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Bubbe’s Bees

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Clifton–This year, in the Esther & Sam Schwartz building (Miriam Apartments II) at Daughters of Miriam Center/The Gallen Institute in Clifton, wishes were especially sweet for residents when accompanied by a jar of honey harvested from their own roof-top beehives.

Bubbe’s Bees, a program that is new this year, had bee hives installed in on the roof last spring. The sweet gift from its first harvest was shared with tenants, and the board of trustees of the Center, who whole-heartedly supported this innovative program.

There are many flowers on the 13-acres of the Center’s grounds and there are many local gardens, so the roof of the Esther and Sam Schwartz Building is an ideal spot for honey bees who range up to two miles in their quest for nectar. In addition to providing honey for the tenants and board members, the bees offer a great benefit to gardeners in the area as they assist in pollination. Tenants can also enjoy watching these fascinating insects at work on monitors connected to a roof-top webcam.

The tradition of dipping apples and challah in honey has long been a part of Rosh Hashanah celebrations. In ancient Israel, honey represented good living and wealth, one of the reasons Israel itself is dubbed the “land of milk and honey.” Honey cakes, often served on the holiday, are another expression of the desire for a sweet year. Bubbe’s Bees brings a new dimension to all of these traditions for tenants who have watched the hive on their very own roof.

The hives are maintained by Joe Lelinho and Eric Hanan of Bee Bold Apiaries. Joe had been maintaining his own hives for many years when he met Eric at a demonstration. After working together to set up Eric’s hives, they considered becoming partners, but it wasn’t until Joe was contacted by the executive chef at the Hyatt Regency in Jersey City that the partnership became a reality. Bee Bold Apiaries was born when the Hyatt decided that the best way to get local honey was to maintain its own hives. Since then, Joe and Eric have worked together installing and maintaining hives for businesses, non-profits, and educational organizations throughout Northern New Jersey and New York City.

For Daughters of Miriam Center, installing the hives was a natural fit. Being able to provide an educational experience for the tenants as well as reaping the practical bounty of the honey while also doing something that benefits the wider community, is directly in keeping with the Center’s mission. The recent decline in the honey bee population has become an international concern and every hive has become important. The hives on the roof of Miriam Apartments II have survived, and thrived, producing a larger harvest than initially anticipated.

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