The AllCreation Podcast

This is ’’Pathways of Teshuvah, Part 3 - How Do We Move Forward, Together? This recording is part 3 of a 3-part discussion with breakthrough academic, Dr. Pesach Chananiah, and youth mentor / gardener / veteran, Mr. Marcus Kar, on reconnecting to Nature for sacred communion and emotional wellbeing. In this segment, Dr. Chananiah and Mr. Kar share on how to apply their Nature-reconnection learnings to modern life.

About Our Guests
  •  Dr. Pesach Chananiah (author) is a Jewish ecopsychologist, educator, and community organizer working in interfaith and environmental spaces. He writes about the psychological impact of disconnection from land, through a Jewish lens, and explores modes of healing through embodied spiritual practice in the natural world. Read his paper, Pathways of Teshuvah, on
  •  Marcus Kar (special guest) is a decorated veteran and a native of “North” Minneapolis, a predominantly African-descent (African-American) community struggling to overcome racism, economic poverty, and other forms of America’s institutional biases. Marcus is program director at Youth Farm, North Minneapolis, “a multi-faceted youth development organization growing food and young leaders, healthy bodies and minds, positive identity, neighborhood connections, community opportunities, and healthy relationships.”
0:00 Dropping into the session: a final summary.
                We are exploring 4 quotes and 4 keywords,
                re: Place, Possibility, Universal, Indigenous
       0:30 Rav. Korngold quote (place)
        0:50 Rav. Comin quote (possibility
        1:20 Dr. Channaniah quote (universal)
        2:00 Dr. Channaniah quote (indigenous)

2:25 Dr. Chananiah 
        2:55 Sharing “hitbodedut“ (Hebrew term for “alone time for spiritual purpose“) with kids
        3:55 Were always moving so fast, right?… but, when I can get out into the wilderness… 
        5:05 Sharing & exploring the things all humans share: Earth, lands, food, dreams …

6:15 Do you have more of a sense indigeneity today?
6:49 Dr. Chananiah 
        > Going Lech Lecha (Hebrew term for “Go! Leave! Go for you.“)
        > Eco-awakening: Bill Plotkin, Nature and the Human Soul
        9:00 10 years of exploring Nature & the human psyche
        9:30 Nature immersion essential for middle-childhood health and development, and the psyche 

10:30 Does Nature-Connection bring a stronger sense of identity, Life skills, kinship, process-awareness?
11:30 Mr. Kar 
        “The impact of Nature on everyone is the same.“
        “My kids are learning how to process their feelings in green spaces,“ but camping is not safe for Black people. I’m trying to get rid of that. (paraphrased) 
        13:30 Giving kids today the tools to process their feelings and Grow Everything (plants, foods, relationships, community, possibilities,,, everything)
        14:05 Marcus’s wish for this audience

14:30 Marcus & Pesach sign-off with gratitude
15:20 Official wrap-up 
        > Pesach’s paper:
        > Marcus’s interview:
        > Envisioning Transformation:
        > BioIntegrity

What is The AllCreation Podcast? Faith • Spirit • Biodiversity • Connections

This unproofed, unedited transcript was auto-generated by

We will update for clarity, asap. Thank you.


Chris Searles (HOST) 0:02
Yeah, okay, look, that's a great way to bridge. We don't have any questions popping up yet in the chat. So I'm going to read another summary from the paper for both of you guys to sort of comment on and maybe this will spur a question or two. And it relates directly to what you just said, Marcus. So this is going back to Pesachs paper. And I kind of highlighted four key words here, the words are

Chris Searles 0:21
place, possibility, universal and indigenous.

Chris Searles 0:27
And so we can maybe sort of land (wrap up) here. And here's the quotes starting with one you've already heard tonight. And it'll frame well the the other three.

Chris Searles 0:36
>>> For 1000s of years, we have been taught to focus on the words that were given rather than the place they were given from Rabbi Korngold.

