Eco-Theology Subscribe

A selection of initiatives, blogs, resources and communities on Jewcology which focus on eco-theology.


Blogs

Earth Etude for Elul 29- Shanah Tovah

photos by Gabi Mezger text by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen   May you find yourself in the new year constantly in motion...   surrounded by love like a seal in water...   reflecting light visible even in the light of those around you...     moving slowly when necessary, yet always steadily...   raging ferociously against the ills and injustices of the world...     with unending energy, unceasing in your efforts like the constantly moving waves...     zeroing in on what is most beautiful and most nourishing...   &nb...

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Climate on Rosh Hashanah – an existential threat to Israel

Protecting Israel doesn't just mean getting off of Arab petroleum, it means getting off of all petroleum. If you're not advocating for that, you might as well be calling for the destruction of the state.

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Living with Change

Earth Etude for Elul 6 by Rabbi Howard Cohen   The end of the human race will be that it will eventually die of civilisation.  Ralph Waldo Emerson   With the approach of the season of Teshuvah it is once again time to reflect on our relationship with the earth.  In the past I would have asked myself questions such as ‘did I waste natural resources’; or ‘did I pour unreasonable amounts of carbon into the atmospher’; or ‘did I speak out against corporate environmental abuse’.  These questions are important but I believe that there is ...

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Giving Yourself an Autumn Break

by Andrew Oram This time of year always seems a hurricane of activity: coming back from vacation to reams of email, or starting school, or dealing with all the pent-up housework that went blissfully ignored during the easy summer months. Traditionally, Jews see this time of year very differently. Like typical Americans, this period is for them both an ending and a beginning: a recognition of the waning of life and an invigorating harbinger of new possibilities. But in place of the chaotic hurricane that starts for us after Labor Day, many Jews launch a period of ...

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Print books, even ebooks, are dead; but movies can still work their magic

by Danny Bloom, CLI FI CENTRAL blogger http://pcillu101.blogspot.com danbloom@gmail.com bubbie.zadie@gmail.comLOS ANGELES -- With films like "Noah" and "Into the Storm" and "Snowpiercer" -- and"Interstellar" coming in the late fall -- Hollywood has seen thehandwriting on the wall and embraced climate themes in fulltechnicolor. Call the movies ''cli fi'' or disaster thrillers,whatever. There's more to come in the film world.But while Hollywood and studio marketing people (and online socialmedia reporters covering new film releases) have welcomed ''cli fi'' intothe ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 3 – Let it Rest

Earth Etude for Elul 3 - Let It Rest by Carol Reiman Let it rest-- the land that we have worked so hard, the grassy fare for geese now taken by the high tech labs, the water diverted far away to leave the old spot bare, the day diminished by our dense cramming, electronics robbing our eyes of moisture...   Let it rest-- the fish sleep still near the bottom, the standing horse relaxes muscles, the cat stretches and curls...   Let it rest-- the yawn exchanges stale air for fresh, cells grow, the blood flows with its passengers for new destinations, ...

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Video of Richard Schwartz’s 80th birthday celebration in Jerusalem on April 22, 2014

Below is a link to the video of my 80th birthday celebration in Jerusalem on April 22, 2014. It features talks by Rabbi David Rosen, Professor Yael Shemesh of Bar Ilan University, Rabbi MK Dov Lipman, Rabbi Yonatan Neril, director of the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development, Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz, Rabbi Adam Frank, my older daughter Susan Kleid, and me. It is just under 41 minutes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwFKE359y5k&feature=youtu.be There wre also 2 prerecorded talks: Rabbi Adam Frank's prerecorded greetings:(2 minutes and 25 seconds) is at: ...

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Are There Special Foods to Welcome Shmita?

Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin has suggested that for the Erev Rosh Hashanah meal which this year, on Wednesday evening September 24, begins the Shmita Year of Shabbat Shabbaton, we have a seder plate, with seven items (marking the seven-ness of Shmita). What might these seven be? Already nominated: bread (like challah for Shabbat, should this be a “woven” bread? round, for the cycles, as is a traditional Rosh Hashanah challah? how about woven into seven spirals?), an apple, honey, wine, pomegranates. What might the others be, and ...

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Can we see all Earth as our Holy Temple of today?

There are two crises in the world today that call especially for Jewish responses: One because it involves the future of a state that calls itself “Jewish,” and of its supporters in America -- their spiritual, intellectual, ethical, and physical futures – at a moment when the relationship between Jews and our Abrahamic cousins of Palestine is filled with violence that threatens to kill more people, breed more hatred, and poison the bloodstream of Judaism and Jewish culture; The other because it calls on Judaism as –- probably uniquely ...

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The Seder’s Innermost Secret — Charoset: Earth & Eros in the Passover Celebration

There it sits on the Seder plate: charoset, a delicious paste of chopped nuts, chopped fruits, spices, and wine. So the question would seem obvious: "Why is there charoset on the Seder plate?" That's the most secret Question at the Seder – so secret nobody even asks it. And it’s got the most secret answer: none. The Haggadah explains about matzah, the bread so dry it blocks your insides for a week. The Haggadah explains about the horse-radish so bitter it blows the lid off your lungs and makes breathing so painful you wish ...

