Tikkun Olam awards recognize teen gardening advocate

The Hebrew phrase Tikkun olam translates as “repair the world,” and has come to represent the notion of “human responsibility for fixing what is wrong with the world” in the Jewish faith. The Helen Diller Family Foundation and The Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco borrowed this phrase for their awards program that recognizes Jewish teens in California for work that embodies Tikkun olam. This year’s winners, which each receive $36,000 for college, or for supporting their philanthropic work, have just been announced, and include young people working on issues ranging from the refugee crisis in Darfur to access to textbooks in Liberia to providing school supplies for disadvantaged youth in Los Angeles.

While these are all efforts worthy of recognition, Pacifica teen Naftali Moed caught my eye for his work developing a community garden at Oceana High School. A gardening and food justic advocate, Naftali started this effort at his school after getting involved in other local urban gardening efforts, and a trip to the 2009 Rooted in Community conference. The results of his work, according to the Tikkun olam awards: “a remarkable hands-on learning oasis that offers volunteers an opportunity to garden, explore renewable energy sources, understand irrigation systems and landscape construction, and study sustainable agriculture.” Get a closer look by checking out the start-to-finish photo gallery on the garden’s web site.

You can see a complete list of this year’s award winners at the Jewish Community Federation website. Let us know which ones impressed you…


Image credit: Oceana High School Garden photo gallery