Earth-Based Jewish Practices Subscribe

A selection of initiatives, blogs, resources and communities on Jewcology which focus on earth-based Jewish practices.


Blogs

Restoring and Transforming the Ancient New Year for Animals

Another Jewish holiday? Don't we have enough already? Not according to Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA), of which I am president emeritus. We are working with a coalition of Jewish groups and individuals to restore and transform the ancient and largely forgotten Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashana L'Ma'aser BeHeima (New Year's Day for Tithing Animals for sacrifices when the Jerusalem Temple stood) into a day devoted to increasing awareness of Judaism's beautiful teachings on compassion to animals. These teachings include: (1) “God's compassion is over all His ...

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Shmita Today: From Farm to Hypertech

Our society is more and more deeply concerned that intrusive human action toward the Earth is turning into a weapon endangering Humanity itself as well as the earthy web of life. Is this danger new, or is it an extension of a long-felt weakness arising from a strength too far? Torah warns against overworking the earth, as well as overworking ourselves and each other. It provides that not only every seventh day but every seventh year is to be a time to pause from working. The seventh year is to be Shabbat Shabbaton, Restfulness to the exponential power of Restfulne...

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Restoring the New Year for Animals

Rosh Chodesh Elul, the beginning of the month before Rosh Hashanah, begins a month when the shofar is blown at weekday morning services (except on Shabbat), and Jews are to examine our deeds and consider how to align our lives more with Jewish values. When the Temple stood in Jerusalem, Rosh Chodesh Elul was a New Year for Animals, a day devoted to tithing for animal sacrifices. After the second Temple was destroyed in 70 CE, there was no longer a need for this holiday and today very few Jews have heard of it. Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA) is working ...

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Tisha B’Av and Vegetarianism

There are many connections between vegetarianism and the Jewish holiday of Tisha B'Av: 1. Tisha B'Av (the 9th day of the month of Av) commemorates the destruction of the first and second Temples in Jerusalem. Today the entire world is threatened by climate change, and modern intensive livestock agriculture is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. 2. In Megilat Eichah (Lamentations), which is read on Tisha B'Av, the prophet Jeremiah warned the Jewish people of the need to change their unjust ways in order to avoid the destruction of Jerusalem. Today, climate ...

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RELATING TISHA B’AV TO TODAY’S ENVIRONMENTAL CRISES

Tisha B'Av (the 9th day of the month of Av) which we commemorate this year on July 15-16, reminds us that over 2,000 years ago Jews failed to heed the warnings of the prophet Jeremiah, with the result that the first Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed, the first of many negative things that occurred on that day, including the destruction of the second Temple as well. Today there are many "Jeremiahs" warning us that now it is the entire world that is threatened by climate change and its effects, species extinction, soil erosion, destruction of tropical rain forests and ...

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Spreading Our Roots on Shavuot

Blog post by Joshua Boydstun, Jewish Farm School Rabbinic Intern ----------------------------------------------------------- As a rabbinical student, I spend a lot of time thinking and talking about metaphorical “roots”: What is “the root of an idea”? Are texts and traditions “rooted” in a particular time or place? Is it dangerous to be “rootless”? And if so, how can we “get back to our roots”? All of these metaphors depict the “root” as something fundamental and foundational—as a point ...

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A Fictional Dialogue on Shavuot Night About Vegetarianism

Richard Schwartz For many years Danny Shapiro looked forward to staying up all night at his synagogue with his friends on the first night of Shavuot, hearing talks about and discussing Torah teachings. This year he especially anticipated this annual commemoration of the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai, because Rabbi Greenberg would be meeting with Danny and other college students for an hour at 3 AM to answer any questions on Judaism that they brought up. Danny had recently become a vegetarian and had done a lot of background reading on Jewish ...

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Earth Day Quotes and Lehitraot for Now

I have very much enjoyed blogging for Jewcology over the past two years, however, due to the upcoming bar exam in July, I will be taking a hiatus from my monthly post. It has been an honor and truly thrilling for me to take part and witness Jewcology develop and blossom from a seedling of an idea among a group of innovative Jews coming together for a week in Israel, into a thriving community. In honor of Earth Day, I want to post a series of quotes from individuals who have inspired the environmental movement in the United States and beyond. We abuse ...

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Darkness Upon the Face of the Deep

Darkness upon the Face of the Deep –חשך על פני תהום Rabbi Ed Rosenthal “In the Beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was null and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God hovered on the surface of the water.” (Gen.1:1-2). While we are taught that God is omnipresent and there is no place where the Divine presence does not dwell; there are few places that evoke a spiritual experience or a connection with the Divine more surely than the surface of water. ...

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New Year of Jewish Learning on the Environment Materials Released!

The thirteenth topic in the Year of Jewish Learning on the Environment, We are How We Eat: A Jewish Approach to Food and Sustainability released! Rebbe Nachman of Breslov identifies the desire for food and drink as the central desire of the human being, and the one from which other desires emanate. In Rabbi Tzadok Hacohen’s “A Treatise on Eating,” he cites the mystical book of theZohar, which calls the moment of eating “the time of combat.” This is because in eating a Jew must engage in the spiritual fight to ensure the act ...