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How Wonderful Are Hashem’s Creations

Growing up I was constantly reminded of the importance of protecting the environment in which we live. As an elementary school student my friends knew about this and sometimes even mocked me and my family for this zealousness. Now I think they feel like fools for making fun of us. I am the youngest of three children. My older siblings were constantly talking about important issues at the dinner table, and as their younger sibling I wanted to impress them. Consequently, when an issue was important to them, the issue became important to me as well. Not only did I want to ...

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A Tu B’Shvat Seder to Heal the Wounded Earth

The New Year – for Rebirthing Trees: [This version of the Haggadah for Tu B’Shvat has been greatly adapted by Rabbi Arthur Waskow of The Shalom Center from a Haggadah shaped by Ellen Bernstein, as published in Trees, Earth, and Torah: A Tu B’Shvat Anthology (Jewish Publ. Soc., 1999, ed. by Elon, Hyman, & Waskow). Bernstein wrote introductory remarks to sections of that Haggadah, many of which have been included or adapted for this one. They are indicated in the text by the initials “EB.” * The desire for such a Haggadah grew from ...

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Do We Need to Rename God?

In the traditional Jewish spiral of Torah reading, we will soon start the Book of Exodus -- the transformational story of successful resistance to slavery. As the British Army band played the song when the American Revolution became victorious, this book is a story of “The World Turned Upside Down.” Maybe the first such story. Maybe even the story that inspired many of the higgledy-piggledy Boston blacksmiths and Pennsylvania farmers who thought they could defeat the world’s greatest Empire. It certainly inspired Harriet Tubman and Sojourner ...

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Transformative Judaism and our Planetary Crisis

Since human action has endangered the web of life on earth, human action can heal it. And the religious and spiritual communities of our planet have the wisdoms and the tools to do the healing. Judaism is especially relevant because, unlike most world religions, we preserve the teachings of an indigenous people in the biblical tradition –- the spiritual wisdom of shepherds and farmers. And yet as a world people, we can now apply the earthiness of our origins to the Whole Earth. That does not mean simply repeating the ancient practices. For instance, ...

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The Sacred Green Menorah: Deeper Meanings of Hanukkah & Earth

On Shabbat Hanukkah (this year, Nov. 29-30), we read an extraordinary passage from the Prophet Zechariah. Speaking during the Babylonian Captivity, he envisions the future Great Menorah, taking its sacred place in a rebuilt Holy Temple. Zechariah, in visionary, prophetic style, goes beyond the Torah’s description of the original Menorah (literally, a Light-bearer). That Menorah was planned as part of the portable Shrine, the Mishkan, in the Wilderness. First Zechariah describes the Menorah of the future that he sees: “All of gold, with a bowl on ...

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Transformative Judaism and our Planetary Crisis

Since human action has endangered the web of life on earth, human action can heal it. And the religious and spiritual communities of our planet have the wisdoms and the tools to do the healing. Judaism is especially relevant because, unlike most world religions, we preserve the teachings of an indigenous people in the biblical tradition –- the spiritual wisdom of shepherds and farmers. And yet as a world people, we can now apply the earthiness of our origins to the Whole Earth. That does not mean simply repeating the ancient practices. For instance, ...

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The Meaning of This Hour: Confronting the Coming Cataclysm of Global Climate Change

In March 1938, Abraham Joshua Heschel delivered a speech to a conference of Quakers in Frankfort (it was later expanded and published in 1943) called The Meaning of this Hour. Heschel had been living in Berlin for some years, acquiring his Ph.D. and a liberal rabbinic ordination (he had already gotten a traditional ordination when he was a teenager in Warsaw). During his years there, he was a witness to rise of Nazism even while he taught and began to publish his work. In 1938, it was clear to many people that war in Europe was coming. In the very month that ...

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The Age of Climate Dithering Must Come to an End

There is a new genre fiction called “Climate Change Fiction” that has become increasingly popular. The major theme of these works is what the world will be like after the effects of climate change has taken effect. One of my favorite Science fiction authors, Kim Stanley Robinson, has utilized this theme in several of his books, the latest being, 2312 which won the 2012 Nebula award for best science fiction novel and has been nominated for the Hugo award for best science fiction novel of 2013. 2313 mostly takes place off Earth among colonies on ...

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Earth Etude for 3 Elul – Paying Attention to Roots

by Maxine Lyons Being a passionate gardener, I have been tending several gardens in my yard as well as many flower pots on our large deck so my hands are in dirt quite often these days. I have been transplanting yellow primroses, succulents, day lilies and sunflowers, focusing on the integrity of the roots, noticing how each root system is different. For example, some plants require a full root for transplanting while others need a partial root to survive. Succulents do not need roots at all; pieces can be immersed in dirt and re-establish their roots in ...

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Do Animals Go to Heaven? Reflecting on Our Relationship to Non-Human Life

Do All Dogs Go to Heaven? When we ask such a question or “Do animals have souls?” what are we are really saying? We are revealing a deeper existential and theological question about how human beings relate to other living creatures. No one can know the actual reality of the afterlife, but what we believe about it says something about what we believe about life. Our ideas about animal “souls” is, therefore, really about whether humans are unique among living creatures and determining the spiritual distance or ontological gap between humans and ...

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