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A selection of initiatives, blogs, resources and communities on Jewcology which focus on jewish identity.


Blogs

My Response To An Article Claiming “The US Left Is the Greatest Existential Threat Facing Israel”

This article is a response to an article, “The US Left is the greatest existential threat facing Israel,” that appeared in the Arutz Sheva Israel National News publication on July 2, 2018. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/22395 A very strong majority of Democratic politicians strongly support Israel and believe that Israel has the right to exist and to defend itself against terrorism and military attacks. Just as opposing Trump’s policies does not make one anti-American, opposing some of Israel’s current positions, as many Israelis, ...

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Why Israel Should Not Be Lauding President Trump

  Of course, Jerusalem is the capital of Israel; it always has been and always will be. But the vast majority of the world’s nations will not acknowledge this unless it is part of a negotiated agreement ending the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. So was it wise for President Trump to have the US embassy moved to Jerusalem now? And, given all of Trump’s negatives, the fact that a strong majority of US Jews have very negative opinions about him, and the widespread protests that are occurring following the moves, should Israel be lauding Trump? —————...

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Summary of my efforts to help revitalise Judaism and heal the world

     Below is a summary of my writings and activities that aim to revitalise judaism and help shift our imperiled planet onto a sustainable path.They are based on my strong belief that Jewish values can make major differences and are needed perhaps more than ever before.       I welcome your comments and suggestions and would be very happy if you would join in my efforts and/or suggest others who might be interested in doing so.  The second edition of my book, “Judaism and Global Survival,” can be freely read at www.jewishVeg.org/schwartz. It discusses ...

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My Review of “Jewish Law as Rebellion: A Plea for Religious Authenticity and Halachic Courage,” by Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo

      Time to Revitalise Judaism: A Respectful Challenge to the Jewish Establishment      Review of “Jewish Law as Rebellion: A Plea for Religious Authenticity and Halachic Courage,” by Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo      As author of “Who Stole My Religion? Revitalising Judaism and Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal Our Imperiled Planet,” I was immediately intrigued by the title of Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo’s new book. The idea that Jews should not blindly accept the status quo but should use Jewish law as a source for rebelling again complacency, ...

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No Other Gods: The Politics of the Ten Commandments

A Book Review of No Other Gods: The Politics of the Ten Commandments By Ana Levy-Lyons Published by  Center Street/Hachette 2018 Reviewed by Rabbi Natan Margalit, Organic Torah Originally published in Tikkun Magazine (link) It is evident from the first page that this book is swimming against the current in our contemporary political and spiritual landscape. Author Ana Levy-Lyons tells a story in her preface about how one of her teachers back in high school liked to entertain the kids by listing oxymorons: pretty ugly, jumbo shrimp, etc, and he sometimes ...

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In Defense of Jewish Liberals

There have been many recent articles and letters in The Jerusalem Post critical of Jews who are liberals. Somehow the word “liberal” has become a negative one for many Jews. However, there is much in Jewish history and teachings that is consistent with Jews being liberals and even radicals, in the best sense of that word. From its beginning, Judaism has protested against greed, injustice and the misuse of power. Abraham, the first Hebrew, smashed the idols of his father even though his action challenged the common belief of the time (Genesis Rabbah, Chapter 38). He ...

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Passover: The Beginning of an Answer to Short-Circuit Thinking

After hearing the speeches given by brave, heart-broken teenagers at the March for Our Lives rallies, my heart can’t help but be broken as well. The plague of gun violence in this country is out of control and, as they have said, “enough is enough!” Yet, invariably, close behind hearing these speeches on the radio or reading about them in the newspaper, I get the balanced reporting about arguments from the pro-gun advocates. These pro-gun arguments invariably center around the idea that if the good guys have more guns and are trained to use them, then we’d all ...

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The Magic of Emergence

“The whole is greater than the sum of the parts” is an old adage, but it could be one of the most important keys to a healthy, meaningful life. People yearn to be a part of something. When we are a part of something, we feel whole. When we see how things connect and relate to form a whole, they make sense and resonate: they come alive. In 1973 I arrived at Camp Swig, a Reform Jewish summer camp in Big Basin, California as a shy 15 year old kid from Hawai`i. My parents were New York Jewish intellectuals who moved to Hawai`i when I was a baby. They wanted nothing more ...

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Biographies of Famous Jewish Vegetarians

This posting is chapter 11 of the 2011 3rd edition of my book, "Judaism and Vegetarianism." The complete text can be freely read at www.JewishVeg.org/schwartz. "Aside from the fact that both the original Garden of Eden and the messianic vision of the future reflect the vegetarian ideal in Judaism, it is of course such a dietary lifestyle that is most consonant with the goal and purpose of Torah to maximize our awareness, appreciation, and sensitivity to the Divine Presence in the world. It is therefore only natural for us to affirm as did Rav Kuk [Kook], the first ...

