ADASR - Ancient Desert Agriculture Systems Revived - click for slide show ADASR - Ancient Desert Agriculture Systems Revived - click for slide show

Rabbi Shmuel Silinsky

Rabbi Shmuel Silinsky
Jerusalem, Israel


Ongoing Project

A Study of Source Materials on Agricultural Crop Plants and Horticultural Practices in Ancient Israel


A wide range of knowledge and experience in horticulture, Hebrew and Aramaic texts, and archaeology make a unique and effective combination.

Basic Education and Work Experience

1950 Born New Brunswick, New Jersey
1968 Graduate Highland Park High School
1972 BSc Cornell University - Agriculture with a concentration in Communication Arts. Agriculture was mainly ornamental horticulture, including soils, plant pathology, plants and man, rural sociology, etc. Also coursework in archaeology (in the Dept of History of Art and in the Classics Dept). Focus was on Old World civilizations of the eastern Mediterranean, primarily Pre-Classical such as Minoan, Mycenaean, Egyptian, etc.
1973-1979 Steven's Nursery, North Hollywood, California - head of Landscape Department
1976 UCLA additional courses including: Natural History of Desert Plants, and Herbs and Spices
1977 California Certified Nurseryman
1980-1981 Granada Plaza Pharmacy, Granada Hills, California - includes independent study in Medicinal Plants and Pharmacognocy (plant sources of medicines) with a focus on 19th and early 20th century pharmacology.
1981-2005 Aish HaTorah College of Jewish Studies, Jerusalem
1985 3 Rabbinic Ordinations including from Rabbi Kulitz OBM who was Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem
1984-2005 Instructor Aish HaTorah College of Jewish Studies
Includes courses in Biblical Studies, Mishnah, and Talmud. One of the current courses being taught is Agricultural Life in Jewish Practice. This specifically uses ancient texts and explores how situations from 2000 years ago can be applied today.

Horticulture Experience

  • Extensive independent specialty work with desert plants.

  • Member California Cactus and Succulent Society.

  • 1977-79 Work as assistant to Kathryn Mangold (Brentwood, California) with her extensive private collection of desert plants. This may have been the largest assembly of Lithops species (Living Rocks) in the United States. Many of the unique specimens were grown from seed collected in the Karoo Deserts of South Africa and Namibia.

  • Compiled and maintained a checklist of landscape plants for the California's Medium and High Desert.

  • Extensive work experience with landscape design and installation in the high desert including a motel complex in Yucca Valley, California and a number of private residences Joshua Tree, California.

  • Kept as a hobby a personal collection of cacti and succulents for many years, including many rare and unusual specimens. Includes independent research on the uses of the plants by native peoples. Many American species were observed during frequent field trips.
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