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A selection of initiatives, blogs, resources and communities on Jewcology which focus on education.


Blogs

Tips for a Native Garden

~ Although late summer or early fall may seem like an odd time to begin a garden, it is a great time to plan the garden and get plants and flowers into the ground before cold weather hits. If you are thinking about planting a garden, consider creating a native garden as the best way to restore native ecosystems and be kind to the environment. What better way to follow the important goal that Judaism teaches to "till and tend God's creation, the Earth." Why Use Native Plants? Before planting a native garden, it is important to have a grasp of what native plants are. By ...

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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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Relating Tisha B’Av to Today’s Environmental Crises

Tisha B'Av (the 9th day of the month of Av) 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, one of the 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 not only a temple in Jerusalem, but the entire world that is threatened by climate change and its effects, species extinction, soil erosion, destruction of tropical rain forests and other ...

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Go Back to School and Be Green

With many area schools beginning their fall semester between mid-August and early September, many students and their parents will be heading to the stores for back-to-school supplies.   Your back-to-school purchases make a huge difference. Here's why: 14 billion pencils are produced every year, many made with wood from ancient forests. Americans use about 31.5 million tons of printing and writing paper each year, requiring 535 million trees (most from virgin tree fiber) and 12 billion gallons of oil to make. The average American consumes about 660 pounds of paper ...

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Energy Conservation for your Home: Summer Edition

The weather may be hot and humid, but summer is still a good time to be mindful of the importance of protecting God’s creation, the Earth, by reducing energy waste in your home. Below are a few simple suggestions to get you started.  These tips will both help reduce waste and reduce costs. Green Lighting Tips: Do not place lamps near a thermostat.  The thermostat senses the heat produced by the lamp which can change how often the air conditioner will run.  Use dimmers, motion detectors, and timers on indoor and outdoor lighting Use CFL lightbulbs wherever ...

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10 Top Reasons to Read “Who Stole My Religion? Revitalizing Judaism and Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal Our Imperiled Planet”

Who Stole My Religion?: 1. Generates interest and discourse on the future of Judaism and our imperiled planet because of its challenging analyses. 2. Delivers a critical analysis of Orthodox Judaism’s views on climate change and politics. 3. Argues that vegetarianism, and especially veganism, is the diet most consistent with Jewish teachings and is essential to efforts to avert a climate catastrophe. 4. Offers a possible viable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 5. Provides a radical approach to reducing terrorism. 6. Discusses how to ...

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Greening Your Travel: Part Two

Summer is here and what better way to honor the environment and the Jewish principle of baal tashchit (do not waste) than by planning your summer travels to be as eco-friendly as possible.  Here are a few tips to help as you plan your summer getaway:  Use eco-friendly transportation as much as possible:  Some options include doing a biking vacation and/or taking public transportation (such as train or bus) to get to your ultimate destination.  These alternatives are often cheaper and also reduce your carbon footprint as opposed to travelling by car. Bring your ...

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The Rainbow Connection: Rainbow Day and Creation

Millennia before Kermit sang about the Rainbow Connection, the very first Rainbow Day marked the connection between God and all animals. The biblical flood began on the 17th of the second month, exactly one lunar year and 10 days (= one solar year) before Noah, his family, and all the animals that were with them left the ark, on the 27th day of the second month. But just before they left, God made a covenant with them that there would never again be a flood of water to destroy life on Earth. And just as today we sign contracts with our signatures, God signed our covenant ...

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Kosher Palm Oil

Until recently I thought I understood the problem with palm oil. I thought palm oil meant unethical agricultural practices causing the destruction of equatorial rainforests, driving Orangutans to extinction and contributing significantly to climate change. I believed that products where palm oil was listed as an ingredient are worse than those where palm oil is not listed as an ingredient. I understood that environment groups advocated boycotting manufacturers that use palm oil until they substituted with an alternative. And then I visited Melbourne Zoo where I listened ...

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The Jewish Imperative of an Animal-Free Diet

Jeffrey Cohan, the Executive Director of Jewish Veg, is coming to Teaneck, NJ. He will be leading an hour-long, interactive presentation at Congregation Beth Sholom on the significance of Tza'ar Baalei Chayim (the Jewish mandate to prevent animal suffering) in our contemporary world. This event begins at 7 pm and is free and open to the public.

