Eco-Theology Subscribe

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


Blogs

Celebrating Tu Bishvat as if Environmental Sustainability Matters

Since Tu Bishvat, the “New Year for Trees,” has increasingly become a “Jewish Earth Day,” why not use Tu Bishvat Seders as, among other things, a time to consider how we can effectively respond to current environmental crises that threaten all life on the planet? The world is rapidly heading toward a climate catastrophe, severe food, water, and energy scarcities, and other environmental disasters. This is a strong consensus of almost all climate scientists and science academies worldwide. The warmest year for the world since temperature records have been kept ...

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Lessons From Trees: A Tu Bishvat Message

Some of my most important lessons in life I learned from Jewish verses about trees. From the following I learned that I should be an environmental activist, working to help preserve the world: In the hour when the Holy one, blessed be He, created the first person, He showed him the trees in the Garden of Eden, and said to him: "See My works, how fine they are; Now all that I have created, I created for your benefit. Think upon this and do not corrupt and destroy My world, For if you destroy it, there is no one to restore it after you. (Ecclesiastes Rabbah 7:28) F...

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Why Is This Night Different?: Thoughts on Tu B’Shvat

One of the highlights of the Passover seder is the recitation of the four questions which consider how the night of Passover differs from all the other nights of the year. Similar questions are also appropriate for Tu B’Shvat, which starts on Friday evening, February 10, in 2017, because of the many ways that this holiday differs from Passover and all other nights of the year. While four cups of red wine (or grape juice) are drunk at the Passover seder, the four cups drunk at the Tu B’shvat seder vary in color from white to pink to ruby to red.   While ...

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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, http://wellspringsofwisdom.com/ 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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Miraculously Stretching the Oil: a Chanukah Message

The Jewish festival of Chanukah commemorates the miracle of the oil that was enough for only one day, but miraculously lasted for eight days in the liberated Temple in Jerusalem. Hence, this holiday is a good time to consider our own use of fuel and other resources. Like Chanukah’s miraculous extension of scarce resources, vegetarianism also allows the increasingly scarce resources of our contemporary world to go much further. This is no trivial matter, since it is expected that many future conflicts between nations will involve scarcities of oil, water and other ...

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Why I Made Aliyah

My wife and I are relatively new residents at Protea Hills, having made aliyah from Staten Island, New York City, on August 3, 2016. We are very appreciative of the warm welcome we have received from so many of you and look forward to meeting many more of you in the near future. Besides our love and support for Israel, a major reason we made aliyah is we have two very supportive, loving daughters living in Israel, Susan in Ma’alei Adumim and Devorah in Beit Shemesh, and they, along with their wonderful husbands and our fabulous grandchildren, increasingly urged my ...

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Eden Village is Hiring Farm Educator Apprentices

Eden Village Camp is Hiring! Submit Your Application About Eden Village Camp: Eden Village Camp aims to be a living model of a thriving, sustainable Jewish community, grounded in social responsibility and inspired Jewish spiritual life. By bringing the wisdom of our tradition to the environmental, social, and personal issues important to today’s young people, we practice a Judaism that is substantive and relevant. Through our Jewish environmental and service-learning curricula, joyful Shabbat observance, pluralistic Jewish expression, and inspiring, diverse staff ...

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“Noah, Superman, and Global Warming,” a Brilliant Article by a Rosh Yeshiva That Can Help Heal Our Imperiled Planet

A Message from the Rosh HaYeshiva Rabbi Dov Linzer Norman and Tova Bulow Rosh HaYeshiva Chair Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School A Thought on the Parasha Feel free to download and print the Parashat Noach sheet and share it with your friends and family. Noah, Superman and Global Warming God creates a perfect, self-sustaining planet, teaming with life. God places human beings in it and gives them seemingly divine powers: rule over all living things, and the ability to build, create, transform, and take mastery over the entire planet (Breishit ...

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Who Stole My Religion?

For many years I have believed that my religion, Judaism, has been stolen. Why? Because Judaism is a radical religion, with powerful messages on peace, justice, compassion, sharing, and environmental sustainability that can help shift our imperiled planet onto a sustainable path. Yet, most Orthodox Jews are in denial about climate change and other environmental threats and are increasingly supporting politicians who promote benefits for the wealthiest Americans and highly profitable corporations, at the expense of average Americans. I have been a member of a modern ...

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Review of My Book, “Who Stole My Religion?” by the Midwest Book Review

Wisconsin Bookwatch: October 2016
/James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief 
Midwest Book Review 
278 Orchard Drive, Oregon, WI 53575 The Judaic Studies Shelf Who Stole My Religion? 
Richard H. Schwartz 
Urim Publications 
c/o Lambda Publishers 
527 Empire Boulevard, Brooklyn, New York 11225 
www.UrimPublications.com
 9789655242348, $28.95, HC, 302pp, www.amazon.com "Who Stole My Religion?: Revitalizing Judaism and Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal Our Imperiled Planet" by Richard H. Schwartz (President of the Society of Ethical and Religious Vegetarians ...

