Teva Ivri – Jewish Nature – social-environmental regeneration in Israel
"After the Holydays, all will be renewed
Regular weekdays will return, renewed,
Air, soil, rain and fire,
You too, you too
Will be renewed".
"After the Holydays, all will be renewed" – thus tells us the late Naomi Shemer, one of Israel's leading songwriters, and indeed the season of the High Holydays creates a vivid sense of a "transition period" leading to change and renewal.
Rosh Hashanah, the holiday that opens the High Holidays, marks, according to tradition, the completion of the creation of the world and of Man. On this day we crown the King of the World, and remind ourselves (again, maybe eventually we'll internalize this) that we are not masters of the universe and that we took upon ourselves the responsibility "to work the land and preserve it" – to build the world while maintaining balance and harmony within it.
It is impossible to fulfill the challenging role that we took on ourselves on Rosh Hashana alone. We can only realize our role of creation if we are part of a civilized society that lives in peace. It is for this reason that we confess on Yom Kippur in the plural (We are guilty, we have betrayed, etc.). From this we understand the saying that "Yom Kippur does not grant atonement for sins committed between a person and his or her friend until (s)he placates his/her friend." (from tractate Yoma, 8,7). Yom Kippur invites us to embark on a journey of self-healing within the community, society, nation and world in which we live.
Once we have understood our special role in this wonderful world,Once we have cleansed ourselves of our sins, such as haughtiness and baseless hatred,Once we have taken responsibility for being part of a community – whether it be a synagogue, community, nation, people.
Once we have chosen to make peace amongst ourselves, between us and our friends, us and our world,
Only then are we really ready for the holiday of Sukkot.
On Sukkot we experience true joy from the innermost place, joy that we are commanded to experience: "And you shall be joyous on this festival..and be truly happy". (Deutoronomy 16, 14-15).
On Sukkot we go back to nature from a place of humility, while we live in a temporary structure made of natural materials, bless the four species which grow naturally in our country, and spend our nights watching the stars. On Sukkot we "break down the barriers" between us and society, and bond with one another directly.
Therefore it is no wonder that by the end of Sukkot we are ready to begin the Torah anew …
May we keep up this mental state of the Sukkot holiday throughout the year, and gain renewed strength for positive action and Tikkun Olam.
And what are we in Teva Ivri renewing?
We welcome the Hebrew year תשע"ב with great happiness, looking forward to renewal and action.
Our annual conference, which took place recently, dealt with Jewish environmental education and opened up a real and meaningful discussion about the place of Judaism in education for sustainability in the country. For the conference movie.
Alongside the conference we are at the height of preparations for Shabbat Noah – a Shabbat of Jewish sustainability. To download content and materials (in Hebrew) for Shabbat Noah.
This year Teva Ivri has joined the team of writers of educational materials at the Ministry of Education, writing a workbook on the subject "Between a people and its country – connecting to our time and place". Together with this we are continuing to give teacher training sessions and workshops for parents and children.
In the field of leadership development, we are working in partnership with Bina, Ma'aglei Tzedek and the Green Environment Fund in the development of seminars for organizations who are interested in internalizing a broad view of the connection between Judaism, the environment, society and the economy.
As partners in discourse, a world Jewish leadership network, we are already thinking about the annual conference to be held in Israel, and about other initiatives to connect between Israel and the Diaspora around issues of environmental Tikun Olam.
In the community we are renewing our activities by bringing out a booklet called "Chagim U'Zmanim (Holydays) for the Environment" which is being used community centers across the country.
We invite all the members and friends of our organization to join us on our journey of implementation of Jewish sustainability. We wish ourselves a Shana Tova!
תהא שנת עשייה ברוכה