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Shabbat Noach is Coming!

In celebration of Parshat Noach this coming Shabbat, Jewcology is proud to share a wealth of resources on the topic of Noach. Please enjoy and share these resources from many of our partners and participants so we can all benefit from the lessons of Parshat Noach. Explore all of our Parshat Noach resources Here's a sampling: Countering Destruction - Lessons from Noah Although the flood and the life of Noah occurred thousands of years ago, the story of Noah offers important lessons about how our actions affect the world. The Torah teaches that ten generat...

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New Year of Jewish Learning on the Environment Materials Released!

The Twelfth topic in the Year of Jewish Learning on the Environment, Genesis and Human Stewardship of the Earth, has just been released! In the first chapter of Genesis, twice in three verses, G-d speaks of humans ruling over other living beings. In the second instance, after creating Adam and Eve, G-d blesses them, saying "Be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth." What does it mean for humans to subdue the ...

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Webinar on Becoming a Jewish Energy Champion in Your Community

ANNOUNCING COEJL’S JEWISH ENERGY NETWORK! Webinar on Becoming a Jewish Energy Champion in Your Community Tuesday, October 16 at 2:30 pm est Reserve your Webinar seat now at: https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/487930350 Learn about COEJL’s new Jewish Energy Network and how you can take action on renewable energy and energy efficiency in your Jewish community. Hear about successful Jewish environmental initiatives. Panelists will share their insights on how to achieve energy goals while also meeting the needs of your ...

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Earth Etude for 29 Elul

May We Open Photos by Gabi Mezger Text by Rabbi Katy Allen May we all unfold and open our hearts. May we bloom and blossom in colors vivid and energetic. May we find butterflies in our midst, seeking our sweetness. Thank you for traveling through Elul with us. Thank you to all those who wrote and all those who read. Shanah tovah u'm'tukah l'chulam. May you all have ...

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Green Your High Holidays

Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are right around the corner. There are a number of things you can do as a way to resolve to be more environmentally aware this new year. Use local and organic ingredients in your meals: The healthiest foods for the holiday are foods that are grown locally without any pesticides. Food purchased from local farmers or that you grow yourself will be fresher and have a higher nutritional content than food flown in from hundreds of miles or more away. If you are planning to serve the traditional snack of apples and honey, consider that ...

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A Very Green Rosh Hashanah

On Rosh Hashanah, we celebrate the New Year and give thanks for the creation of our world. We dedicate time to family and friends and we reflect on our past year and celebrate the start of the new year. It's the perfect time to make new goals for the year ahead and try to do better for yourself, your family, and our world. Shopping for the holidays Be eco-"logical" about planning your family gatherings right from the get-go. Shopping locally for an organic Rosh Hashanah meal, apples and honey will not only help support your neighbours and ...

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Redeeming humanity: The Jewish approach to women

Women are at the center of Jewish life, and need to be central in the Jewish environmental and social change movement. Jewish women — as a collective entity — must draw lessons from the global conversation on economic development, which acknowledges that empowering women is the central key to societal harmony. Then steps need to be taken to strengthen our own circle and extend support to all women. Jewish birth workers today serve women in medical and non-medical settings locally and globally, and women’s wellness inside and outside of the Jewish ...

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Earth Etude for 3 Elul

The Earth Is Crying Out in Pain Rabbi Katy Z. Allen “The Earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.” (Ps. 24:1) The Earth is crying out in pain. Yet, its beauty and mystery shine forth, ever ready to calm us, inspire us, strengthen us, and remind us of our smallness in Creation. We walk in the woods and find wonder in the spring wildflowers. Eagerly we bite into the delicious bounty of the late summer harvest. In awe we gain inspiration from the night sky, a sudden and unexpected rainbow, a brilliant sunset. ...

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Think Jewishly, Act Globally: Teva Ivri at RIO+ 20

Dear Friends, A few weeks ago , I traveled with the Israeli delegation to The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The conference, titled “The Future We Want,” was an opportunity to evaluate the global progress on environmental issues since the last summit in 1992 and to commit to future changes. An amazing cross-section of humanity – heads of state, tribal kings, medicine women, and ordinary activists like me – gathered from all corners of the earth to discuss how to reduce p¬overty, ...

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New COEJL Webinar on Funding and Creating an Energy Efficiency Project

Join COEJL for the third in our series of webinars for Sustainability Liaisons. These briefings will enable your organization to take concrete actions toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions 14% by 2014. Get the practical information that you need to fulfill the commitment your organization made in signing the Jewish Energy Covenant Campaign Declaration. Our panelists have implemented energy efficiency projects of all sizes, from insulating pipes for a quick payback to building a brand new facility. What happens once you identify actions you can take to reduce energy ...

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