Families Subscribe

A selection of initiatives, blogs, resources and communities on Jewcology intended for use by families.


Blogs

Looking to the Sky, Remembering Our Ideals

by Rabbi Natan Margalit ~Recently, I read an article in the New York Times Magazine that talked about the way that people do or say things, say, supporting a good cause or political opinion, not because they really believe in it, but because they want to signal to their social network that they are virtuous. Apparently, there is a popular new label for this behavior: “virtue signaling.” The author reports that this term is most often used by people on the right against people on the left (“Virtue Signaling Isn’t the Problem. Not Believing One Another Is,” ...

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A New Kind of Community

My family and I just got back from ten days at our annual “dance camp.” This gathering, which has been happening for more than 30 years, is about dancing, but more so, it’s ten days of living like a village in a tight knit, inclusive and caring community. My oldest son had a great summer this year: Jewish wilderness camp, basketball camp, beaches and more. He loved all of them, but he said that dance camp was the best: it was because he got to hang out with a tight group of teens who spent a ton of time together dancing (he’s becoming a great salsa dancer!), ...

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Tree of Knowledge, Tree of Life

My work at Organic Torah starts with asking a question about chochma/Jewish wisdom: Must the Tree of Knowledge be separated from the Tree of Life? The Tree of Knowledge is what we have become used to in much of our Western education—it begins with breaking things apart into smallest components. Our education system is divided into discreet subjects: math, science, English—too often devoid of context and the vibrancy which comes from what Gregory Bateson called “the pattern which connects.” And if we go to college or grad school we might study a “discipline” ...

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Aytzim (Ecological Judaism) is Back—Let’s reconnect!

It’s a mystery--we lost our Aytzim facebook page and all our facebook friends. So we will be sending out new invites to like our page. In case you have forgotten, we are all about the environment—saving our world. And these days, it has become more important than ever. Aytzim is the umbrella organization of: Green Zionist Alliance, Jewcology.org, EcoJews, and Shomrei Breishit: Rabbis and Cantors for the Earth. Aytzim means “trees” and here’s a little about the other organizations in our product grove: Green Zionist Alliance—Since its founding in 2001, the ...

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People Climate’s Movement

Aytzim supports the People’s Climate Movement this April 29th in Washington, D.C. (and across the country) to stand up for our communities and climate. The People's Climate Movement is organizing a country-wide arc of action, culminating on April 29th in Washington DC in a powerful mobilization to unite all of our movements. To change everything, we need everyone. On April 29th, we will march for our families. We will march for our air, our water, and our land. We will march for clean energy jobs and climate justice. We will march for our communities and the ...

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Passover: How to improve your health and our world

  Richard Schwartz makes the connection between a vegetarian (vegan) diet and how it fits with the meaning of Passover in these 3 essays. 1. Freeing Ourselves at Passover From Diets That Hurt Us and the Planet Jews commendably go to extraordinary lengths before and during Passover to avoid certain foods, in keeping with Torah mitzvot. But at the same time, many continue eating other foods that, by Torah standards, are hardly ideal. Read more... 2. Applying Passover Messages Can Help Heal Our Imperiled Planet There are many Passover-related ...

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Powering the Promised Land: Fracking and Energy Use in Israel

Limmud AZ presents speaker David Krantz at 11:30 am  - 12:30 pm on Sunday, February 12, 2016. What's the source of the electricity that powers the lights when you flick the switch in Israel? Hint: It may not be what you think. Israel is on the verge of becoming an energy superpower, but at what cost? Learn what most Israelis don't know about Israel's energy situation. David Krantz runs Aytzim: Ecological Judaism, parent organization of Jewcology.org, the Green Zionist Alliance, and Shomrei Breishit: Rabbis and Cantors for the Earth. He also serves on the board of ...

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Towards an all-inclusive Tu Bishvat

Tomorrow (Shabbat 11th February) we celebrate Tu Bishvat, the Jewish New Year for trees. It is a time when we celebrate the natural world, when we take time to contemplate all that God has provided for us – the trees, flowers, fruit, rivers, seas. But in such times of celebration we must also spare a thought for those less fortunate. Those subject to rejection because their physical form isn’t perfect.  Those who find themselves dismissed from lack of beauty. That is, those fruits and vegetables excluded from the supermarket shelves due to blemishes or ...

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Tu Bishvat: All About the New Year of the Tree(s)

Tall Trees in Bidwell Park, Chico, California

My youngest daughters' friends were impressed that Judaism celebrates a New Year of Trees, marked by planting and honoring trees. Here's a round-up of how to observe this special day. (more…)

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Small Changes Add Up to Make a Big Difference!

After the November election, many of us were left with numerous concerns, including about how the president-elect and his advisors will deal with environmental issues such as climate change. While those concerns are still valid, I realized there are many things I could change about how I live my life that can make a difference for the environment. I made three resolutions: reduce, reuse and recycle. Resolution #1: Reduce. I am going to buy less — especially those things that have a negative impact on the environment, such as plastic tableware when I have company ...

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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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Sukkot and Eco-Friendly Eating

Sukkot, the harvest holiday that takes place  on the 15th day of the month of Tishrei, marks the end of the agricultural year.  Jews give thanks for the bounty of the Earth.  We commemorate the holiday by decorating our sukkah with fruits, vegetables and harvest items.  We shake the lulov and the etrog to connect ourselves to the Earth as we eat and spend time outside. It is fitting during the traditionally agricultural holiday of Sukkot to think about our food choices.  Here are a few ways we can be more eco-friendly in our eating and food purchasing habits:...

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Our Earth Etudes for Elul: Thank you to our contributors!

Thank you!

By Susan Levine A special thank you to Rabbi Katy Z. Allen for organizing this project and to our contributing writers with their meaningful essays, poems and thoughts. Elul is the month that leads up to Rosh Hashanah, but these Earth Etudes are insightful windows into the meaning of life and the interconnection between our lives, our Earth and our spiritual existence at any time.  ~ Etude Elul 1 by Andy Oram: Save the Earth to Save Our children. Read more... ~ Etude Elul 2 by Rabbi Robin Damsky: Oh Deer What Can the Matter Be? Read more… ~ Etude Elul 3 by ...

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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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Throw Out the Cookie Jar …. And Save the Planet

As a lifetime Weight Watcher, I have learned a few tricks. The most helpful to me was this one: Banish red light food from your home...and keep healthy food cut up and ready to eat at the front of your refrigerator in plastic see-through containers.  Now what does that have to do with saving the planet?  Well, a whole lot. Fracked gas is not healthy for people or the climate. Neither is nuclear-powered electricity. These are red-light energy products, the healthy alternatives being solar and wind energy. Even knowing this, companies profiting from red light dirty ...

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SACRED EARTH, SACRED TRUST

A Day of Prayer & Action for People and Planet. Sunday, June 12 FAITHS RISING FOR PEOPLE & PLANET Sacred Earth, Sacred Trust is a worldwide, multi-faith day of prayer & action for the planet and a call for world leaders to commit to a 1.5 degree limit on global temperature rise. Six months after world leaders reached the Paris Agreement, communities around the world will come together in a day of beautiful commitment and blessing for the earth. 1°C OF WARMING MEANS EVERYTHING The adopted Paris Agreement is an incredible first step, but much of ...

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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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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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