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Lag B’Omer & Vegetarianism (or Veganism): Making Every Day Count

By Daniel Brook & Richard H. Schwartz Lag B’Omer is considered a minor holiday in the Jewish calendar, but even a minor holiday is worth celebrating. A great way to celebrate Lag B’Omer is through veganism, as Lag B’Omer is deeply connected to veganism. If not quite ready for veganism, a shift to vegetarianism would be a great initial step. Lag B’Omer represents the 33rd day of the counting of the omer, the fifty days from Passover and Shavuot, reminding us of the link between these two holidays. While Passover celebrates our freedom from slavery, Shavuot ...

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Reducing Food Waste in Seven Easy Steps

Statistics show that in the U.S. alone   60 million metric tons of food is wasted each year, of which about 40 million metric tons of it end up in municipal landfills. This represents between 30 to 40 percent of the overall food supply and the single largest component in landfills.  It is an important value in Judaism that we not waste resources, including food (the principle of baal tashchit).  Below are a few simple steps you can take to personally reduce food waste as you shop. Inventory your food items before grocery shopping—Take stock of what you already ...

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Get Ready for Earth Day

By JEI intern, Maggie McCarthy Though the earth sustains us, its health depends upon our care and responsible use of its resources. Protecting the planet is both a religious and spiritual imperative. The Hebrew phrase l’dor v’dor captures this central command. We must pass on a thriving earth “from generation to generation”. Earth Day provides the perfect occasion to remember our duty to the planet. In attempts to raise environmental awareness, Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin proposed a day of celebration, instituting the first Earth Day on April 22, ...

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We’re doing it again… Israel Underwater Birthright

We're doing it again. Registration is now open for this summer's Israel Underwater Birthright Trip 2016. If you are (or know someone who is) Jewish, a certified scuba diver, between the ages of 18-26, and have not been to Israel since you began college, you're eligible for this once in a lifetime opportunity. In addition to touring Israel (Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Tzfat, Masada, and the Dead Sea), we will dive in the pristine waters of the Red Sea in Eilat, the underwater archaeological excavations in the Mediterranean Sea at Ceasaria and more. We will be joined by ...

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Native Plants for Everyone

By guest blogger, Maggie McCarthy, JCRC Environmental Intern While February may seem early to think about gardening, planning ahead in the winter months allows necessary time for creating a healthy and sustainable home garden. Despite the tendency to think of landscaping as purely ornamental, harvesting appropriate plants can bolster the environment and fuel local ecosystems. Giving such thought and care to gardening endeavors enables us to protect and preserve the earth God has given us. When planning your home garden, rather than simply picking the first plants you ...

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Support your local farmer

When shopping for groceries, many of us are quick to turn to the closest chain store for food items. We often forget to uphold the principle of “Bal Tash’chit” which urges us not to waste. This value is central to Judaism and has the potential to stave off further environmental damage. Although we may not see the potential for waste in purchases from supermarkets, oftentimes these stores harm the national environment and detract from local business. While many boast convenience, they often fail to provide locally sourced meats, grains, dairy products, and produce. ...

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Ways to Reduce Waste When Dining Out

There are a number of ways that you can reduce waste as you dine out at restaurants or head to a café for a warm drink in the cold weather.  Reducing waste (the principal of baal tashchit) is a core value in Judaism and can go a long way toward helping the environment, especially added up over time. Consider ways to reduce paper cup waste:  Take a thermos with you when you order coffee in a coffee shop,  indicate that your order is “for here” and ask for the mug rather than the paper cup.  You can then pour the coffee into your thermos.  Also consider brewing ...

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Eco-friendly baby products

If you are expecting a baby or have little ones in your home, you may be wondering how to surround your infant or toddler with products that are environmentally safe.  Below are a few suggestions that will  help reduce waste (baal tashchit) and keep your baby healthy  too. Make your own organic baby food—The safest food for your baby is the same fresh, organic food you eat.  Rather than worry about additives in store bought baby food and the waste caused by purchasing all of those little jars, buy a baby food grinder. After pureeing items, you can also make extra ...

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The Jewish Veg Event of the Decade