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


Blogs

Questions and Answers on Nutrition and Health

This article was originally written years ago, but the basic nutrition facts are still valid. CAUTION: The questions and answers below aim to stimulate consideration and discussion of issues related to diet and nutrition. They are not meant to take the place of professionsl diagnosis and advice. Hence, do not change medicines or other medical practices without the advice of a physician knowledgable about the effects of dietary changes. 1. How can people get key facts about nutrition and improved diets? The more information one has about health and nutrition the ...

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Two Health Studies That Could Change the World

There have been two major health studies in recent years that have the potential to radically affect medical practice. They dramatically show how dietary changes and other lifestyle changes can prevent and in some cases reverse diseases. The first study, the Lifestyle Heart Trial, was conducted by Dean Ornish, M. D. of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Salusito, California, and his medical colleagues. It's aim was to study if changes in diet, exercise, and stress levels can unblock clogged arteries and save lives, without the use of expensive surgical ...

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Our 2017 (5777) Collection of Earth Etudes for Elul

Introduction by Susan Levine~ Elul is the month before Rosh Hashanah, a time when we review our lives and think about how we will live the coming year. And during Elul this year, we have seen three category 4 hurricanes (Harvey, Irma, and Maria) wreak havoc in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and several other Caribbean islands. The scientists have blamed increased ocean temperatures for the high winds and rising floodwaters. What other evidence do we need to believe that climate change is real? Our earth etudes actually connect our earth with the spirit of Judaism--Tikkun ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 26 – Three Levels of Holiness

by Rabbi David Seidenberg~ In the Torah, three things are called "shabbat shabbaton" – the seventh day, Yom Kippur, and Shmitah (the Sabbatical year). Agnon, in his book The Days of Awe, shares a teaching from Rabbi Tzvi Hakohen of Rymanov about this. The rabbi was asked, if both Yom Kippur and the Sabbath itself are called "shabbat shabbaton", how is Yom Kippur more special? And he answered, the seventh day is called "shabbat shabbaton l’adonai" – a sabbath of sabbaths for God. Yom Kippur is called "shabbat shabbaton lakhem" – a sabbath of sabbaths for all of ...

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Shmita Revival: The Reconsideration and Expansion of Sacred Land

  David Krantz will be speaking at the Mountain and Sacred Landscape Conference at The New School in New York City on Friday, April 21 from 8:30 to 10:00 am. David is a National Science Foundation IGERT Fellow and a Wrigley Fellow researching solar-energy policy and faith-based environmentalism. He also runs the environmental nonprofit, Aytzim: Ecological Judaism, parent organization of Jewcology.org, the Green Zionist Alliance, EcoJews, and Shomrei Breishit: Rabbis and Cantors for the Earth. He serves on the board of directors of Interfaith Moral Action on ...

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Should Jews be Vegetarians, or Even Vegans, Chapter 13 of MY Book, “Who Stole My Religion?”

And God said, “Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of the earth, and every fruit tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for food...” – Genesis 1:29 The dietary laws are designed to teach us compassion and to lead us gently to vegetarianism. – Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, Chief Rabbi of Efrat, Israel What was the necessity for the entire procedure of ritual slaughter? For the sake of self-discipline. It is far more appropriate for man not to eat meat; only if he has a strong desire for meat does the Torah permit it, and ...

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Judaism and Animal Rights- Chapter 12 of My Book, “Who Stole My Religion?”

JUDAISM AND ANIMAL RIGHTS There are probably no creatures that require more the protective Divine word against the presumption of man than the animals, which like man have sensations and instincts, but whose body and powers are nevertheless subservient to man. In relation to them man so easily forgets that injured animal muscle twitches just like human muscle, that the maltreated nerves of an animal sicken like human nerves, that the animal being is just as sensitive to cuts, blows, and beating as man. Thus man becomes the torturer of the animal soul. – Rabbi ...

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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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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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Elul: A Time to Start Shifting Our Imperiled Planet onto a Sustainable Path


The Hebrew month of Elul has arrived. It is the traditional time for heightened introspection, a chance to consider teshuva, improvements in our lives, before the “Days of Awe,” the days of judgment, the “High Holidays” of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The shofar is blown every morning (except on Shabbat) in synagogues during the month of Elul to awaken us from slumber, to remind us to consider where we are in our lives and to urge us to make positive changes. How should we respond to Elul today? How should we respond when: Science academies worldwide, 97% ...

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Restoring The Overlooked Mitzvah Of Tsa’ar Ba’alei Chaim  

While tsa’ar ba’alei chaim (the mandate not to cause “sorrow to living creatures”) is a Torah prohibition, many religious Jews seem to be unaware of it or to not consider it of any great importance. Some examples reinforce this assertion: Upon reading an article about my efforts to get Jewish teachings on animals onto the Jewish agenda, a member of my modern Orthodox congregation was incredulous. “What? Jews should be concerned about animals?” she exclaimed. Some years ago, I was at a Sukkot gathering at which there were some ducks in an adjacent backya...

