Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales


By Rabbi Rick Sherwin

EXPLORING OR EXPLOITING – As our family enjoyed the natural aura of Bok Tower Gardens, located far away from Florida’s Interstates and tollways, I thought with sadness about America’s shrinking National Parks, our dismissing the significance of climate change and rampant profit-minded exploitation of natural resources.

A young man recently pointed to the text in Genesis and asked, “What does it mean when God charges Adam to subdue the earth? Does that mean we can do with the earth whatever we want?” I smiled and shared with him the text telling us that God placed Adam in the garden לעובדה ולשומרה, to work it and to safeguard it.

We work the land to provide food and shelter, and to benefit the basic needs of humanity; at the same time, we safeguard the natural beauty of the land without exploiting resources. Yes, we need more oil and materials to benefit companies who employ people. We also need the sense of appreciation that acknowledges our responsibility of stewardship and prevents us from taking the world’s natural wonders for granted.

Writing in 1951, Abraham Joshua Heschel offers us a very contemporary insight: As civilization advances, the sense of wonder declines. Such decline is an alarming symptom of our state of mind. We will not perish for want of information, but only for want of appreciation.


Rabbi Rick Sherwin, a graduate of UCLA, was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. Rabbi Rick’s passion is filling spiritual services and interfaith educational programs with creativity, relevance, dialogue, and humor.


  1. Yes rabbi, Bok Tower Gardens is a beautiful and special place. I love going there. It is sad that there are those in power, federally, statewide, and locally, who do not appreciate and defend our public lands and National Parks for future generations of our young people to enjoy like we did. Treasures, right under our noses, more valuable than gold, but they like the gold better, as it is all about just how much money $$$$$$$ they can extract from the park lands and other public lands. The pirating of our assets, the robbing and raping our natural resources, and the destroying of God’s creation…..also the slaughtering of wild burros and horses that have been around ages on our public lands, set aside through acts of Congress for them to remain there, and ignoring those laws and removing them and sending them to slaughter!

  2. Today riding on Poncan Road heading west past the NOCIA building and grounds, right past there on the same side, the right side, I saw the most beautiful large camellia bushes in full bloom. First there were some at an entrance to someone’s place, and then further on down the road a little ways, were lots and lots of large camellia bushes planted along inside a fenced in area, that was so beautiful to see with all the blooms on them here at Christmas time! I have been by there so many times, and knew they were camellia bushes, but they were not in bloom then. They are so pretty!

  3. Today we found a ring in a parking lot. We want the ring to be reunited with its rightful owner, who apparently lost it. We have reason to believe that the ring probably is of sentimental value to someone. If you lost a ring, here in this area lately, then write on this website, the Apopka Voice, not the Apopka Voice Facebook, so I can communicate with you, here on this website, the Apopka Voice, as I do not have a facebook account. Write me and tell me the description of the ring you lost. If it sounds to us, like your ring that you lost, we will make arrangements to return the ring to you, we found. And if you lost another ring, that is not this ring, and it does not sound like the description of your ring at all, then well, at least, we tried, and we will decline giving you the ring…..let me know, and write me, via this website, if you did lose a ring recently in this area. It possibly could be the ring you lost.

  4. We are just finishing up our Christmas Eve dinner at home. I am stuffed. I cooked for us, rather than head out to the restaurants, and wasn’t really sure what was open anyway. Tomorrow I have got a few other things to cook, to add with what we already have ready. A long long time ago when both my parents were still living, the day after Christmas was always reserved for us to go to Cocoa and fish off the pier, or over to Daytona and fish off the pier. One time I almost froze to death it was so cold! We caught the fish though! I kept drinking hot chocolate and I was so cold I think half of the drink, splashed out of the mug, from my chills and shaking. It was windy out there too on that one particular day I remember so well… husband to be, was there then too, he remembers…..

  5. After my dad died, we started fishing with my husband’s parents. Speck fishing around here all the time, and on the day after Thanksgiving, and other times often heading to the coast to saltwater fish from the bridges, or going to around Cocoa area, and salt water fishing. Plus bass fishing at the local lakes routinely.

  6. My father- in- law taught me how to throw a cast net. We went crabbing too, lowering little wire traps tied with chicken necks in the middle of the traps, and would wait and pull them up, and have several blue crabs and this went on and on until we had a lot of them. You could see lots of crabs swimming across the surface of the water. They liked to eat them, but I didn’t like the taste of them at all. Most of the time they used them as bait to catch reds and drums. I have never been a big seafood person, but my husband loves seafood, as well as my father, who loved seafood, and my father- in- law did too. I did like drum and flounder, but NO NO NO to mullet. The absolute worst tasting fish I ever had! Smoked mullet are not for me!!! Looking back it is funny to me, that my daddy, my father-in-law, and my husband, were or are, a lot alike.

  7. I also enjoyed going out at night boating the river down near Cocoa, not sure, if it was the Banana River or the Indian River, just not sure, but it was fun!

  8. Before I moved here to Florida I used to go fishing my daddy at the river, out on the huge boulder rocks that were there, and fished for carp. The water was extremely deep, and he used a homemade dough recipe and made dough balls that he baited on the hooks. It had cotton, flour, water, molasses, and maybe some corn meal, I am not sure, it was ages ago, but I made it for my daddy to fish with, as he taught me how to make the dough, to fish the bottom of the river. He caught some big carp that had the biggest scales on them!

  9. It is really hard to catch fish over at the coast now days. I think it is due to the mile long nets they have out there everywhere. Wiping out all the fish! Plus the pollution that seems to have increased all spilling into the ocean waters. I really have to wonder what is store, for our oceans in the future.

  10. Did you all hear about that wreck where two semis were involved and one truck had live fish that spilled out all over the highway and cars were running over the fish, as they flapped around making a slimy mess. Not exactly the drivers’ fault, that were approaching the wreck, as you don’t expect live fish to be out there in the roadways. They were tilapia. I wonder where those live tilapia fish were heading? They never said in the news???? This was on the I-4 eastbound in Orlando on Friday.


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