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A collection of materials related to projects that are greening the Jewish community.


Blogs

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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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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Three Simple Steps Toward Going Green

If you are someone who cares about protecting the environment, you may find yourself frustrated at times because you are not doing as much as you could to change your lifestyle.  While caring for God’s creation and reducing waste (baal tashchit) are important principles in Judaism,   you don’t have to do it all to make a difference.  Here are a few simple suggestions to get you going on the right path.  Start slow and keep it going:  As with anything in life, creating eco-friendly change is more likely to succeed if you take it one small step at a time.  ...

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

HOW JEWISH TEACHINGS CAN HELP SAVE THE PLANET ------------------ Review in the Jewish Georgian, “the largest Jewish newspaper in the South,” by Lewis Regenstein, president of The Interfaith Council for the Protection of Animals and Nature, and author of the book “Replenish the Earth: The Teachings of the World’s Religions on Protecting Animals and Nature.” ---------- Dr. Richard Schwartz, an expert on Jewish teachings on the environment, vegetarianism, and animals, has given us a preview of his new book, due out by early July 2016, on the environmen...

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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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Greening Your Purim

The Jewish holiday of Purim, which begins this year on the evening of March 23, celebrates  the deliverance of the Jews from their enemies in the biblical Book of Esther.  Purim typically involves reading from the Megillah, dressing up in festive costumes , eating hamantashen and giving gifts  of food and drink to others (Shalach Manot).  With a little creativity, you can make this holiday more eco-friendly.  Below are some suggestions: Do a clothing/costume exchange with friends: Instead of buying a new costume for the holiday, gather with friends (both adults ...

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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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Rededicating Ourselves to Helping The Environment and the Poor During the Holiday Season

By Guest Blogger Maggie McCarthy,  JEI Environmental Intern   The winter months provide several occasions for celebration. Hanukkah is the festival of lights and celebrates the victory of the Jewish people over religious persecution.  The secular New Year is a time for reflection and renewal.  Though we find ample opportunity for gratitude during these holidays, many in our local community struggle with hunger and poverty. These issues result from, not only a lack of resources, but also from the mounting environmental crisis. Tumultuous environmental condit...

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Chanukah and Vegetarianism

                       Chanukah and Vegetarianism  Jews can enhance their celebrations of the beautiful and spiritually meaningful holiday of Chanukah by making it a time to begin striving even harder to live up to Judaism’s highest moral values and teachings by moving toward a vegetarian (and preferably a vegan) diet. Please consider: 1. According to the Book of Maccabees, some Maccabees lived on plant foods since they were unable to get kosher meat when they hid in the mountains to avoid capture. 2. The foods associated with Channukah, ...

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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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The spirit of Hakhel gives hope for unity

On Chol Hamoed Sukkot, we held the closing events of the Israeli Shmita Initiative. We carried our Hakhel Treaty on a three-day journey of events, from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem: collecting the lessons of the Shmita year and calling for the renewal of the covenant between all sectors of Israeli society. Whenever we stopped, we participated in mass events, with a clear message of unity and connection in the spirit of Hakhel. The journey began at the port of Tel Aviv, as part of the opening event of the Hakhel BaNamal festival in conjunction with Beit Tefilah Israeli. ...

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“So come do Shabbat (of the land) with us” – Did we accept the invitation?

Local Shmita From the start of the Shmita year I made it my habit to spend a few days in one place or another with our “Shmita tent” – a broad, welcoming space offering people “time out” for relaxation, eating “the fruit of the land,” swapping books (we travel with a library from which people may take books), and listening and talking about our social dreams, especially those relating to the Shmita values. Many people came into the tent specifically to talk about how they personally chose to bring the Shmita into their lives: they often ask the question, "Is ...

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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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Make a Bigger Difference: Environmental Action for your House of Worship/Life/Community

Learn more about how we all can make a difference in addressing climate change--hear keynote speaker Don Corrigan, Professor of Media Law and Global and Environmental Journalism, Webster University, followed by two break out panels on "greening your house of worship" and "greening your life and community."  Co-sponsored by Jewish Environmental Initiative, a committee of the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis, Missouri Interfaith Power & Light and US Green Building Council-Missouri Gateway Chapter.   Free and open to the community.

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