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Relating Tisha B’Av to Today’s Environmental Crises

Tisha B'Av (the 9th day of the month of Av) reminds us that over 2,000 years ago Jews failed to heed the warnings of the prophet Jeremiah, with the result that the first Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed, one of the many negative things that occurred on that day, including the destruction of the second Temple as well. Today there are many “Jeremiahs” warning us that now it is not only a temple in Jerusalem, but the entire world that is threatened by climate change and its effects, species extinction, soil erosion, destruction of tropical rain forests and other ...

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“Who Stole My Religion?” has been published!

HERE'S WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT THIS UPDATED BOOK BY RICHARD SCHWARTZ. The many endorsements below are included to show that it is not just the author, but also many other people – of various perspectives – who think their religion has been “stolen,” but who still believe that religious values have relevance to current issues. It is our hope that the voices of the people who submitted the statements below, as well as many more voices, will be raised to help revitalize Judaism and other religions and to apply religious values effectively in response to the ...

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Restoring Eden: Behar and Bechukotai

The loss of Eden near the beginning of Genesis sets in motion the entire saga of the Torah. In fact, the Torah can be read as one long quest to regain Eden. But what does a restored Eden look like? One of Eden’s characteristics was that none of the animals ate each other, and, more specifically, human beings had no permission to eat any of the other animals. Instead, human beings and all the animals shared the plants for food. This motif of sharing and non-violence between species is used as a signal throughout Tanakh (scripture) to let us know when we are talking ...

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Lag B’Omer & Vegetarianism (or Veganism): Making Every Day Count

By Daniel Brook & Richard H. Schwartz Lag B’Omer is considered a minor holiday in the Jewish calendar, but even a minor holiday is worth celebrating. A great way to celebrate Lag B’Omer is through veganism, as Lag B’Omer is deeply connected to veganism. If not quite ready for veganism, a shift to vegetarianism would be a great initial step. Lag B’Omer represents the 33rd day of the counting of the omer, the fifty days from Passover and Shavuot, reminding us of the link between these two holidays. While Passover celebrates our freedom from slavery, Shavuot ...

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Is Eating Meat a Mitzvah that Comes from an Aveirah (Transgression)?

Judaism places much stress on performing mitzvot, carrying out God's commandments. However, a "mitzvah haba'ah b'aveirah" - a mitzvah based on an aveirah (sin or "illegitimate means") - is forbidden and is not considered a mitzvah. For example, if one uses a stolen lulav and esrog on Sukkot, it is not a proper mitzvah. Similarly, if money is stolen, it cannot be used to give tzedakah (charity). In fact, the sages indicate that it is better not to do the mitzvah at all than to do a mitzvah haba'ah b'aveirah. Eating meat is arguably a mitzvah haba'ah b'aveirah, actually ...

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Inconsistencies Between Animal-Based Diets and Basic Jewish Values

And God said: "Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree that has seed-yielding fruit -- to you it shall be for food." (Genesis 1:29) There are many inconsistencies between basic Jewish values and the realities of animal-based diets: 1. While Judaism mandates that people should be very careful about preserving their health and their lives, numerous scientific studies have linked animal-based diets directly to heart disease, stroke, many forms of cancer, and other chronic degenerative diseases. 2. ...

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The Surprising Views of the Rav (Rabbi Yosef Soloveitchik) on Vegetarianism

This article was written with the editorial asistance of Rabbi Dovid Sears Rabbi Joseph Ber (Yosef Dov) Soloveitchik, simply known as "the Rav" by his wide circle of colleagues, students, and admirers, was generally regarded as one of the leading religious philosophers, Talmud scholars, and rabbinic leaders of the 20th century. He stressed that Torah values were in many ways compatible with world culture and secular studies, and promoted Jewish interaction with the broader community -- while asserting the need to preserve the purity of halakhah (religious law) and the ...

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Alon Tal tells why it is important to vote for Green Israel Now!

Last chance to help us make Israel a greener, environmentally healthier land: Until the end of April you can vote online for the upcoming World Zionist Congress. The results determine, among other things, the division of power at the Jewish National Fund’s international board. For the past decade I have sat on the JNF board, largely because of the support and intervention of the Green Zionist Alliance – a wonderful group of young environmentalists who decided to get involved and improve Israel’s environmental performance. This support has allowed me to ...

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My activities in Israel to increase awareness about climate threats and veg diets

Below is the April 24 Jerusalem Post ‘In Jerusalem’ article about my vegetarian/vegan activities in Israel followed by my Times of Israel blog with links to YouTube videos of my talks, interviews, and other veg activities there.   Kol tuv,   Richard   ====   Apocalypse Cow Jerusalem Post article [In Jerusalem section] April 24, 2015 By Gavriel Fiske [Corrections in brackets [ ]] Reducing meat consumption could help avert a global disaster, according to Jewish vegetarian activist Richard Schwartz  Octogenarian vegetarianism activist Richard Schwartz, an Orthodox ...

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