65 results for author: Evonne Marzouk


Growing Torah for Adults and Children in the Orthodox Community: Two Orthodox Environmental Organizations Merge to Maximize Impact

GrowTorah and Canfei Nesharim, two Torah-based environmental non-profit organizations, have merged into one entity, effective Dec. 10, to strengthen their combined efforts and maximize their impact within the Orthodox Jewish community.

Your One Vote Can Make Israel Greener

Recently, I've been more focused on teaching my baby to crawl than the state of the environment in Israel.   But even for us moms living inside the family bubble, there's a world out there that sometimes needs our attention. That's why I am proud to be part of the Green Israel slate for elections of the World Zionist Congress.  If you care about the environment in Israel and have not yet voted in the election, your vote can make a difference in a greener Israel.  You can vote here: https://myvoteourisrael.com/ The vote costs $10, which pays for the cost of the election only.  All Jews are eligible to vote.  The election ends on April ...

The Tu b’Shevat After

When you are a Jewish environmentalist taking a break from the Jewish environmental world, you sometimes feel like you're in your own personal exile.  It's self-imposed, of course.  I suspect that I'd be welcomed if I tried to engage myself.  But I also know that I need this time.  (And when I forget, I keep getting reminders.) So I keep reminding myself - and being reminded - to step back.  Step away.  Wait until the time is right. And then the month of Shevat came.  And while I've enjoyed not running around to lead seders, not rushing to prepare and post articles or send out free haggadot or prepare my own community talks... I ...

Adventures in Being “So Kind”

Register. There it was on my list of pre-baby things to do. I had the feeling that people would want to buy things for us, and I knew they’d be asking if we had a registry. Setting one up seemed like the proper thing to do. It would help everyone know what we needed. But the truth was, we didn’t need all that much. We had saved bags of clothing, toys and other baby gear from our older son. And we live in a generous community where neighbors had already given or lent us key things like a carseat, a baby swing, a jogging stroller and our choice of baby carriers. And setting aside need, we didn’t really want ...

Know When to Go

In March 2014, Canfei Nesharim announced that I would conclude my current relationship with the organization. This posting attempts to explain how I came to this momentous decision, and what I’m hoping for in the future. It began in trickles, in private thoughts that I thought I could never share. It began with wondering: where do I want to be in ten years? If I continue the way I’m going, will I end up there? It began with wondering if there might be more that I could do, if I had the courage to make a move. And for a time, those thoughts remained so secret I was embarrassed even to say them out loud. ...

Speaking Out Faithfully: A Green Sheep Webinar from Interfaith Power and Light

On Thursday night, April 24, I had the privilege of participating in the Green Sheep Webinar for the Interfaith Power & Light chapter in my region (DC, MD, NoVA). The theme of the webinar was “Speaking Out, Faithfully,” and -- consistent with our Year of Jewish Policy Engagement on the Environment -- the focus was on raising our voices together as people of faith to make a difference in environmental advocacy. One of the lovely things about being on an interfaith webinar is getting to interact with a group of people with shared values and different perspectives. I felt honored to be able to participate and share about my ...

And on Day Eight of Creation, We Advocated for Change…

This year, my attention is on the power of advocacy and the opportunity for us to make a difference, as a Jewish community, in environmental policy. After spending a year with Jewcology and Canfei Nesharim focusing my attention on Jewish learning on the environment, and a second year focusing on action, I’ve come to understand that real change also requires a third piece: joining with others as citizens to make a difference. That is why, this year, we’re focusing on a Year of Jewish Policy Engagement on the Environment. We are blessed to live in a democracy like the United States, which gives us the power to influence our politicians by our ...

Proud to be part of the 6th Annual Pearlstone Beit Midrash!

I am proud to be a presenter and to serve on the Advisory Committee for this conference! I hope to see you there. 6th Annual Beit Midrash Retreat Mar 7-9, 2014 – Pearlstone Center Breishit: A Journey through Creation Join us for an inspirational Shabbaton weekend filled with Jewish learning, communal prayer and groundbreaking thought. Be a part of an intergenerational, pluralistic community of Jewish farmers, rabbis, educators and scholars from across the country for an in-depth exploration of creation, one day at a time, using traditional texts to uncover contemporary issues and values. Includes comprehensive children's ...

Chanukah and its Wrappings

When I was a kid, my parents gave me Chanukah presents each night. I know that many people don't do it that way. They consider it the height of consumerism to give out eight gifts, one every night. But it's how I grew up and it's precious to me. I'm an only child, and the nights of Chanukah were a special and intimate time with both of my parents. My father would like the Chanukah candles, proud to say the blessing. We would often play dreydl and eat potato latkes. And of course, the presents. It wasn't so much about what was in the wrapping. Some of the Chanukah presents would be small, inexpensive things like a ...

Honoring the Vera Lieber Memorial Garden

My local Orthodox Jewish day school, the Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy, has been on a green roll. It’s especially inspiring because it doesn’t seem like just one person has been pushing it. It’s more like a group of people slowly came to the same conclusion, that there should be more environmental awareness, and they have all be acting on their own to bring green consciousness to the school and the students. For all of these actions, the school was recognized this year with a Bethesda Magazine Green Award. It’s the kind of thing that makes you proud. I especially wanted to share about a recent event ...

