Yossi Kuttler, 28, is everyone’s favorite Jewish farmer in Baltimore.
After growing up in Pikesville and graduating from Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School, Kuttler served in the Israeli army as a paratrooper. Now, he works as a land steward, or farmer, at Pearlstone. Next year, Kuttler plans to move to Israel and continue making an impact there.
He currently lives in Pikesville and attends Pikesville Jewish Congregation.
How did you hear about your job at Pearlstone?
I really liked being outside. I could never really see myself working in an office. I like doing outdoor work. I’ve done a few jobs around the country doing some natural building and some farming. Now I found myself back in Baltimore and I get to do farming and natural building at Pearlstone, which is great.
When you move to Israel, do you hope to continue farming?
Definitely. I feel like there’s a deeper meaning to farming. As a Jew in Israel and then outside of Israel, when you read the Torah and our scripture, all the plants that they talk about connect us to the land of Israel and the plants in Israel. I’m excited to be able to farm as a Jew in the land of Israel, and it’ll be very meaningful to get to build a relationship with those plants and with our land.
Why did you decide to join the Israel Defense Forces?
I felt a deep privilege to be a Jew in our day and age where we have a state of Israel. Our ancestors for 2000 years didn’t have [a country]. They dreamed of a country where we could defend ourselves and live Jewish lives freely. It felt very important to me, when I look back on my life, to be able to say that I used that amazing opportunity that we have in nature. I’m planning on moving back to Israel next year. My brother and dad both live there now and I definitely see a very deep connection to Israel.
Do you feel like your time at Beth Tfiloh contributed to your desire to serve in the IDF?
Yeah, absolutely. I actually decided to join the army on our senior trip to Israel. I was enrolled at University of Maryland’s business school. Then on our senior class trip, I was talking a lot with my friend, and he already knew he wanted to serve. That opened my eyes for the first time to the possibility. I started considering pros and cons, and all I saw were really good reasons to join the army.
How would you describe your relationship with Judaism?
At my core, being Jewish is who I am. I feel a deep connection to my ancestors and to the land of Israel. The religion informs how I live my life and how I live it as a farmer. One thing we’re able to do at Pearlstone that’s great is every week we’re able to donate some fresh produce to Ahavas Yisrael, which is a Jewish food bank in Pikesville. It feels really meaningful to be able to contribute to the community and grow fresh food for people who need it. Being Jewish is just very deeply embedded in me from how I was raised.
What is your connection to Baltimore?
I find the Jewish community to be an amazing community. I’ve gone back to Beth Tfiloh, and I’m helping now as an assistant coach for the junior varsity boys’ basketball team. I have very warm feelings for the community and am very appreciative of how they raised me. I think that there’s some amazing people in the infrastructure that exists in the community to do a lot of good.
Outside of work, what do you do for fun?
I like to write. I published a novel … last year. I’m also working with a couple friends on producing a podcast called “Call Your Bubby” where we interview people from our grandparent’s generation and get their wisdom to bridge the generational gap and share people’s life stories that they have.