Israel / Zionism / Middle East Subscribe

A selection of initiatives, blogs, resources and communities on Jewcology which focus on Israel, Zionism and the Middle East.


Blogs

Climate on Rosh Hashanah – an existential threat to Israel

Protecting Israel doesn't just mean getting off of Arab petroleum, it means getting off of all petroleum. If you're not advocating for that, you might as well be calling for the destruction of the state.

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A Green Opportunity to Share Love with Israel – Steven’s Garden


My Oh Mayim: Rethinking Water Usage in a Land Flowing with Milk and Honey, but Little Water

By Noam Dolgin. Ushavtem mayim b'sason — draw water in joy — is a classic song danced to by millions of Jews at celebrations worldwide. When we sing and dance about water, we are praying that Israel will have enough for the coming year. Currently, demand for water is high, and Israel's fresh-water resources are quickly drying up. Israeli society is working hard to solve the region's water shortages before they become a crisis. Developments are being made to conserve water in agriculture, industry and home. There are initiatives to reduce ...

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Addressing the Myth of Israeli Water Hegemony

Mark Zeitoun's 'Power and Water in the Middle East: The Hidden Politics of the Palestinian-Israeli Water Conflict' Book review by Dr. Alon Tal. Of the five controversies that Israeli and Palestinian negotiators left to be considered in the final status talks, the one revolving around water is, presumably, the most readily resolved. While the right of return and the status of Jerusalem are not given to speedy resolution, the water issue can be resolved by technological fixes, pragmatism, ever-improving science and better management — all of ...

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Heavenly and Earthly Jerusalem: Can Pilgrims Leave a Positive Footprint?

By Naomi Tsur. NAGOYA, Japan — Jerusalem faces unique challenges and opportunities. Conservation of our natural and built heritage is a solemn commitment, but we must also assess and implement the potential for urban revitalization. We need to expand our mass-transit system (the first of its kind in Israel), encourage active transport (biking and walking) and focus on development of the city's strengths, such as cultural and religious tourism, while not neglecting to address its weaknesses, in order to provide comprehensive solutions for solid waste and ...

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Red Heifers, Mint Potatoes and the New Wheat: The Future of Food in Israel

By Sarah Friedman. BEIT DAGAN, Israel (Dec. 7, 2012) — By 2050, agricultural yields will have to increase by 50 to 70 percent in the developed world and 100 percent in the developing world to meet the food needs of the 9.3 billion people on the planet, according to Prof. Ada Rafaeli, associate director of Israel's Agricultural Research Organization, the research arm of the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. The organization is marking its 90th anniversary this week with a conference on the coming world food crisis. Click here to ...

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GZA Leads KKL-JNF Effort Against Fracking in Israel

By David Krantz. NEW YORK (Sept. 16, 2011) — Hydraulic fracturing and in-situ retorting for oil in Israel should be banned in Israel pending further research into the environmental effects of the relatively new fossil-fuel extraction techniques, according to a new report issued by Israel’s Keren Kayemet L’Yisrael / Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF) at the initiation of the Green Zionist Alliance. Click here to continue reading this article

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Grapes, Goats and Open Spaces: Sustainability in Settling the Land of Israel

By Rabbi Yonatan Neril. At different times in history, Jews have engaged in growing crops, tending fruit trees and shepherding animals in the Land of Israel. These activities were critical to provide food to sustain Jews living in the land. Yet they also may have presented challenges to environmental sustainability in the Land of Israel. Jewish tradition can teach us about sustaining the land over time, both in pre-modern times and today. Click here to continue reading this article

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Environmental Diplomacy and the Middle East

By Rabbi Michael Cohen. KIBBUTZ KETURA (Dec. 26, 2009) — The folk rock musician James Taylor laments in one of his songs, “And in between what might have been and what has come to pass, a misbegotten guess alas and bits of broken glass.” The ongoing tragic saga of the Arab-Israeli conflict can be summed up in this poignant line. This conflict repeats its refrain of violence and dehumanization over and over again. Like a song, its lyrics do not change. Click here to continue reading this article

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A Black Day for the American Green Party: Why BDS is a Bad Move

By Dr. Daniel Orenstein For most of my professional career, I have researched environmental issues in Israel. While issues of water scarcity and loss of open spaces loom large among the country’s problems, the more I study the more I’ve become convinced that many of its environmental problems are rooted in underlying socio-political problems. This could be direct — as when the inequitable distribution of land resources favoring Jews over Arabs leads to wasteful use of land resources — or this could be indirect, as when the ongoing conflict ...

