A few weeks ago online, Voices in Leadership students learned about the virtue of resourcefulness from “Aishes Chayil” (a famous poem about the Jewish “Woman of Valor,” composed by King Solomon) in-depth. After making a garment, we are told, she doesn’t cast away the excess fabric, but gives a new life to the material, creating a beautiful sash from it with which she supplies the merchant. Girls in turn exchanged tips for innovation and conservation in daily living – a tool to help us, as Jewish women, actualize a holier, healthier and more mindful environment. We hope you will enjoy fragments of their lively conversation, as well as gain some great new ideas. Do you have any advice for how to create a resourceful lifestyle? Please share in the comments below!
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Nechama Laber: What are some tips you all have for resourcefulness?
Chaya Gurevitz: My brothers keep their leftover snacks in their lockers,and everyone calls it “the vending machine.”
Tzipporah: Lol, Chaya.
Bluma B.: My family and I always get clothes from thrift stores or family.
Chaya Gurevitz: I keep mine in my lunch box, and whenever my friends are hungry they go, “Chaya, do you have anything to eat?” :)
Nechama Laber: Does anyone cook with their Shabbos leftovers?
Temima Rocklin: I do if there are leftovers.
Zissy Gelbman: Not me.
Chaya Gurevitz: Depends what we ate on Shabbos.
Yael: I don’t.
Bluma.B: My aunt and I went to a thrift store once and she found a brand new rain coat worth four hundred dollars and she bought it for two hundred; and I found really expensive clothes for less than five dollars.
Zissy Gelbman: Recycle!
Yael: Box tops.
Zissy Gelbman: Box tops.
Chaya Gurevitz: Go freezer diving: Go through your freezer and make dinner from whats in there, instead of going to the store.
Zissy Gelbman: My friend gives their potato peels to their chickens.
Yael: In my school we eat oranges, bananas and apples [and they] go in the compost. We have like a big turning thing and it turns them to soil.
Tzipporah: It’s a tradition in our family to make “leftover soup” (from lots of different leftovers – you know, “everything but the kitchen sink”).
Temima Rocklin: Instead of throwing out old clothes, save the fabric to sew new things.
Rachael Tahir: Keep using things even when they seem broken; some crayons and pencils are better when they completely broken because you can use to make other things. Like broken crayons can be melted to make candles
Yael: My school is very big on compost.
Zissy Gelbman: We make chicken salads out of leftover chicken.
Malkie Peiser: To save money in the past I’ve made Purim costumes from scratch and look at it as a fun art project. We would buy a dress and I would decorate it by hand using paint and glitter glue.
Tzipporah: Chicken… Cut up cubes of soup chicken and make salad; grind it up and make ‘meatballs.’
Tzipporah: I also learned eggs shells (in compost).
Bluma B.: I went to a camp/family friend’s house, and there were twelve girls and in two weeks we had a small bag of plastic, like the kind of bag you get at Giant Eagle. We had only a tiny bag of plastic. And that plastic was from the plastic bottles and stuff that the other girls brought. Most people have one to seven big garbage bags a week. They reused food scraps for the chickens and we washed the same dishes three times a day. It takes about twenty to thirty minutes to wash all the dishes but it took me ten to fifteen.
Temima Rocklin: Instead of throwing out old or too-small clothes, save the fabric to make new things.
Bluma B.: My aunt reuses Shabbat chicken into a chicken pot pie.
Bluma B.: And I’m making my younger sisters Purim costumes, so I’m busy.
Malkie Peiser: Yep, we would get the dresses at Goodwill.
Chaya Coates: My mother uses egg shells for art.
Tzipporah: Oh, here’s a tip (but not for chicken): Take scrap paper and old documents you no longer need, and shred them; then you can use them for safely packing fragile objects.
Zissy Gelbman: We’re having a school play this coming week and I’m making props for the play; we’re basically using all of my friends’ grocery boxes to make props.
Zissy Gelbman: We collect all the water bottles in school. Everyone brings at least one bottle a day, so there’s a lot of bottles and then we donate the money to the school!
Chaya Gurevitz: I have to do a whole report about going green for English class.
Tzipporah: There is an awesome book, called Who Knew? that is full of hundreds of ideas for resourceful, creative ideas every day. I highly recommend it.
Bluma B.: The way we washed dishes was that we had three bins of water. One was to rinse; the second one was hot soapy water; and the third was hot water. So it was rinse, wash, rinse, boom. You save water and it’s faster.
Chaya Gurevitz: I love checking in the freezer and making stir-fry or something.
Chaya Coates: Bluma, sounds like a school here – two year-olds do dishes.
Chaya Gurevitz: Saving money=having more money=more money you can use for Mitzvos.
Temima Rocklin: We should not waste all the wonderful things that Hashem gave us.
Chaya Gurevitz: I have almost never washed dishes in my life.
Tzipporah: A holy home is a healthy home; in very mundane, physical ways, we make our home beautiful and orderly for Hashem – after all, it’s really HIS house! :)
Yael: My parents love Montessori, so when I was young I went to a Montessori school and we learned how to wash dishes and sweep the floor and stuff like that.
Chaya Gurevitz: That’s cool, Yael.
Tzipporah: Use water which you boiled pasta or potatoes in to water plants; supposedly, the starch is good for them! A pot less wasted, too.
Tzipporah: Has anyone seen how people mop the floors in Israel? That’s one vivid memory I have from our trip two years ago. You’ll see people dumping buckets of water that were used for something else but clean enough to clean the floor; maybe there are drains in some floors, but also if they are non-absorbent, you’ll often see people sweeping the water outside!
Chaya Gurevitz: So after Weaving the Tapestry we can write about how to be a resourceful Eishes Chayil. :)
Bluma B.: And also, they didn’t have a toilet – the camp. We had a bucket and a toilet seat, and when the bucket was full we dumped it in this thing and it makes compost. It was fun
Tzipporah: Good Housekeeping: Aishes Chayil Edition. ;)
Temima Rocklin: What camp? It sounds amazing.
Bluma B.: It is… umm… I forget what it’s called. And I got to sleep outside, it was sooo fun!
Chaya Gurevitz: I love nature, but from a distance.
Bluma B.: Some girls were like, “Eww, disgusting!” I’m like, “Heaven!!”
Chaya Gurevitz: I would not really want to go to that camp
Bluma B.: I learned how to fix a closed toilet when I was like six.
Yael: I’m the oldest so I have to help out a lot, and my mom was sick and my brother for a whole week, and I had to make lunches for my younger siblings and wash the dishes.
Tzipporah: Yasher Koach!
Malkie Peiser: This all works for me, I love wildlife and natural living in the environment.