Chris Searles 0:45
And then Rabbi Coleman says something that sounds a lot like Marcus says, Pesachs framing of this,

Chris Searles 0:53
>>> this inquiry into place, and selfhood presents a profound possibility and exploration and then here's the quote, of the awesome mystery of the things we are usually moving too fast to see. During which time we acquire a profound respect for the plants and animals we come to know intimately,

Mr. Kar (SPECIAL GUEST) 1:15

Chris Searles 1:16
yeah, that sounds like Marcus. And then yeah, and then here's a great quote that is Pesach sort of framing eco psychology in a way from his cultural identity situating culture within nature.

Chris Searles 1:31
>>> This work moves beyond the particular cultural experience of diasporic Ashkenazi Jews like myself, and verges into the perhaps universal human condition of relationship to land and psyche.

Chris Searles 1:46
And, of course, our society and psyche, self and psyche, but land is this element we have excluded in our, you know, Western narrative. Or biosphere, I would say in my language. And then the fourth quote here, to your point again, Marcus,

Chris Searles 2:01
>>> in today's world, Jews have the opportunity to make any locale, their access moody, to become indigenous, anywhere on Earth.

Mr. Kar 2:11

Chris Searles 2:12
So I see you exemplifying that. I hear you saying that, I'd love to hear Pesach, if you want to comment on that summary. I know, I kind of read it slowly. But we have, you know, 15 more minutes here to kind of talk through these ideas of indigeneity. so forth.

Dr. Chananiah (FEATURED AUTHOR) 2:28
I appreciate Chris, you reading some of the quotes that I borrowed from others, because, you know, so much of this work was from my own exploration, and you know, my own fulfilling of my curiosity, and then just kind of like stringing together what I learned,

Chris Searles 2:44
it is an incredible threading that you do bringing all these elements together, I think,

Dr. Chananiah 2:48

Dr. Chananiah 2:49
brother. I appreciate that. It was it's been fun over the years to do that right to figure some of this stuff out. And so you know, that quote from Rabbi Cummins is him talking about that practice of hitbodedut.

Dr. Chananiah 3:04
And the exploration that I had, there was one of the practices that we were teaching these 11 and 12 year olds who happen to be Jewish kids, is to be able to sit outside at the foot of these huge red woods, or what have you. And just be there for minutes, right, maybe 10 minutes, 15 minutes. And then sometimes I've like to, we have this great I wish I, I brought my ram's horn, but we have this great ram's horn that makes this awesome sound, it's usually only blown a couple times in the Jewish year.

Dr. Chananiah 3:40
But I would tell these kids, you know, when you hear the sound of our ancestors, you can come back. And so they would just be on their own out, they'd find a spot. And so it's this, like, we're always moving so fast, right? We're always looking in the way I have my phone right here, I'm always looking at my phone like this close, right, I'm trying to typing fast. But when I can get out into the wilderness, I can just be at such a slow pace, right. And I can just experience the relaxation, of seeing the wind move through the trees.

Dr. Chananiah 4:18
And I'm really blessed, privileged and grateful to learn how to do that in my 20s and 30s. And so to be able to invite 11 and 12 year olds to get that is just like a phenomenal gift. And like the work that you're doing in markets of working with with young people and helping them to see that like way earlier than we did, I think is is huge.

Dr. Chananiah 4:44
ffAnd so yeah, just to go back to that point. I just happen in this paper to talk about the Jewish experience, because that's one of the things I was exploring in my graduate studies and one of the identities that I have and it's just kind of like It's my access point. But really, all the practices that I share are accessible to everybody.

Dr. Chananiah 5:09
And it's really our shared our shared connection to the earth. And our shared connection around food is one of the things and I'd say the third, maybe, I mean, there's probably a few things that all humans can can relate to right food. We live in lands as long as we can acknowledge it. And I think the other one is, dreams. We all have dreams, we all sleep. So that's kind of my background is in depth psychology, which, like first and foremost is very much about dreams. And I was just sharing with my wife, like, most of us humans, we don't talk we don't share about dreams, right? We feel like really, I think I'm intimidated to talk about our dreams with each other, and to talk about our relationship to land or disconnection to land with each other.

