larraine Segil Scholars are our ways of creating joy for others as well as receiving joy at the same time. In a few months, there will be a small ceremony at the Camp for the new farm fellow and I will post a picture then with her name and background. Stay tuned!