Environmental Justice Subscribe

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


Blogs

Earth Etude 15- Looking at the Whole Picture

By Susie Davidson   As a writaholic, I am also a readaholic. As we move forward in our chosen missions toward creating communities that feed, nurture and sustain (while protecting) all the inhabitants of the earth, I believe that it is also incumbent upon us to remain informed about the news of the day and the topics that affect underlying societal infrastructures.   Certainly, some of these infrastructures seem entrenched to the point of impermeability, none more so than the economic systems that govern world relations and, therefore, virtually every facet of ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 14- Elul’s Comin”

by Judith Felsen   In days of Av anticpatin’ I have done my exploration searching, seeking digging deeper all to clear the space as greeter. From the bottom of my looking I can sense great times are coming soon our King will sure arrive and in fields we both will thrive. Therefore now and always ever will this earth be seen as heaven by all those who now know its glitter shimmering sparks both there and hither. May we join in joyful meeting in all lands we’ve tilled this season. Welcome King, we greet your visit ...

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Earth Etude 13- The Flood

by Rabbi Dorit Edut   The meteorologists predicted a possible heavy rainstorm and suggested bringing an umbrella to work.  But as I drove home from an interfaith conference, I got a call from my husband announcing: “ You’ll have to swim home – everything is flooded here.” My heart stopped beating for a minute when I heard this, realizing that all my rabbinic books and papers, many photograph albums including those from my parents’ lives in pre-Holocaust Europe, all our children’s albums and  memorabilia, my father’s award-winning black and ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 12- Growing Teshuva

by Maxine Lyons I am often looking for ways to connect to teshuvah even during the leisurely days of summer. Teshuvah for me is turning to those thoughts and actions that help me to become my better self, following those practices that nourish my growth to know peace - shalom - and to reach greater wholeness - sh'lemut. As I pursue personal growth, I resonate to the Hebrew word, hitpatchut, growth through an openness and receptivity to change.This summer I have focused on ways to practice with greater compassion in how I spend my time and focus my energy as I take on ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 10- Topsy Turvy Bus

by Rabbi Margaret Frisch Klein   The world seems a little topsy turvy these days. A plane missing. 223 girls kidnapped in Nigeria. 3 teen agers kidnapped and murdered in Israel. A plane shot out of the sky. Israel in Gaza. Rockets in Israel. Too many children killed in the streets of Chicago. Too many deaths. When does it stop?   In the Fox River Valley, Illinois, after a punishing winter of epic proportions, it is nice to be outside. Six congregations, part of the nascent Prairie Jewish Coalition, sponsored the Topsy Turvy bus.   What is a ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 9 – A Cry in the Night: My Decision not to Consume Dairy

by Diana G.   A memory: Our newborn is up again. I turn to the clock. It’s 4:25 am. Less than three hours since she last awoke. My husband and I are exhausted, and we lie quietly for a few moments, willing our daughter back to sleep. But her cries are persistent. Who knows if she’s hungry, cold, or simply distressed and looking for comfort?   Regardless, we’ve reached our “give-her-a-moment” limit; there’s only so long one can ignore an infant baby’s cries. My husband grabs for his glasses, makes his way to the nursery, and returns ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 8 – Waves on the Beach

by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen I stand on the beach. Waves--      I hear them, see them, rising, falling, splashing, foaming. Deep within me    waves form,   rise up, are released, unite with the ocean waves. Throughout my body   sadness.... grief.... despair.... engulf me. The Earth is suffering. I cannot simply stand, sit, lie, relax. Act, I must, driven by my grief,  by my love, by the waves, in order to live with myself, with the Holy One of Blessing-- who is able to quiet waves, in the sea, in my soul-- who continues ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 7- Rosh Hashanah Shemittah Seder 5775

Created by Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin, to be shared, celebrated, and enjoyed Click here for a downloadable version to print out and use at your Rosh HaShanah dinner.   Ever since the first breath of creation, time has unfolded in cycles of seven. Six days reach their crescendo in the seventh day, Shabbat - the Sabbath, the day of rest. Six years reach their crescendo in the seventh year, Shemittah - the sabbatical, the year of renewal. Seven cycles of seven years reach their crescendo in the Jubilee year, the ultimate enactment of re-creation.   All ...

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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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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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Dead Young Men: Mississippi, Israel, Palestine

I spent several days last week in Mississippi, -- Mourning the murders of three young men 50 years ago; Celebrating a Mississippi that today is very different; Facing the truth that Earth and human communities –-- especially, still, those of color and of poverty –- are being deeply wounded by the Carbon Pharaohs’ exploitation and oppression; Talking/ working toward a future of joyful community in which Mother Earth and her human children can live in peace with each other in the embrace of One Breath. ...

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Speak Up! Advocacy for Systemic Change

Originally posted in the newsletter of the Jewish Greening Fellowship What was Queen Esther thinking when her uncle Mordechai told her to speak up to King Achashverosh? Many readers of the Purim story have tried to answer this question with midrash (stories written to fill gaps in Torah texts.) One intriguing story claims that Esther hid for 4 years before the King’s agents found her and brought her to the palace. In this telling of the story, Esther wasn’t some firebrand eager to stand up against the ruling powers. She preferred to stay completely out ...

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The Urban Adamah Fellowship Now Accepting 2014 Applications

Connect to Something Bigger: Earth, Community, Social Justice, Jewish Spirituality The Urban Adamah Fellowship, based in Berkeley, CA, is a three-month residential training program for young adults (ages 21–31) that combines urban organic farming, social justice training and progressive Jewish learning and living within the setting of an intentional community. Through the operation of Urban Adamah’s one-acre organic farm and internships with social justice organizations, fellows gain significant skills, training and experience in all aspects of ...

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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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Sukkot, Simchat Torah, and Vegetarianism

There are many connections that can be made between vegetarianism and the joyous Jewish festivals of Sukkot, Shemini Atzeret (the Eighth Day of Solemn Assembly), and Simchat Torah: 1. Sukkot commemorates the 40 years when the ancient Israelites lived in the wilderness in frail huts and were sustained by manna. According to Isaac Arama (1420-1494), author of Akedat Yitzchak, and others, the manna was God's attempt to reestablish for the Israelites the vegetarian diet (Genesis 1:29) that prevailed before the flood, in the time ...

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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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An Overlooked Mitzvah: Tsa’ar Ba’alei Chaim/A New Year for Animals Message

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 ...

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Opportunity from the Nathan Cummings Foundation

On October 7-10, 2013 The Nathan Cummings Foundation will host leaders in their twenties and thirties to explore strategies to create a U.S. society by the year 2030 where our religious diversity leads us to act collaboratively for a more just, fair and compassionate country. As a Jewcology community, we feel that the more Jewish environmental leaders who apply to this event, the more likelihood that the conversation will include challenges of sustainability. We encourage you to apply for this event. The deadline to apply is this coming Monday, July ...

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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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