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A selection of initiatives, blogs, resources and communities on Jewcology intended for use in engaging adults.


Powering the Promised Land: Fracking and Energy Use in Israel

Limmud AZ presents speaker David Krantz at 11:30 am  - 12:30 pm on Sunday, February 12, 2016. What's the source of the electricity that powers the lights when you flick the switch in Israel? Hint: It may not be what you think. Israel is on the verge of becoming an energy superpower, but at what cost? Learn what most Israelis don't know about Israel's energy situation. David Krantz runs Aytzim: Ecological Judaism, parent organization of, the Green Zionist Alliance, and Shomrei Breishit: Rabbis and Cantors for the Earth. He also serves on the board of ...

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Towards an all-inclusive Tu Bishvat

Tomorrow (Shabbat 11th February) we celebrate Tu Bishvat, the Jewish New Year for trees. It is a time when we celebrate the natural world, when we take time to contemplate all that God has provided for us – the trees, flowers, fruit, rivers, seas. But in such times of celebration we must also spare a thought for those less fortunate. Those subject to rejection because their physical form isn’t perfect.  Those who find themselves dismissed from lack of beauty. That is, those fruits and vegetables excluded from the supermarket shelves due to blemishes or ...

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Tu Bishvat: All About the New Year of the Tree(s)

Tall Trees in Bidwell Park, Chico, California

My youngest daughters' friends were impressed that Judaism celebrates a New Year of Trees, marked by planting and honoring trees. Here's a round-up of how to observe this special day. (more…)

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Gateway of Trees: Tu Bishvat Resources on Wellsprings of Wisdom

Tree on the banks of Big Chico Creek, California, Julie Danan

If you are looking for fresh material about Trees and Tu Bishvat, I invite you to explore the Gateway of Trees on Wellsprings of Wisdom. Wellsprings of Wisdom is a virtual retreat center built around ancient Jewish symbols from nature. Explore Trees in Jewish sources and your own life, through many modalities including photos, nature sounds and video. Enjoy Torah study, rituals, and a guided mediation. There are stories and blessings about trees as well as resources for celebrating Tu Bishvat, the New Year of Trees. Plus that time I hugged a tree. Learn about the cosmic ...

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Winter Holds the Promise of Spring: Monthly Update from Wellsprings of Wisdom

First snow of the season, Julie Danan

We are experiencing tumultuous times, but that very turmoil calls more people to take personal action for service, healing, and bettering the world. To avoid burnout and bitterness, it’s important to stay centered and nurture our inner lives. Wellsprings of Wisdom strives to integrate the timeless and the timely, Tikkun HaLev (healing our hearts) with Tikkun Olam (repairing our world). (more…)

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Wellsprings of Wisdom: A Virtual Retreat Center

Bear Hole, Bidwell Park, Chico, CA

I am delighted to announce and share my newly redesigned and relaunched website, It's a place for anyone interested in Jewish spirituality in nature. Wellsprings of Wisdom is a site for your soul, an island of quiet contemplation in a sea of noisy information. It's the rare online place where you can pause to refresh your soul, re-enchant your world, and renew your inner life. At this virtual retreat center, ancient Jewish symbols from nature become gateways to personal growth and action. You are invited to immerse yourself in the ...

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Small Changes Add Up to Make a Big Difference!

After the November election, many of us were left with numerous concerns, including about how the president-elect and his advisors will deal with environmental issues such as climate change. While those concerns are still valid, I realized there are many things I could change about how I live my life that can make a difference for the environment. I made three resolutions: reduce, reuse and recycle. Resolution #1: Reduce. I am going to buy less — especially those things that have a negative impact on the environment, such as plastic tableware when I have company ...

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Sukkot and Eco-Friendly Eating

Sukkot, the harvest holiday that takes place  on the 15th day of the month of Tishrei, marks the end of the agricultural year.  Jews give thanks for the bounty of the Earth.  We commemorate the holiday by decorating our sukkah with fruits, vegetables and harvest items.  We shake the lulov and the etrog to connect ourselves to the Earth as we eat and spend time outside. It is fitting during the traditionally agricultural holiday of Sukkot to think about our food choices.  Here are a few ways we can be more eco-friendly in our eating and food purchasing habits:...

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Earth Etudes for Elul: A Collection of Meaningful Ways to Enrich Our Lives

by Susan Levine ~ It’s not too late to read the thought-provoking Earth Etudes for the month of Elul. Now is a good time to think about our lives and what matters: our family, our friends, this Earth we call our home and all the other people and animals who share it with us. How can we take care of our health and work towards a peaceful and sustainable future for our children? A special thank you to Rabbi Katy Z. Allen for organizing this project and to our contributing writers with their meaningful essays, poems and thoughts. You can read them here whenever ...

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Shanah Tovah 5777

by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen   As you enter this new year may distance bring clarity     and may the many shades of the forest be clear to you  as separate and individual colors each unique in its own right   may the sky be ever visible to you  between the leaves    may you understand that the leaves the sky and the tendrils are all interconnected    and when you cry out for help may your prayer be ...

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Our Earth Etudes for Elul: Thank you to our contributors!

