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A selection of initiatives, blogs, resources and communities on Jewcology which focus on Jewish education.


Blogs

Earth Etude for Elul 24: Harachaman for Shmita

by Rabbi David Seidenberg As we approach Rosh Hashanah, we are also fast approaching the next Shmita year, when all the land in Israel was supposed to rest, all debts were supposed to be canceled, and all food was to be shared, even with the wild animals. Just like Elul through the High Holidays, the Shmita year itself was a long journey of t’shuvah, returning to God, during which our sense of business-as-usual could fall away, revealing what it means to be in community with each other and with the land. A human world that observed Shmita fully is a world that ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 15: Counting to the Next Shmita Year

by David Krantz Among our more under-appreciated traits, we Jews are counters. We count for a prayer quorum, we count the omer, we count the days of the months to know when our holidays are. We might know the days of the week by their names – Sunday, Monday — but in Hebrew they are Yom Rishon, the First Day, and Yom Sheni, the second day. And before borrowing their current names from the Babylonian calendar, the Jewish months were numbered. What we now know as Elul was once the Sixth Month, leading to the Seventh Month that we now call Tishrei. Counting can ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 11: Morning Prayer

by Judith Felsen I awaken to a world uncertain of its future …Your will…??? ~ I perceive an earth in conflict and divided …Divine design…??? ~ I envision a tomorrow wondering and doubtful Heavenly plan…??? ~ I imagine next year’s future knowing it may not arrive Exalted humbling…??? ~ I experience uncertainty life’s newness in unknowns Celestial opening…??? ~ I dissolve myself in guidance fused in trust Divine order… ??? ~ I enroll as one in service building earth anew M...

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Earth Etude for Elul 5: Choosing Life as Nerds for the Earth

by Harvey Michaels ~Moses’ final message from G-d: This day…I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.  For millennia we have reflected on what it means to choose life; realizing that it is not always our life we’re choosing – our choices are more about our children and theirs; our communities, and our world. What does it mean to Choose Life for the Earth?  In recent years, I’m privileged to ask this question to classrooms of talented young people, and learned that when ...

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Elul is Coming and So Are the Etudes by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen We are rolling around to Elul now on the Jewish calendar. It feels too soon, and yet, it also feels right on time. Too soon, because Elul always comes too soon. I'm never really ready. And right on time, because it's impossible to be ready.  The clock ticks, the calendar days fly by, and IT arrives, whatever IT may be. A wedding, a birth, death, the start of a new school year, Shabbat, a difficult conversation – whatever it is we are awaiting, it always comes too soon – or sometimes not ...

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Four-page review of my latest book, VEGAN REVOLUTION: SAVING OUR WORLD, REVITALIZING JUDAISM, in the semi-annual journal of the Central Conference of American rabbis (CCAR), a publication that goes to US reform rabbis

The Vegan Revolution by Richard Schwartz (Brooklyn, NY: Lantern Publishing and Media, 2020), 272 pp. I’ve been a vegetarian for forty years. Inspired by a college boyfriend, I then fully committed to it the year I was at HUC-JIRJerusalem, walking down the meat aisle of the Old City Shuk with its hanging animal carcasses. I married a man who was already a vegetarian (thank goodness no “training” required!) and we raised three vegetarian children who now, as adults, have all retained their commitment to it. In true family dynamics, two of ...

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Honors thesis on the beginnings of Jewish environmental and vegetarian activism in the 1970s and 1980s

Renewing and Recycling: The Formation of American Jewish Environmentalism in the 1970s and 1980s Gabrielle Plotkin Advisor: Keith Woodhouse B.A. Thesis for Honors in History Northwestern University May 3, 2021 ii Abstract Few environmental historians have considered how American Jews interacted with the postwar environmental movement. Those that have, often characterize American Jews as “urban” and separate from nature. However, I demonstrate that American Jewry’s involvement in left-leaning politics and inclination to both ...

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Purim and Veganism (followed by my Purimshpiel)

     Purim and Veganism The joyous festival of Purim shares many connections with veganism.      According to the Talmud (Megilla 13a), Queen Esther, the heroine of the Purim story, was a vegetarian while she lived in the palace of King Achashverosh. She was thus able to avoid violating the kosher dietary laws while keeping her Jewish identity secret.      During Purim it is a mitzvah to give mat’not evyonim (added charity to poor and hungry people). In contrast to these acts of sharing and compassion, animal...

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Tu Bishvat Tu Tu Tu Tu with Ms. Eve baby shark tune !

  • February 3, 2021
  • Member since 2021

Tu Bishvat Tu Tu Tu Tu with Ms. Eve baby shark tune ! Join Ms. Eve 🌟 and let's get ready to celebrate Tu BiShvat 🍃🌳🌺 singing and moving to the tune of baby shark in English, Hebrew, and Spanish! Únete a Ms. Eve y recibe Tu BiShvat 🌱🌲🌻 cantando en español, hebreo e inglés! https://youtu.be/LAlolqGM7jk

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A “Green Sabbath Project” aiming to combat climate threats

A message from Jonathan Schorsch: Dear Friend,I would like to introduce you to my initiative, the Green Sabbath Project (www.greensabbathproject.net).  In brief, the Green Sabbath Project sees a weekly green sabbath or earth day as a day on which we strive to minimize our environmental impact as much as possible -- leaving things alone, “doing nothing” -- based on the biblical command to “do no work of any kind,” which was elaborated in the rabbinic concept of the 39 types of forbidden labors.  Whether commemorated as a secular, spiritual or ...

