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


Blogs

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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Vote for Green Israel in the WZC Election before April 30th!

You can support the Israel you want to see. All American Jews can vote in the World Zionist Congress election going on right now. One of the most common questions, we get is why it costs $10 to vote. As Mirele Goldsmith, a Green Israel slate member answers: "The American Zionist Movement has contracted with an independent company to run the online election.  This is to insure that the election is fair.  The registration fee is being used exclusively to pay for the election.  It is not a donation to the WZO.  I wish there was no fee, but it is a small price to pay ...

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Eden Village is hiring farm educator apprentices for 2015 growing season!

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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Review of “The Vision of Eden: Animal Welfare and Vegetarianism in Jewish Law and Mysticism, ” by Rabbi David Sears

David Sears. The Vision of Eden: Animal Welfare and Vegetarianism in Jewish Law and Mysticism, Create Space Independent Publishing Platform; 2nd edition (December 29, 2014), 400 pages Reviewed by Richard H. Schwartz, Ph.D. Currently most Jews eat meat and other animal products and relatively few Jews seem concerned about the cruel mistreatment of animals on factory farms and in other areas. However, David Sears landmark book, now in its just released second edition, with its many examples of Jewish teachings about compassion for animals, has the potential to change ...

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Hazon Food Conference

Join the thinkers and doers of the Jewish Food Movement to explore and experience a new angle on food. 4 days of kosher farm-to-table food in a pluralistic Jewish community and a rockin’ New Year’s Eve “Butterfly Masquerade” party Rabbis and leaders in Jewish thought bringing to life history, ethics, Jewish text, meaningful prayer, and more Expert cooking demonstrations and hands-on learning with renowned chefs Homesteading workshops with farmers and city folk for backyard chickens and beekeeping Conversations and take-home resources about food justice ...

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Start-Up Moshav: Growing our Demonstration Garden in Berkeley, California


Confessions of a Shemitah Skeptic

Two weeks ago, on Rosh Hashanah, we marked not only the beginning of another year in the Jewish calendar, but the beginning of Shemitah, the Jewish sabbatical year.  Every seven years, Jewish farmers in Israel are commanded to let their lands lie fallow, not to plant, plow, prune trees or in any way improve the land, to harvest only what they can eat themselves (from perennial plants that do not need to be sown each year), and to leave the rest for whoever wants to pick them. In addition, at the end of the Shemitah year, we are commanded to release debts. Shemitah ...

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Sukkot of Shmita Resources and Events

SUKKOT AND SHMITA RESOURCES AND EVENTS for 2014-15 contributed by all the organizations and initiatives on “the Map” http://jewcology.org/map-of-initiatives/ Here’s a quick bit of Sukkot Torah to start us off: “The four species of the lulav represent the four types of ecosystems in the land of Israel: desert (date palm), hills (myrtle), river corridors (willow), and sh’feilah, the lowlands (etrog). Each species has to be fresh, with the very tips intact – they can’t be dried out, because they hold the water of last year’s rain. Together, they make a ...

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


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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Yovel: Divine Sparks in New York

By Yael Schonzeit "One generation goes, another comes," reads Kohelet (Ecclesiastes), "but the Earth remains the same forever." The sun will rise, the wind will blow and the rivers will continue to flow into the sea, uncontrollable no matter what we do. As the most recent natural phenomenon of Sandy has shown us, nature is so much larger than us. The Earth is unpredictable and holds endless power and strength. We as humans tend to forget that we are partners with God in creation. Part of our role is to maintain the planet's homeostasis, to ...

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Is it Jewish to be Green?

To many this may seem to be a stupid, or rather a redundant question: Should Jews support democracy, freedom of speech and freedom of worship? I am sure that no one will dispute the fact that climate change, alongside the dwindling of the world's resources, constitutes one of the burning issues of our time. So let me rephrase the question: Should we be committed environmentalists because we are Jews, and does our faith and its practices prescribe our undertaking to address these issues, as part of our obligation to repair the world? Click here to continue ...

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Get Your Hands Dirty at the Nevatim-Sprouts Conference!

Nature-Based Workshops for Educators in Jewish Preschools, Day Schools and Synagogues Reisterstown, MD – May 5, 2014 -- Pearlstone Center is holding its 4th annual Nevatim-Sprouts Conference, Sunday, July 13th through Wednesday July 16th. This professional development conference brings together early childhood, day school, and religious school educators from around the country for training in Jewish garden and environmental education. Participants learn the basics of educational garden design, share lesson plans and Jewish, environmental curricula, tour the ...

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The Urban Adamah Fellowship Now Accepting 2014 Applications

Connect to Something Bigger: Earth, Community, Social Justice, Jewish Spirituality The Urban Adamah Fellowship, based in Berkeley, CA, is a three-month residential training program for young adults (ages 21–31) that combines urban organic farming, social justice training and progressive Jewish learning and living within the setting of an intentional community. Through the operation of Urban Adamah’s one-acre organic farm and internships with social justice organizations, fellows gain significant skills, training and experience in all aspects of ...

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