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Esther's Garden Award $2,400 Grant

08/26/2019 02:26:50 PM


This past Spring, a group of volunteers from the Native American community throughout Wasatch front, led by Sahar Khadjenoury and Utah Diné Bikéyah (Defenders of the Bears Ears monument), came together at Esther’s Garden and built the initial phase of an Indigenous garden space. The demonstration project caught the attention of many in the Utah Permaculture Gardening community.

Consequently, Esther’s Garden was recently awarded a $2,400 grant as it became recognized by SLC Air Protectors as a Sovereignty Hub. SLC Air Protectors is a local grassroots non-profit organization focused on action oriented environmental protections. The SLC Air Protectors Neighborhood Sovereignty Program identified Esther’s Garden as one of the program’s first Sovereignty Hubs, a movement that will lead to overall resiliency of indigenous people and promote regenerative earth practices. Esther’s Garden serves in such a capacity because it is a demonstration of permacultuture gardening, homesteading and ecological land stewardship. Esther’s garden also provides education and resources to further its developments and inspires participation from surrounding communities. With the Sovereignty Hub funding the Indigenous section of Esther’s Garden will continue its production of sustainable foods but will expand to a Garden Medicine Wheel. The Garden Medicine Wheel section will be a circle approximately 66 feet in diameter and will continue from the current Indigenous garden area. The Medicine Wheel is a traditional symbol recognized by various tribes and embodies healing, spiritual and astronomical properties. The Medicine Wheel is also recognized as a symbol of hope and a movement towards healing for those who seek it.

The Medicine Wheel area at Esther’s Garden will include sections that house traditional plants from tribes throughout the Southwest including Corn, Squash, Beans, a variety of melons and peppers. Other plants will include indigenous medicines and herbs such as Navajo Tea, sweet grass, sage and others. Because Esther’s Garden serves with the goal towards building community, the Indigenous section serves to grow foods and medicines unique to the first nations of this continent and provide a teaching opportunity for all to learn from each other. Having the indigenous section will continue to bring various communities throughout the region to Esther’s Garden to share cultural, traditional and spiritual ways with each other. 

Visit to learn more and remember to like and follow Esther’s Garden Salt Lake on Facebook and Instagram.

Jewish and Latter-day Saint scholars just had an interfaith dialogue in Jerusalem. Now they're going to publish a book.

07/08/2019 12:02:45 PM


Trent Toone

Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shakes hands with Rabbi Samuel L. Spector of Salt Lake City's Congregation Kol Ami at the BYU Jerusalem Center June 5, 2019.

SALT LAKE CITY — At the beginning of June, an event at the BYU Jerusalem Center featuring two prominent religious leaders — Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Rabbi Michael Melchior, the chief rabbi of Norway and a recognized leader in Israel — served as both a highlight and illustration of something even greater that is taking place between the two faiths.

Not only did BYU students and other invited guests listen to two insightful keynote addresses and witness firsthand a respectful interfaith dialogue between two faith leaders, but the program set the tone for other dialogues and study sessions held at the Shalom Hartman Institute, the Jerusalem campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, and Bar Ilan University for Jewish and Latter-day Saint scholars, said Rabbi Mark Diamond, a professor of Jewish studies at Loyola Marymount University, who was there.

Rabbi Diamond, along with fellow attendees Rabbi Samuel L. Spector of Utah's Congregation Kol Ami and Brent Top, who served as dean of BYU's Religious Studies Center from 2013-2018, agree that the Jewish-Latter-day Saint Academic Dialogue Project is building new bridges of common ground and friendship between the two groups.


Synagogues are now conducting active shooter drills during services

07/04/2019 08:22:55 AM


In Salt Lake City, the Utah Highway Patrol gave Congregation Kol Ami, a liberal synagogue, a briefing on security procedures. While the briefing did not include an active drill, Rabbi Samuel Spector said just having a plan in place made people feel more comfortable.

“People were saying, ‘OK, now I’m thinking about what my escape route would be,’” Spector said. “If I’m here, could I throw my siddur at the person? I think that a lot of people, at least that night, started to think about their plan.”


Utah Memorial Day observances deeply personal for many

05/28/2019 05:58:48 PM


Cantor Wendy Elizabeth Bat-Sarah of Congregation Kol Ami offered the benediction. She thanked God for numerous blessings bestowed upon the United States.

"Out of the many nations of this world our county has been blessed with a singular opportunity to demonstrate how people of many faiths and heritages can live side by side and enrich one another's lives through friendship and sharing of our unique traditions," she said.


Keeping our Synagogue Safe

05/09/2019 04:04:59 PM


Rabbi Samuel L. Spector met with Chief Brown, Deputy Chief Scharman, and the leadership of the Salt Lake City Police Department and Deputy Chief of Staff for the mayor, David Litvack on security with Rabbi Avremi Zippel of Chabad and Andrea Alcabes of the JCC on Tuesday, May 7th.

They talked about making our synagogue spaces safer and encouraged joint cooperation. We’re in great hands with SLCPD, who are committed to our safety and who have not detected any current threats.

Sun, September 22 2019 22 Elul 5779