My name is Andrew Susser and I am currently a participant of OTZMA’s Israel Teaching Corps program. I live in Arad, Israel with Mollie Cherson, another OTZMA ITC participant. I am an English teacher’s assistant at Yealim-Ofarim and Ort-Arad high school. Born and raised in Monmouth County, New Jersey, I began my studies at Colorado Mountain College in Steamboat Springs before moving back east to Philadelphia, where I completed my studies at Temple University majoring in Religion and Literature.
Environmentalism and conservation are really important issues that I think about often. John Muir, one of the earliest pioneers of conservationism wrote, “G-d has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods. But he cannot save them from fools.” We have made some really idiotic, irrational, and poor choices over the last two centuries–so much that we are faced with the daunting task of changing our ways in less than one century. If we want the earth to be a place that flourishes with greenery and wildlife, then human beings have to assume the role of caretaker, not destroyer.
John Muir also wrote on the need for children to experience nature before their young adult life. From his book, My Boyhood and Youth, he reflected “When I was a boy in Scotland I was fond of everything that was wild, and all of my life I’ve been growing fonder and fonder of wild places and wild creatures.” It is so important to bring children closer to nature–to help them appreciate the home that G-d created for us. So after you bring your kids to see, “Where the Wild Things Are,” take them for a hike or go camping when the weather is right.
I am really glad to know that a program like the Eco Connection exists for children in Israel and America. My generation and theirs are taking on a problem that seems irreversible at times, but with strong advocacy and education, we can do anything! All it takes is a little imagination–and of course, commonsense.