We spoke with Jared Kaminsky, Interim Managing Director at Shoresh. We found out the best and most challenging parts of fundraising, what question he asks himself before he makes any decision, and the systems he has in place for when his brain fails him.
You’re a self-proclaimed shameless idealist. What does that mean to you, and have you always been this way?
I consider “shameless idealism” part of my decision making process. I start out by reflecting on, “What is best for my family, community, and the earth?” This may apply to small everyday things, like getting to work or buying clothes. I also recognize my privilege to even have options in the first place. But, I do have the capacity and strive to be a conscious citizen, professional, neighbour, son, and husband doing my part to make positive change in the world. The excuse, “I am too busy” just means it’s not a priority. It’s been a constant evolution channeling towards food justice, food security, and environmental ethics.
What excites you most about Shoresh?
Shoresh draws on Jewish texts and traditions to inspire and empower our community to act as responsible stewards of the environment. In a big city like Toronto, green spaces are limited. I love that Shoresh offers the opportunity for the community to get out into nature, tend our gardens, hike ravines, and harvest honey at our farm. These are really important, transformative experiences that I am excited to help make possible.
Does your work keep you mostly behind a desk, in a garden, or somewhere else?
I’m the guy behind the desk making sure all the back-end systems are operational. I have made my desk a place where I’m happy and productive. My desk faces the window, has a stand up option, and is fully equipped with a white board for brainstorming, a tea cupboard, and healthy snacks to keep me fueled. Occasionally, I’ll have the opportunity to be in the field, literally, with our team composting, building, planting etc. We prescribe to the permaculture approach of minimal intervention and letting nature be our guide. This still requires some maintenance and overseeing. So, when I’m not in the office, I may be found at Bela Farm in the apiary, reforestation zone, and wildflower pastures or tending the Kavanah Community Garden. (We love to hear about your healthy workspace! Here’s how we try to keep our office clean and healthy!)
Is fundraising fun, or is it hard work?
It’s both fun and hard work. I enjoy creating relationships with donors, learning about their lives, and what they care about. I have met some amazing people who have done incredible things. It’s also hard work. When someone attends an event, they see the finished product. They don’t see the negotiations, data entry, payment processing, and the million other things that go into it.
We loved working with you on Taking Root last year. What is the most challenging part of producing an event?
I loved working with you too!! I have learned so much from Borden Communications. Your team works hard, and smart. It’s not about any one of us individually; it’s about teamwork and the collective goal. The most challenging part of organizing a massive event is holding the little details. It is critical to be detailed oriented and come up with the systems that allow you to stay on top of EVERYTHING. I navigated this challenge by not trusting my brain to remember it all, and instead input everything into spreadsheets.
Shoresh is the Hebrew word for “root”. What helps you feel grounded and connected to your roots?
Nature connects me to my roots. When I’m hiking, biking, walking in the forest I feel most alive and rejuvenated. We’re all just a bunch of animals walking on and living off the land. It’s easy to forget that in the city. Family also connects me to my roots. I’m undertaking a project with my grandfather where we are plotting our family tree on ancestry.com.
Who is your hero?
My grandfather is my hero! He is a very progressive, forward thinking medical doctor. At the age of 80, he is lecturing university students on incorporating technology into medicine. He taught me to play chess, and how to treat people with respect and dignity. I strive to be the caring compassionate and ambitious person he is.
What is your favourite way to enjoy honey?
Taking a bite out of a honeycomb straight from the hive. The wax is like gum, which you can swallow or spit out. It’s supposed to bind and eliminate toxins in your body if you swallow it.
How can we help Shoresh do even more good?
Glad you asked! Support our work through a monetary donation towards our award winning programs, or by sponsoring the planting of native trees in honour or in memory of loves ones. Also, sign up for our newsletter, see what we are up to, and come play with us in nature!