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Eighteen Reasons Jews Think They Should Not Be Vegetarians or Vegans (and Why They Are Wrong)

Below are 18 reasons why many of my fellow Jews think they should not be vegetarian or vegan (henceforth veg*an) and my rebuttals to the reasons: 1) The Torah teaches that humans are granted dominion over animals (Genesis 1:26), giving us a warrant to treat animals in any way we wish.Response: Jewish tradition interprets “dominion” as responsible guardianship or stewardship: we are called upon to be co-workers with God in improving the world. Dominion does not mean that people have the right to wantonly exploit animals, and it certainly does not permit us to breed ...

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Interview of me about my newest book, VEGAN REVOLUTION: SAVING THE WORLD, REVITALIZING JUDAISM

Shalom,     An interview of me about my just published book, VEGAN REVOLUTION: SAVING THE WORLD, REVITALIZING JUDAISM on “Vegan Stories Podcast’ can be heard by visiting veganstoriespodcast.com. .   The promotion message by interviewer Jeff Rosenblum is:     I am so proud and honored to share Episode 7 of Vegan Stories Podcast (published this morning) with my guest, Richard H. Schwartz, who I interviewed (remotely from Israel) last Tuesday (the day his new book was published).  I'll let the title, subtitle and, of course, Episode 7 (see link below) speak ...

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New Year for Animals Zoom Discussion in USA

You are cordially invited to attend a Zoom discussion of the historic, potentially transformative initiative to restore the ancient New Year for Animals and to transform it into a day devoted to increasing awareness of Jewish teachings about compassion to animals and how far current realities are from these teachings. It will also consider how animal-based diets and agriculture seriously violate basic Jewish teachings about preserving human health, treating animals with compassion, protecting the environment, conserving natural resources, helping hungry people, and ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 1: Elul is here

by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen I turned inward with the lockdown. I didn't want to go anywhere. My garden saved me. I worked outside almost every day. In early summer, I started again to lead outdoor services with small groups. But no walks on my own, in nature. After the depths of despair of Tisha B'Av, as the weeks of consolation began, knowing Elul was approaching, I started to turn outward. I spent a week of early mornings in a little-traveled conservation area, before the heat settled in. Reveling in the blooming flowers ...

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Get Used to Wearing Masks.

by Rabbi Dr. Eric Lankin Get Used to Wearing Masks. (courtesy of the United Nations). I am afraid that we will be wearing masks for a long time to come. And it won’t be solely because of a viral pandemic. Soon it may be because of the air quality of our planet. There is a clear scientific consensus on a human-driven warming of the earth, with carbon-based pollution released in the environment as the major contributor. As shown by data from NASA and NOAA, the last few decades have seen a sharp spike in global average temperature, and the increase of carbon-...

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A Vegetarian New Year

by Susan Levine ~ The New Year, January 1 of the Gregorian calendar, is the same as Rosh Hashanah for me. I think about things I have done over my lifetime and the most important thing I’ve tried to do is to become a vegetarian. But let me start at the beginning: Both my parents grew up in kosher homes and when they got married, they had a kosher home. But it wasn’t kosher enough for my father’s mother who would visit my parents but wouldn’t touch the food. My mom didn’t see the point of being kosher if her mother-in-law still wouldn’t eat in her ...

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Growing Torah for Adults and Children in the Orthodox Community: Two Orthodox Environmental Organizations Merge to Maximize Impact

GrowTorah and Canfei Nesharim, two Torah-based environmental non-profit organizations, have merged into one entity, effective Dec. 10, to strengthen their combined efforts and maximize their impact within the Orthodox Jewish community.

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L’Shanah Tova and a thank you to our Earth Etudes for Elul Contributors

Elul is the month before Rosh Hashanah, a time when we review our lives and think about how we will live the coming year. Many of these earth etudes actually connect our earth with the spirit of Judaism–Tikkun Olam, repairing the world. We would like to thank Rabbi Katy Z. Allen for bringing together these awe-inspiring contributors, whose essays, poems and thoughts help us understand the meaning of our lives and how we can repair our world. And our Earth Etudes can be helpful throughout the year. So you can read them here: Earth Etude for Elul 1: Rabbi ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 27 — A Vegetarian Journey

by Susan Levine ~ When I think about Elul, I think about things I have done over my lifetime and the most important thing I’ve tried to do is to become a vegetarian. But let me start at the beginning: Both my parents grew up in kosher homes and when they got married, they had a kosher home. But it wasn’t kosher enough for my father’s mother who would visit my parents but wouldn’t touch the food. My mom didn’t see the point of being kosher if her mother-in-law still wouldn’t eat in her home. Instead she went full treif. As a child I pretty much ate ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 25*– To the Silent Stones

by Sarah Chandler ~ Do you count your days in footsteps? In strollers? In sunlight? Cement and concrete Below my feet I take a peek at the patterns And the places Where tiny rocks gather Solid, safe, secure What was it was like To move your entire being From a quarry of friends To this square of sidewalk? City stones Bricks, brownstone, marble Are your family now You The eyes of Our neighborhood My commute My shabbat walk Sometimes the trees Insist that their roots Decorate your patterns And Your cracks keep my steps whole Each journey down the ...

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