Thank you!

By Susan Levine A special thank you to Rabbi Katy Z. Allen for organizing this project and to our contributing writers with their meaningful essays, poems and thoughts. Elul is the month that leads up to Rosh Hashanah, but these Earth Etudes are insightful windows into the meaning of life and the interconnection between our lives, our Earth and our spiritual existence at any time.  ~ Etude Elul 1 by Andy Oram: Save the Earth to Save Our children. Read more... ~ Etude Elul 2 by Rabbi Robin Damsky: Oh Deer What Can the Matter Be? Read more… ~ Etude Elul 3 by ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 29: Hope Sprouting

by Rabbi Judith Kummer   ~ When the world is whirling and despair for the future begins to crowd in I turn to growing things, seeking hope.   The sweet potato plant cutting I made last week, Bereft of leaves but stuck into a vase to root anyway-- Just in case-- has now sprouted tiny purple and spring-green leaves, against all odds.   How did it know to grow, know it could grow?  What generative force propelled it forward into a future I sometimes cannot imagine?   In the garden Swaths of bright ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 28: Our Repentance, Prayer, and Deeds of Righteous Action Will Stop Climate Change

by Dr. Mirele B. Goldsmith ~ This year, as the sun sets on Yom Kippur, our prayers will reach a pinnacle of intensity as we recite the UnetanehTokef prayer:  “On Rosh Hashanah it is written, and on Yom Kippur it is sealed.  How many shall leave this world, and how many shall be born; who shall live and who shall die, who in the fullness of years and who before; who shall perish by fire and who by water, who by sword and who by a wild beast; who by famine and who by thirst…   But repentance, prayer, and deeds of righteous action, can remove the severity of the ...

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May it bee a sweet new year

"May you bee inscribed and sealed in the book of life for a good and sweet new year.  May all your offspring survive to see adulthood and may you successfully pollinate our crops so that we will have sufficient to eat." It's not that I'm actually suggesting this prayer is added to our Rosh HaShanah prayer books - heaven know the services last long enough already - but the words did spring to mind now that we are surrounded by pictures of fluffy cute bumblebees in the run up to the Jewish New Year. These yellow and black critters have become as much symbols of the ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 27: Teshuvah in the Garden

by Maxine Lyons ~ My perennial love relationship with the earth is expressed most explicitly in tending my flower gardens. For me it is spiritual work, a way to respect the earth while feeling more mindful of how growth and change is an ongoing  process and mirrors the major themes of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The spiritual work of Teshuvah on the Yamim Norayim for me often centers on facing challenges, reviewing the aspects of my life that need changing and seeking new ways that I can re-commit myself to positive actions to bring about those changes. The ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 26: You Were Wrong

by Ben Weilerstein ~ I You were wrong about environmentalism, man, no that’s not what I think no, I’m not really an environmentalist because if I say I am you’ll say in your head I’m saying things you don’t think need to be said, out loud, at all so, no, I’m not an environmentalist and I don’t feel a rush of flight, of my heels lifting up off the ground when I recycle a plastic bottle not like I do when I recite over and over again until it doesn’t leave my head for years,  “stop! the! pipeline!” or something like that, y’know my voice ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 25: Bees, Fireflies, and Stars

by Ruah Swennerfelt ~ The bee was busy, humming around me and traveling from flower to flower, while I was sitting and weeding. I stopped my work to take a closer look and was amazed to see that, as the bee dove deep and touched a certain spot in the flower, the flower reached its stamen up to the bee’s butt and deposited some pollen. This interaction occurred again and again. I saw so clearly how the bee and the flower miraculously co-evolved for them each to survive. I stopped my weeding task and sat still, contemplating this complex planet of ours and the wonders ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 24: What Is Remembering?

by Steph Zabel ~ What is remembering? As I’ve ponder this question over the past several days, the following thoughts have come to me… Remembering is a return to wholeness and truth: a wholeness of self, of spirit, of place in the world. When we remember who we are, why we are here, and how we relate to the world around us, these remembrances — these truths — infuse our lives with richness and radiate outwards to all the lives around us. I think that remembering must also paradoxically involve forgetting… For instance: When we remember that all ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 23: Tandem

by Rabbi Shoshana Meira Friedman               Biking home on Orchard Street With the wind behind me, and Jamaica Pond Wrinkled and clear beyond the houses, A peregrine falcon winged down A feathered grace, gliding on my right.   For a breath, two, we flew side by side.   My grief, of late, has become more precise. There are worlds Beyond worlds, the eons will stretch Over bedrock and magma, blue and green. There is life and Life and God unending No matter what ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 22: Earth Rituals

by Molly Bajgot ~ This is what rituals are for. We do spiritual ceremonies as human beings in order to create a safe resting place for our most complicated feelings of joy or trauma, so that we don't have to haul those feelings around with us forever, weighing us down. We all need such places of ritual safekeeping. And I do believe that if your culture or tradition doesn't have the specific ritual you are craving, then you are absolutely permitted to make up a ceremony of your own devising, fixing your own broken-down emotional systems with all the do-it-yourself resour...

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