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Jewish Teachings on Human Rights and Responsibilities

This posting is from chapter 2 of the 2nd edition of my book, “Judaism and Global Survival" (Lantern Books, 2002) "One person (Adam) was created as the common ancestor of all people, for the sake of the peace of the human race, so that one should not be able to say to a neighbor, 'My ancestor was better than yours.' "One person was created to teach us the sanctity and importance of every life, for one who destroys a single life is considered by scripture to have destroyed an entire world, and one who saves a single life is considered by scripture to have saved an ...

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Looking to the Sky, Remembering Our Ideals

by Rabbi Natan Margalit ~Recently, I read an article in the New York Times Magazine that talked about the way that people do or say things, say, supporting a good cause or political opinion, not because they really believe in it, but because they want to signal to their social network that they are virtuous. Apparently, there is a popular new label for this behavior: “virtue signaling.” The author reports that this term is most often used by people on the right against people on the left (“Virtue Signaling Isn’t the Problem. Not Believing One Another Is,” ...

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Old Habits, New Opportunities

We are creatures of habit. Mostly, that’s a good thing. I almost never forget to brush my teeth, close the windows and lock the doors before I go to bed at night. In the morning I can almost sleep walk while I make my favorite breakfast (fried rice, sardines and kale… I know, it’s not a classic breakfast like cereal and milk, or eggs and toast, but I like it and the kids like it, too. My wife, not such a big fan of sardines…) But, as much as those habits help us stay on an even keel, too much habit can keep us from changes that we want to make. As we enter ...

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A New Kind of Community

My family and I just got back from ten days at our annual “dance camp.” This gathering, which has been happening for more than 30 years, is about dancing, but more so, it’s ten days of living like a village in a tight knit, inclusive and caring community. My oldest son had a great summer this year: Jewish wilderness camp, basketball camp, beaches and more. He loved all of them, but he said that dance camp was the best: it was because he got to hang out with a tight group of teens who spent a ton of time together dancing (he’s becoming a great salsa dancer!), ...

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Tree of Knowledge, Tree of Life

My work at Organic Torah starts with asking a question about chochma/Jewish wisdom: Must the Tree of Knowledge be separated from the Tree of Life? The Tree of Knowledge is what we have become used to in much of our Western education—it begins with breaking things apart into smallest components. Our education system is divided into discreet subjects: math, science, English—too often devoid of context and the vibrancy which comes from what Gregory Bateson called “the pattern which connects.” And if we go to college or grad school we might study a “discipline” ...

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Judaism’s Mission Today

What a wonderful path Judaism is! Judaism worships a God who is the Father of all humanity, Whose attributes of kindness, mercy, compassion, and justice are to serve as examples for all our actions. Judaism teaches that every person is created in God's image and therefore is of supreme value. Judaism asserts that people are to be co-workers with God in preserving and improving the earth. We are to be stewards of the world's resources and to see that God's bounties are used for the benefit of all. Nothing that has value can be wasted or destroyed unnecessarily. ...

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Belgium’s Shechita Ban Ignores Key Considerations

On May 5, 2017 Belgium’s Walloon region, its largest territory, outlawed the slaughter of un-stunned animals, meaning, in effect, that they banned kosher meat there, since Jewish ritual law requires that animals not be stunned prior to slaughter. Their decision overlooks some important considerations. First, it ignores the many problems related to stunning, These are thoroughly discussed in the book, Slaughterhouse: The Shocking Story of Greed, Neglect, and Inhumane Treatment Inside the U.S. Meat Industry, by Gail Eisnitz. Through many interviews with slaughterhouse ...

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Should the Holocaust Be a Spur to Activism?

"For me the Holocaust was not only a Jewish tragedy, but also a human tragedy. After the war, when I saw that the Jews were talking only about the tragedy of six million Jews, I sent letters to Jewish organizations asking them to also talk about the millions of others who were persecuted together with us – many of them only because they helped Jews" – Simon Wiesenthal (1) Every year around Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, my Orthodox synagogue has a memorial commemoration. It is a well-planned event, featuring a talk by a Holocaust scholar or survivor, ...

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Returning to Natural Wisdom, Expanding Our Love (appeared in EJP, 3/3/17)

In the depth of winter, when the stark lines of bare tree branches are etched against a gray sky, it feels like each tree has pulled away from its neighbor, shrinking into itself, saving its energy to survive the cold season. We are also seeing that same reflex toward isolation in our society and country. To continue reading click here.    

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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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My Vision for Judaism in this Time of Multiple Crises

The following is an excerpt from my recently published new edition of "Who Stole My Religion? Revitalizing Judaism and Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal Our Imperiled Planet." To be a Jew is to see the world through the eyes of God, to be unreconciled to the world as it is, to be discontented with the status quo, and to be unafraid to challenge it. To be a Jew is to be a co-worker with God in the task of perfecting the world, to know that the world remains unredeemed and that we must work with God to redeem it. To be a Jew is to feel deeply the harms done to ...

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