Dr. Chananiah 6:00
And so, yeah, I'm just interested in exploring the practices that I've discovered, and how we can all connect on getting reconnected to the earth to the natural, the more than human or other than human world.

Chris Searles 6:18
Let me ask one more thing, the paper began so beautifully with you all, you know, talking about your youth, looking at the stars from your parents house. And, you know, trying to reconcile this is a different type of reconciliation, this compelling sense of connection to the stars, with, as Marcus is saying, you know, the traumatic world that we live in the world that we live in. And so now, I think you have really found a very credible connection, and then you've also engaged in these practices. Do you have a sense of indigeneity? Now, would you say that you feel more of that person feel to be more of that person?

Dr. Chananiah 6:55
Yeah, for sure. So, a couple a couple of things on that. One is that the time that I was writing, writing this, it's been it's been a while since I first started developing this work. It was like 10 years ago, I grew up mostly in Las Vegas. And I had just left Vegas and moved to the Bay Area. And so I was, you know, I was like, like Abraham Lech lecha , like, I left the land of my ancestors, and went out into the wilderness that I didn't know.

Dr. Chananiah 7:29
And I was in the Bay Area, I was in Berkeley in San Francisco, which is just so different from Vegas. So I was really, you know, had the opportunity, almost like from nothing starting from scratch, to reinvent myself to explore identity to get connected to the unique environment that's out there. And so, you know, over the years, I've moved a lot. And I've continued to sort of like, adapt to the different environments that I've been in.

Dr. Chananiah 7:57
So that's, that's one thing. The other thing I want to share, I'm prepared with just a couple of books. And I only quoted this one once a bit. But nature and the human soul, by Bill Plotkin, has been huge. For me, I at first, I didn't understand a lot of my experience. And then when I read this book, I did much more. And he talks about eco awakening, how many of us have this experience of awakening to the natural world, and in hindsight, that is what I, what happened to me, when I was on my parent's balcony, or even taking the trash out, at night, in my little suburban community. And just seeing the vastness of the sky, there was an eco awakening.

Dr. Chananiah 8:40
And Plotkin talks about talks about how that's sort of the first step in coming to terms with our own unique soul experience. And he really talks about how getting connected, connected to nature is essential in getting connected to our he calls it soul or mythopoetic, unique eco niche. And so yeah, over over the last 10 years, through my exploration of, of nature and psyche, I do feel like I have really gotten kind of clear about who I am. And I'm still discovering that. And, you know, the last thing I'll say about that, and again, Plotkin talks about how there's certain kind of tasks of each part of our lives that we need to meet.

Dr. Chananiah 9:32
And really, that middle childhood, from, like, age four or five, when we sort of develop our ego selves. through puberty, it's really important to have a connection to the natural world, and I really didn't. And so it was at age 2728, when I kind of filled in that gap and a big part of that, for me, was getting involved with wilderness Torah and mentoring these 11 and 12 year olds, and even though I was you know, More than twice their age and I was a mentor for them.

Dr. Chananiah 10:02
On some level, I was on the same journey of connection to nature with them. And I was really intimidated when I first started going camping and getting myself just real vulnerable in the wilderness, and just the impact, the positive impact that had on my psyche is tremendous.

Chris Searles 10:26
Okay, Marcus, I want to pass that over to you. Because, you know, there's so much going on in this conversation, but the sort of one of the struggles, that leads to what I hear you saying about being Black, in this (American) culture, and what Pesach just said this, this experience of being in wilderness in nature, engaging with kids, as a mentor, and all that led into if I'm Quoting you correctly, Pesach , paraphrasing, you got a stronger sense of your own identity, you feel stronger in yourself now.

Chris Searles 10:57
Pesach is nodding,

Chris Searles 10:58
And so Marcus, we talked earlier a few days ago, you're talking about one of your kids calling you from college or whatever, and telling you how he's managing this really rough situation. And I when I you know, when you talk about that, to me, I hear you talking about these kids have developed life skills, through this stronger sense of identity through the relationships through the process, all the stuff that you're about.

