In Jerusalem

Natural therapy

Through communal gardening, Ohr LeNefesh is planting the seeds for the social integration of people challenged by psychiatric disorders.

Sima Levi and Tal Cohen work together to host a weekly cooking event for gardeners and community.
Photo by: Marc Israel Sellem
There is something about putting your hands into the soil, planting seeds and watching them grow that soothes and relaxes. Through gardening, you can connect with the natural world while removing yourself from the tensions of day-to-day life. Many people enjoy gardening not only for the beauty it creates but also for the pure pleasure of the work itself. It is creative and restorative for people of all ages and is used as a form of therapy for a wide range of conditions.

In Jerusalem, only a few minutes’ walk from the busy café scene of Emek Refaim Street, there is a hidden haven for gardeners and nature lovers. On the grounds of the Natural History Museum, a center for nature and education since 1962, you will find a large garden abloom with trees, plants and flowers. This area was originally cultivated as a garden beside the old stone building that houses the museum when it was built in the 19th century as a summer home by a Christian Arab or Armenian living in the Old City. Today, this rustic spot is home to a busy community of devoted neighborhood residents who are working to bring Jerusalemites closer to nature and to each other through community gardening.

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