County Synagogue to Tackle Invasive Plants

One local Rabbi is  leading his synagogue in taking on a topic that they haven’t tackled before – weeds.


Rabbi Uri Topolosky of the Beth Joshua Congregation is fed up with invasive plants and decided to take them into his own hands, organizing an upcoming discussion that will bring the topic to the community.

On Jan. 19 at 3 p.m., the congregation will observe the Jewish New Year of the Trees celebration with a special program entitled “Save Our Trees: Discover and Destroy Invasive Plant Species.”

The synagogue has teamed up with local Boy Scout Troop 613 and Cub Scout Pack 452, both Jewish scouting groups, as well as with the county sanctioned “Weed Warriors” to learn about invasive plant species damaging forests and parks.

“This program is about investing our religious holiday with modern, local meaning,” said Rabbi Topolosky, who recently moved to Rockville with his family from New Orleans to begin serving as the new Rabbi of the Beth Joshua Congregation.

“We found a beautiful home nestled just above Rock Creek Park and were thrilled by the location and the natural beauty surrounding us. But I was also surprised by the tremendous overgrowth of weeds and vines that are killing many of the trees, including two in our own backyard. These trees are now posing a danger to our family and our home, so I started to explore more about how these invasive plants might impact our area,” he said.

The program is intended as a “parent-child” event and the synagogue is hopeful that will inspire others to get involved in the fight against invasive plants.

“Much like people take responsibility for keep a stretch of highway clean, we all feel a responsibility for our larger “home,” Rabbi Topolosky said.

Find more information about the program and the Beth Joshua Congregation here.

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Valerie Bonk

About Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk is a multimedia reporter and community engagement specialist with Montgomery Community Media (MCM).


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