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Latest Book Review of “Who Stole My Religion? Revitalizing Judaism and Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal Our Imperiled Planet”

  WHO STOLE MY RELIGION: Revitalizing Judaism and Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal Our Imperiled Planet. By Richard H. Schwartz, Ph.D., With Rabbi Yonassan Gershom and Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz. BOOK REVIEW by Judy Carmen: Like some of the prophets of ancient times, Dr. Schwartz is courageously calling on the Jewish people to return to their core values and take up the challenge of healing the earth and bringing peace and justice to all living beings. This is no casual reprimand. Dr. Schwartz is warning his Jewish readers, as well as people of all ...

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Rosh Hashanah is the time when we take stock of our lives and consider new beginnings. Perhaps the most significant and meaningful change that Jews should consider this year is a shift away from diets that have been having devastating effects on human health and the health of our increasingly imperiled planet. While many Jews seem to feel that its celebration can be enhanced by the consumption of chopped liver, gefilte fish, chicken soup, and roast chicken, there are many inconsistencies between the values of Rosh Hashanah and the realities of animal-centered diets. Please ...

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“The King in the Field”

~ Where spirit, nature and people meet An old-new Jewish movement overseas About three months ago I was privileged to participate in a formative event arranged by the JOFEE network (Jewish Outdoor, Food and Environmental Education), which took place in a convention center out in nature in the heart of the U.S. For three days we pored over texts describing events that have shaped us as a people, from the well-known "Lech Lecha" until today; we got to know and examine different projects, for example community gardens of various temples, or agricultural farms run ...

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Elul: A Time to Start Shifting Our Imperiled Planet onto a Sustainable Path


The Hebrew month of Elul has arrived. It is the traditional time for heightened introspection, a chance to consider teshuva, improvements in our lives, before the “Days of Awe,” the days of judgment, the “High Holidays” of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The shofar is blown every morning (except on Shabbat) in synagogues during the month of Elul to awaken us from slumber, to remind us to consider where we are in our lives and to urge us to make positive changes. How should we respond to Elul today? How should we respond when: Science academies worldwide, 97% ...

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Restoring The Overlooked Mitzvah Of Tsa’ar Ba’alei Chaim  

While tsa’ar ba’alei chaim (the mandate not to cause “sorrow to living creatures”) is a Torah prohibition, many religious Jews seem to be unaware of it or to not consider it of any great importance. Some examples reinforce this assertion: Upon reading an article about my efforts to get Jewish teachings on animals onto the Jewish agenda, a member of my modern Orthodox congregation was incredulous. “What? Jews should be concerned about animals?” she exclaimed. Some years ago, I was at a Sukkot gathering at which there were some ducks in an adjacent backya...

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An Audacious Proposal to Restore and Transform the Ancient New Year for Animals

The conditions under which animals are raised for food today are completely contrary to Jewish teachings about compassion to animals: * While Judaism teaches that “God’s compassion is over all His works” (Psalms 145:9), egg laying hens are kept in cages so small that they can’t raise even one wing and they are debeaked without anesthetic to prevent them from harming other birds due to pecking from frustration in their very unnatural conditions. Male chicks fare even worse as they are killed almost immediately after birth, since they can’t lay eggs and have not ...

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Restoring and transforming the ancient “New Year for Animals”

  The current widespread mistreatment of animals on factory farms is very inconsistent with Judaism’s beautiful teachings about compassion to animals. One way for Jews to respond to these inconsistencies is to restore and transform the ancient and largely forgotten Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah LaBeheimot (New Year's Day for Tithing Animals) into a day devoted to considering how to improve our relationships with animals. The holiday occurs on the first day of the month of Elul and was initially devoted to counting domesticated animals intended for sacrificial ...

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Ten Reasons for Restoring and Transforming the Ancient New Year for Animals

  Recently there have been efforts 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) into a day devoted to considering how to improve our relationships with animals. The holiday occurs on the first day of the month of Elul and was initially devoted to counting domesticated animals intended for sacrificial offerings (Mishna, Seder Moed, Tractate Rosh Hashana 1:1). Below are ten reasons why renewing this holiday as a Rosh Hashanah LaBeheimot (a New Year for Animals) ...

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What A Wonderful Path Judaism Is!

The following is an excerpt from my recently published book, "Who Stole My Religion? Revitalizing Judiasm and Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal Our Imperiled Planet." What A Wonderful Path Judaism Is! · _Judaism proclaims a God who is the Creator of all life, whose attributes of kindness, compassion, and justice are to serve as examples for all our actions. · _Judaism stresses that every person is created in God’s image and therefore is of supreme value. · _Judaism teaches that people are to be co-workers with God in preserving and improving the world. ...

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My Vision for Judaism in this Time of Multiple Crises

The following is an excerpt from my recently published new edition of "Who Stole My Religion? Revitalizing Judaism and Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal Our Imperiled Planet." To be a Jew is to see the world through the eyes of God, to be unreconciled to the world as it is, to be discontented with the status quo, and to be unafraid to challenge it. To be a Jew is to be a co-worker with God in the task of perfecting the world, to know that the world remains unredeemed and that we must work with God to redeem it. To be a Jew is to feel deeply the harms done to ...

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