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GZA-Hechalutz FREE Birthright Trip to Israel in June

Interested in a FREE trip to Israel with a focus on the environment, this is the trip for you! The application deadline is today — Monday, March 31. Visit our website to for info on the application: http://www.greenzionism.org/greenisrael Select IsraelExperts as the Trip Organizer, June - Green Israel as the Trip Selection & enter Referral Code GZA30.

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Uplifting People and Planet

Exciting news! Just in time for Tu b’Shevat, Canfei Nesharim and Jewcology are proud to announce the launch of a new ebook exploring traditional Jewish teachings on the environment, Uplifting People and Planet: Eighteen Essential Jewish Lessons on the Environment, edited by Rabbi Yonatan Neril and Evonne Marzouk. This ebook is the most comprehensive study in English of how Jewish traditional sources teach us to protect our natural resources and preserve the environment. From food to trees, energy to water, wealth to biodiversity, the book studies eighteen ...

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Hey American Rabbis: Wake Up and Smell the Cruelty

From their perch in America, many Diaspora Jews look at the Orthodox Rabbinate in Israel as a bunch of Neanderthals who use clubs to beat back any modern innovation or progressive idea. No offense to any Neanderthals. But The Beet-Eating Heeb, for one, might have to revise his assessment of Israel’s Rabbinical leadership. On one issue that is near and dear to BEH’s heart, and probably to yours as well, the newly elected Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi of Israel recently made a very enlightened statement. And BEH is all for giving credit where credit is ...

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Environment & Nature Tour of Israel

Israel Naturally: Apr. 29–May 8, 2014 A UNIQUE ENVIRONMENT TOUR IN ISRAEL Connect to your roots through an active nature & eco-tour led by The Natural Bible author Baruch Sienna. Discover beauty and meaning through the lens of nature and the environment. Experience the interrelationship between Jewish spirituality, nature, the Bible, the Land of Israel, and the environment. Explore the Israel rarely seen by tourists. Highlights include: • ...

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Making Dance Green

By Stacey Menchel Kussell, director of Renewal: A Film About Art and Ecology Contemporary ballet and environmentalism are not topics that often go hand-in-hand. That is until you meet Israel’s Vertigo Dance Company. The dance group’s unique approach to ecological activism is the inspiration for my new film Renewal. Dance is one of Israel’s most impressive art forms, and it engages people worldwide regardless of language. Renewal is an opportunity for new audiences to learn about a unique and powerful aspect of Israeli culture, and gain new ...

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Jewish Energy Guide – Renewable Energy Policy in Israel: Past and Present

By Naomi Lipstein and Dr. Alon Tal The ability to harness energy has been essential to life since the start of humanity. This ability, of course, has come in many different forms and has gone through massive transformations over the centuries. In the 18th and 19th centuries, coal fired the steam engine — arguably the most vital technology of the Industrial Revolution. It was the discovery of oil that allowed the revolution to flourish even further in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, in essence altering civilization. Today, there is little we do without ...

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Green Your Conference

Conferences offer the opportunity to meet new people, exchange ideas and learn about new developments in your fields. They also tend to be very wasteful of natural resources — but they don’t have to be. The following tips would help to green conferences of all sizes — even ones as large as the World Zionist Congress and the Jewish Federations’ General Assembly. Click here to continue reading this article.

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Sandy, Noah, Abraham and Bibi Send a Message about Climate Change

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, those of us who work at the Green Zionist Alliance from New York and New Jersey have been fortunate to have been able to move to safer ground. But in the wake of climate change, there is no other planet to which we can go. Yet if we succeed in what has been our communal effort at unintentionally warming our atmosphere, and thereby wrecking havoc on our climate, then Sandy is just the beginning — for New York, for Israel, and for the world. There is scientific consensus: To stave off the worst effects, we have to act now. ...

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Green Israel Shabbaton: Canoeing and Camping in the Green Mountains

Canoe through the wilderness of Vermont's Green Mountains with the Green Zionist Alliance! When: Sept. 7 — 9, 2012 Where: The Green Mountains of southern Vermont, just ~3½ hours drive from New York or Boston Join us as we revel in the beauty of early fall in the Green Mountains of southern Vermont. Enjoy a Shabbat outdoors with warm days and cool nights. Learn about environmental challenges facing Israel as well as Jewish perspectives on global environmental issues. We will paddle to a secluded campsite on a mountain lake where we ...

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The Yarkon Disaster: 15 Years Later

Fifteen years ago four Australian athletes died when the bridge they were crossing collapsed over the Yarkon River in Israel. But only one of them died from the fall. The other three were killed by something more unexpected: The river's pollution. Click here to continue reading this article.

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