In Memory of Jonah Meadows Adels

Observing my own year of mourning has made me more attuned to others’ sadness. More attuned to the requests for prayers, to the losses of my friends and neighbors. I’ve been sending more condolence notes and attending more shivas. Noticing the other mourners saying Kaddish. I don’t think it’s really that there is more loss around me; I just think that my antenna is up. It’s also made me more aware of the different kinds of sadness. My next door neighbor, who lost her mother at age 90, told me that her loss was sad but that my loss of my mother at 66 was “tragic.” Maybe. It ...

Life is like a Silverware Box? A Wish for the New Year

In the month after my mother died, I suddenly looked around at my house and saw certain things that were just unacceptable to me. Things that I felt my mother was being polite about. She rarely judged things in my house; she had come to the conclusion that I had to learn to live my own life. But after she was gone, I found I could no longer live with certain things. I suddenly found my silverware box unbearable. It was the blue felt piece that it came in originally, the one that basically wrapped the silverware in a blue snuggy, with slots for the silverware to sit in, and a kind of zippered blanket covering and protecting ...

How much difference is enough?

Back in the spring, I wrote a blog post saying that I wasn’t trying to save the world right now. As I’ve been pondering how to get back into the work of saving the world, I’ve bumped up against a big problem. If I’m going to try to save the world, I don’t think I can be satisfied until the whole wide world is fixed. I’ve always thought that was virtuous, but now I’m realizing it might simply be a recipe for banging my head against a wall. Here are some of the numerous environmental problems that I’ve recently confronted: Prenatal Exposure to Pollution Raises Risk of ...

Diary of a (Not Quite So) Young Leader at ROI

From June 9 to June 13, I had the great privilege of participating for the third time in the annual ROI Summit, a gathering of 150 young Jewish innovators from around the world. The ROI Summit is the entry point into the ROI community, an ongoing resource for young Jewish innovators through regular gatherings, professional development opportunities and microgrants. The ROI Community includes nearly 1,000 members in 56 countries, and has already distributed over $400,000 in grants to its members. Below is an excerpt of my diary from my week in Jerusalem with ROI. DAY 1, SUNDAY I hope I’m not the oldest person here. As one of 30 ...

Join the 2013 Battle of the Buildings with ENERGY STAR!

Did you know? According to ENERGY STAR (www.energystar.gov/congregations), most congregations can cut energy costs by up to 30% by investing strategically in efficient equipment, facility upgrades and maintenance. It's the perfect program for your congregation to join as part of the Year of Action. With free information and technical support from ENERGY STAR, your synagogue can improve stewardship of your energy and save money which can be used for more important congregation needs. Registration is now open for the 2013 ENERGY STAR National Building Competition: Battle of the Buildings. Sign up by May 31 to compete and promote ...

Learning to Plant

On Sunday, I planted my first garden. We planted it in a little corner of our back yard, where we hope the sun will be strong enough and the fence will keep out the deer. It's a garden built on hope. I’m not a gardener. When I was a kid, my mother (a teacher) would keep plants on her windowsill all year long, and when they were wilting would give them to a co-worker to nurse them back to health over the summer. She would say things like “I don’t have a green thumb,” and my experience showed the same – whenever I tried to take care of a plant it died. (My mother outgrew this perspective; when she retired ...

Counting the Omer and Refining Ourselves

During the 49 days between Pesach and Shavuot we count the Omer. With its connection to the land, this is also a great time to increase our connection with and commitment to the planet. Here's how it works. Several years ago, Canfei Nesharim created materials to help us make the connection to the environment during the period of counting the Omer. These resources are still fully appropriate for learning today! I encourage you to take a look at the materials and use them during this special time of the Jewish year! Torah Learning Goats, Grapes and Greenbelts: Sustainability and Settling the Land The period of the Omer ...

Success on Wind Power in Maryland!

Last year, I got involved in a state level legislative campaign promoting wind power in Maryland. Working with our local Interfaith Power and Light, I had the opportunity to speak in support of this bill at a town hall meeting on November 3, 2011. (See the text of what I said here.) My local Silver Spring Sustainability Circle (Kayamut) also got involved, including sending a Tu b’Shevat card to our representative. Our efforts were successful in getting the bill passed through the Maryland House of Delegates last year, but the session ended without it becoming law. I’m impatient about these things and so I was very frustrated ...

I’m not trying to save the world right now.

I’m not trying to save the world right now. People who know me well might understand what a dramatic statement that is. I’ve been trying to save the world with my every action for at least the last fifteen years, and perhaps for most of my life. For as long as I can remember I’ve been trying to make a difference. I’ve felt the pressure of making the world a better place. And thank G-d, I’ve been able to offer some things that I do feel have contributed. Altogether, it’s been a privilege. Almost three weeks ago now, I lost my mother. I lost her to cancer, after a tremendous fight which included her incredible spirit and commitment ...

Green Purim Sameach!

The Jewish holiday of Purim (this year celebrated on February 24) is a great time to add an eco-twist to your Jewish practice. The holiday includes sending gifts of food to friends (called "mishloach manot"), creating costumes, giving charity to the poor, and preparing the festive Purim meal. In all of these celebrations, there are many opportunities to conserve precious resources and share environmental education messages with your friends and neighbors. If your community really gets into the mishloach manot, it may feel like "keeping up with the Greenbergs" requires wasteful quantities of cellophane, ribbon, and styrof...