Families Subscribe

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


Blogs

“Esh, Esh Medura” (Fire, Fire, Bonfire)

by Einat Kramer, Director – Teva Ivri One of the most “Israeli” phenomena that I know is the bonfires of Lag B’Omer. Immediately after Pesach, even before the clean spring scent fades in the heat of the summer, the streets of our country are filled with children looking for firewood. They are everywhere; in forests, building sites, and among the garbage cans, they collect wood (or anything resembling wood), hauling it off in “borrowed” supermarket carts to their secret hiding place and guarding it fiercely until ...

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Eco-friendly Summer

Summer will be here before you know it. One way to be a better guardian of the Earth and to follow the Jewish imperative of bal tashchit (do not waste) is to take some simple steps to keep your home naturally cool in the summer months. Here are a few ways to make that happen: -- Close your curtains: During the heat of the day, close your curtains or blinds. This blocks the sun’s rays so that less air conditioning will be needed to cool your home. -- Keep the oven off: As much as possible on hot days, use the microwave, toaster oven and/or the outdoor ...

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Trees, Bikes and Nature on Yom Ha’atzmaut

NEW YORK (April 26, 2012) — Falafel fests, movie nights, dance parties — Americans celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut in many ways. But what do Israelis do on Independence Day? They head outdoors. Last year so many people jammed into the country’s de-facto national-park system, run by KKL-JNF, that parks were closed because they reached capacity. So, how many people was that, you ask? About one in every five Israelis — more than 1.5 million people — which is also about the same number of trees that have been planted in Israel since ...

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Raisins (or, How I Discovered My Inner Foodie)

I don’t usually think of myself as much of a foodie. In order to address some health conditions, I’m on a pretty rigorous diet, which has taken a lot of previously loved foods – tomatoes, bread, ice cream, chocolate – out of the mainstay in my diet. For a long time I thought that I didn’t like food at all: I wished I could simply take a pill and move on with my day. As you can imagine, this has kept me on the fringe of some parts of the Jewish environmental movement. I’m not one for conversations about making the most ...

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Earth Day Mitzvah Mania Cultivates Community in Chicago: This Earth Day, Slow Down and Dig In

CHICAGO, IL -- The Gan Project, a Jewish social and environmental justice organization, is pleased to announce their first annual Earth Day Mitzvah Mania. The Gan Project grows organic, heirloom produce on its quarter acre Homestead located in West Rogers Park, Chicago. Of that produce, half is gleaned by the community, in accordance with the ancient agricultural practices outlined in the Torah, and half is donated to the ARK food pantry. “We see the roots of Judaism grounded in the agricultural practices of our ancestors and believe that engaging in contemporary ...

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Raising a Jewish Environmentalist?

This past weekend, I attended the Kayam Beit Midrash, an annual event at the Pearlstone Retreat Center in Baltimore. I was proud to attend for the second year with my family – my husband and my beautiful 7-year-old son. We spent the weekend learning about Shemittah, the amazing Jewish mitzvah to let the land rest every seven years. I really appreciate the Kayam Beit Midrash. Through their passions for Jewish learning, farming and agriculture, they manage to bring together a really diverse and interesting group of people. I got to see a lot of old friends, ...

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Eco-Friendly Home

Many people may not think about common purchases made at the grocery or home improvement store and their impact on the environment. However, as Jews commanded to till and tend the Earth and not to waste resources, we need to be mindful of the environmental and health effects of many products we routinely buy. Here’s a list of some commonly purchased items for the home, with an eye toward the more environmentally-conscious option when shopping in a store or online: • Paper goods—Items such as toilet paper, paper towels and tissues are a ...

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The Owls of Shevat

Dear Friends, Can you hear the owls of Shevat calling? They are beckoning us to find ways to bring our Jewish communities outside. I’d like to share a simple program that gets our community of different aged folks bundled up and joining a night hike filled with owl calls, wind song, star gazing, storytelling and fair-trade organic hot chocolate. Here’s what we do. We gather when the Shevat moon is waning, on a Saturday night post Tu B’Shevat. Peak owl listening time may be 4am, but we just ramble around after dinner, wide open and trusting ...

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Celebrating Tu B’shvat… By Living Up in a Tree?

Jewish camp directors spend week aloft in a redwood “tree-sit” In preparation for Tu B’shvat, my husband and I lived this past week 150 feet up in the air into an ancient and endangered redwood tree in northern California. We cooked, slept and made Shabbat in the over-200-year-old trees as part of an environmental protection action, called “tree-sitting”, to keep the trees from being cut down. Our grove included 50 redwoods connected by ziplines; these trees would have been cut down three years ago were it not for the continual presence of ...