Mr. Kar 11:22
It's funny, you know, like, just just to connect, you know, what you said previously, is, it's funny, the dynamic here is that the impact of major on anyone from every different walks is the same. If you're really there is no, your experiences in nature is exactly what I'm aiming to do here in North Minneapolis is balanced out the benefits of nature, because that balance has been tilted. Right. So my kids are learning how to feel their feelings in green spaces, how to really process what's happening to them instead of reacting, right. Whereas you're talking about going camping, and you love being outside and stuff.

Mr. Kar 12:16
But I know enough kids and black people in this neighborhood that would not go camping, right because of their fear of what would happen if they go camping. And we're not talking about what would happen because of nature. But what would happen because of humans, the invasive species. For them, there is some trauma, being alone and isolated. And I'm trying to get rid of that way of thinking not by moving physically. But by being still here and creating version of nature, there's organic patterns in nature. And I gotta tell you, while there are like different approaches, they all have the same meaning. And I appreciate you sharing that experience growing up. And when you talk about, you know, feeling stronger as an adult.

Mr. Kar 13:12
And I feel like I've always been an indigenous person, because I was raised in my mother's house. Even though I was raised in America, I had to go home. So what was happening out in the world didn't matter, because my mom had installed in me that need to have respect and you know, come home and a certain time and eat certain food, she cooked a certain food, she taught me how to cook. Kids don't know where their fries come from these days. And what we're doing is trying to give them the tools needed to actually process these things and learn how to grow everything.

Mr. Kar 13:47
So the questions posed to them is like, what can you grow? Most people name plants and foods and this and that. But really, the ones that are really thinking will tell you relationships, community possibilities, every thing. And that's what I'm aiming to do here is use food as a tool to create social change in my immediate environment. And I appreciate the opportunity to be able to share that with you guys.

Mr. Kar 14:19
And I hope whoever watches this talk and really tried to see that while we're two from two different places, and two different people were really the same in a lot of ways. And I appreciate the fact that I had opportunity to meet you. Because I'm hoping we can build and grow from here.

Dr. Chananiah 14:39
Amen! Yeah!

Mr. Kar 14:41
somewhere sometime, you know, play some music or whatever. I got you and thank you for this opportunity, Chris. Yeah, thank you.

Dr. Chananiah 14:54
Thank you so much, Chris and Marcus and for your help, Katie. I love I'm in Vegas, Chris. So you're in Austin, right? And Marcus, you're in Minneapolis. And so we're all all over the country, really? And maybe maybe at some point we meet in person, and do exactly what you said, Yeah,

Mr. Kar 15:11
let's go to all the places

Dr. Chananiah 15:14
Right. Love it.

Chris Searles 15:16
That sounds great!. Yeah. Until then , we Zoom.

Chris Searles 15:20
I'll wrap this up real fast guys by saying thank you again to both of you. And again, to the listening people out there:

Chris Searles 15:28
This content and these two gentlemen came to me through the all creation project, I was editor of the most recent issue called envisioning transformation. And so you can go to, you can read Pesachs paper, and listen to Marcus more in depth in his interview,

Chris Searles 15:46
I just really encourage you to do that and get on board with this fuller life experience we're having through finding our connectedness to nature in new ways that I know I didn't start my life out thinking was available as a person raised in Christian culture.

Chris Searles 16:00
And I'm excited about this new era of connection for people of faith, people of self-defined outlook, people who are anti faith, or whatever, I think this, this Teshuvah and this Reconnection, and all these things that we're seeing in the work and in the academics, I think this is for everyone.

Chris Searles 16:21
Pesach, you rocked it, you really changed the world with this paper. Marcus, you're changing the world, every moment with these kids. And I sure hope we get a chance to interview you guys more because you really are two of the best leaders we have.

Chris Searles 16:36
So thanks again. Appreciate you too, and everybody else. Thanks for listening and tuning in. We'll see you next time.