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Last Day to Order Free Haggadot

Good Chodesh! Today is Rosh Chodesh Shevat; according to Beit Shammai, THIS is the new year of the trees! In any case, we wish you a good and green new month. Tu b'Shevat is in just two weeks, on Tuesday-Wednesday February 7-8! Today is the final deadline for orders of free haggadot this year. You can order up to 25 Haggadot absolutely free by posting your request on our facebook page. Please post the number of haggadot you are requesting, your location, and the community where the materials will be ...

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Tree B’Earthday SAVE THESE DATES!

Come have a very special Tree b'Earthday with a pluralistic ecologically engaged Jewish community the week before Tu b'Shevat. Return home with (tree)sources to enhance your community's celebration of Tu b'Shevat, which falls on February 8, the following week. Our weekend includes spirited pluralistic Shabbat services, guided hikes, workshops, farm-to-table kosher dining, and a beautiful Tu b'Shevat seder on Saturday night. Families are welcome and children under 13 come for free if they stay in the same room as their parents/guardians. ...

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There’s Light.

We love this time of year. The opportunity to share special moments with family, lighting candles, eating latkes, and sharing special community celebrations. As we come together to celebrate happy moments, Chanukah is a great time to share Torah learning and to remember to be mindful of our energy actions. Chanukah reminds us that even when things may seem dark, there's light. To share the light this year, Canfei Nesharim's website features the following resources: • The Miracle of the Vessels, a Torah teaching to learn with ...

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AS I SEE IT: Ways to green the upcoming holidays

AS I SEE IT: Ways to green the upcoming holidays Originally posted in in the Princeton (NJ) Packet (http://bit.ly/sy6DlG) By Rabbi Dov Peretz Elkins Dr. Dov Peretz Elkins is rabbi emeritus of The Jewish Center of Princeton and a member of Sustainable Princeton (www.SustainablePrinceton.org). His most recent book is “Simple Actions for Jews to Help Green the Planet", which can be purchased at http://bit.ly/uoUGDx. Why is a rabbi writing about Christmas? Hanukkah, sure . . . but Christmas! Answer: ...

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Greening Hanukkah

Hanukkah is a time where we celebrate the renewal of the eternal flame and rededication of the Temple. It is a great time to rededicate ourselves to the goal of preserving God’s creation, conserving energy and helping the environment. Here are a few things you can do leading up to, and during, the holiday to rededicate yourself to making the world more eco-friendly. Leading up to the holiday: · Buy gifts with a low carbon footprint—local stores that sell vintage, locally made or locally grown products are a great place to find ...

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Living our Values at the Festival of Eden

Warm autumn sky, a mega-stage, bicycle-churned ice cream and over 450 people celebrating sustainable Jewish living.... On September 25, 2011, Eden Village Camp held our first annual Festival of Eden. The event was a tangible way for the community to experientially connect with principles of sustainability, environmentalism, and Jewish tradition. Eden Village Camp nourishes the connections between self, community, earth, and spirit with socially and environmentally conscious programming that is firmly rooted in Jewish tradition. The Festival of Eden showcased this ...

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The Power of Electronic Recycling

“Look at My works. See how beautiful they are, how excellent. See to it that you do not spoil or destroy My world. For if you do, there will be no one to repair it after you.” (Midrash Ecclesiates Rabbah 1 on 7:13 c. 9thcentury) In today’s ever more technological world, the number of electronic items the average person uses and wears out continues to grow. According to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), Americans now own approximately 24 electronic products per household. As Jews we should be mindful not to immediately throw out ...

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Back from KAYAM

Back from The Farm Kayam Farm- the scene of "Planting Seeds: The First Jewish Early Childhood Conference." It was better than imagined. It was the participants willingness to "dig deeply" on all fronts that mattered. People came from as far as Seattle,North Carolina, Texas, Boston and Worcester, Florida and New York as well as from nearby Virgina, Pennsylvania,New Jersey and of course Baltimore. There were nature specialists, ece directors, teachers, a rabbi and a great mix of ages and persuasions. There were the gardeners and the ...

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Seeking your suggestions for naming our new bunks!

Dear Friends, As Eden Village Camp expands - 231 campers this year as of now, up from 134 in our first summer last year! -- we have renovated new cabins, which of course need inspiring names. The theme is Jewish environmental heroes who memory we want to bless. For example, we have bunks named Heschel, Besht, Noach and Miriam. Your suggestions invited!

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Rainbow Day is coming! Celebrate, learn, create!

I'm so excited to let people know about Rainbow Day – the 27th of Iyyar, and the 42nd day of the Omer. For a few years now I've been working to make Rainbow Day a reality in the Jewish world. Rabbi Arthur Waskow first came up with the idea of using the dates of the flood story in 1981. But now I think we (the Jewish world) are ready to make it happen. I've been collecting prayers and rituals, lesson plans about seed-saving and hydrofracking, learning from Hoshea and Ezekiel, from Kabbalah and midrash, and project ideas that you can use to celebrate Rainbow Day and to ...

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