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A selection of initiatives, blogs, resources and communities on Jewcology intended for use by lay leaders.


Blogs

Earth Etude for Elul 19- Soul Accounting in the Year of Release

  by Rabbi Regina Sandler-Phillips   Ecology and economy, spirituality and social justice are directly connected in our Jewish values of heshbon (accountability).  Every time we open our wallets or check our bank balances, we face issues of heshbon — no less than when we search our souls (heshbon hanefesh) during this Season of Turning.   How are we “spending” each day of our lives?   The ancient sage Ben Zoma (Mishnah Avot 4:1) taught that the wise are those who learn from every person; the brave are those who control ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 17- Meditation on Elul

by Richard H. Schwartz   Elul is here. It represents a chance for heightened introspection, an opportunity to do teshuva and improve 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 we hear reports almost ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 16- The Compost Bin in Our Hearts

by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen   My compost bins are so much more than just a place where compost happens. The area beside the three wire and wood bins is place where I often feel my father’s spirit – he was raised on a farm, and though he became a professional, gardening was in his blood, and he spent much of his spare time in his garden and his orchard.   Yet, it is not just the reminders of my father or the sense of his hovering spirit that gives meaning to my compost bins. They are symbolic of so much – which may be more the truer reason that I think ...

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Why Jewcology Matters

It feels good to be back blogging on Jewcology after a 6 month hiatus.  During this period, my wife gave birth to a baby boy and we moved from NYC to Maryland.  Although it has been a very hectic time, as those with children or nieces/nephews know, the birth of a child changes one's perspective on the world.   I have been involved with Jewcology since its inception and think it serves a very important purpose.  I am thrilled that a new group of individuals has become involved, breathing a new sense of energy into the movement, including the launching of the redesigned ...

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Earth Etude 15- Looking at the Whole Picture

By Susie Davidson   As a writaholic, I am also a readaholic. As we move forward in our chosen missions toward creating communities that feed, nurture and sustain (while protecting) all the inhabitants of the earth, I believe that it is also incumbent upon us to remain informed about the news of the day and the topics that affect underlying societal infrastructures.   Certainly, some of these infrastructures seem entrenched to the point of impermeability, none more so than the economic systems that govern world relations and, therefore, virtually every facet of ...

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The Book of Yonah and the People’s Climate March

A month from now, on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, Jews all over the world will read the book of Yonah in synagogue.  The book is an appropriate selection for the day when the Torah instructs us to “afflict your souls and don’t do any labor…because on that day he will atone for you, cleansing you; of all your offenses before the Lord you will be cleansed.” (Vayikra 16:29-30)  In contrast to Vayikra (the Book of Leviticus), which describes an elaborate ritual to cleanse the sanctuary of metaphysical impurity, the book of Yonah explores the sometimes tortuous ...

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Earth Etude 13- The Flood

by Rabbi Dorit Edut   The meteorologists predicted a possible heavy rainstorm and suggested bringing an umbrella to work.  But as I drove home from an interfaith conference, I got a call from my husband announcing: “ You’ll have to swim home – everything is flooded here.” My heart stopped beating for a minute when I heard this, realizing that all my rabbinic books and papers, many photograph albums including those from my parents’ lives in pre-Holocaust Europe, all our children’s albums and  memorabilia, my father’s award-winning black and ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 12- Growing Teshuva

by Maxine Lyons I am often looking for ways to connect to teshuvah even during the leisurely days of summer. Teshuvah for me is turning to those thoughts and actions that help me to become my better self, following those practices that nourish my growth to know peace - shalom - and to reach greater wholeness - sh'lemut. As I pursue personal growth, I resonate to the Hebrew word, hitpatchut, growth through an openness and receptivity to change.This summer I have focused on ways to practice with greater compassion in how I spend my time and focus my energy as I take on ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 10- Topsy Turvy Bus

by Rabbi Margaret Frisch Klein   The world seems a little topsy turvy these days. A plane missing. 223 girls kidnapped in Nigeria. 3 teen agers kidnapped and murdered in Israel. A plane shot out of the sky. Israel in Gaza. Rockets in Israel. Too many children killed in the streets of Chicago. Too many deaths. When does it stop?   In the Fox River Valley, Illinois, after a punishing winter of epic proportions, it is nice to be outside. Six congregations, part of the nascent Prairie Jewish Coalition, sponsored the Topsy Turvy bus.   What is a ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 9 – A Cry in the Night: My Decision not to Consume Dairy

by Diana G.   A memory: Our newborn is up again. I turn to the clock. It’s 4:25 am. Less than three hours since she last awoke. My husband and I are exhausted, and we lie quietly for a few moments, willing our daughter back to sleep. But her cries are persistent. Who knows if she’s hungry, cold, or simply distressed and looking for comfort?   Regardless, we’ve reached our “give-her-a-moment” limit; there’s only so long one can ignore an infant baby’s cries. My husband grabs for his glasses, makes his way to the nursery, and returns ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 8 – Waves on the Beach

by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen I stand on the beach. Waves--      I hear them, see them, rising, falling, splashing, foaming. Deep within me    waves form,   rise up, are released, unite with the ocean waves. Throughout my body   sadness.... grief.... despair.... engulf me. The Earth is suffering. I cannot simply stand, sit, lie, relax. Act, I must, driven by my grief,  by my love, by the waves, in order to live with myself, with the Holy One of Blessing-- who is able to quiet waves, in the sea, in my soul-- who continues ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 7- Rosh Hashanah Shemittah Seder 5775

Created by Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin, to be shared, celebrated, and enjoyed Click here for a downloadable version to print out and use at your Rosh HaShanah dinner.   Ever since the first breath of creation, time has unfolded in cycles of seven. Six days reach their crescendo in the seventh day, Shabbat - the Sabbath, the day of rest. Six years reach their crescendo in the seventh year, Shemittah - the sabbatical, the year of renewal. Seven cycles of seven years reach their crescendo in the Jubilee year, the ultimate enactment of re-creation.   All ...

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Jewish literary theorist coins ‘cli fi’ genre term for climate change awareness

Danny Bloom grew up in western Masschusetts in the 1950s, studied Jewish ideas under Rabbi Samuel Dresner, was bar-mitvahed in 1962 under the cantorial direction of Cantor Morty Shames and then started travelling. France, Israel, Greece, Italy, Alaska and Japan. Now he's 65 and working on what he calls a very Jewish project, Jewish because it comes out of ideas and values about having a vision and being a dreamer that he picked up on his way to becoming a bald, goateed senior citizen. Bloom lives in Asia now working as a public relations writer and ...

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Using the New Jewcology

Welcome to the new Jewcology!   Using the site is pretty simple. Click on login  — but your password from the old site won't work, so the first time you use the new site, click on "lost password" to set a new password: To create a new blog post, click on "Blogs" and then "Create new post." You can add a featured image:   You can tag your blog post with keywords and phrases to help people find it easier: And when you're finished, just press "Publish"! You also can save your work as a draft and finish later; publish ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 3 – Let it Rest

Earth Etude for Elul 3 - Let It Rest by Carol Reiman Let it rest-- the land that we have worked so hard, the grassy fare for geese now taken by the high tech labs, the water diverted far away to leave the old spot bare, the day diminished by our dense cramming, electronics robbing our eyes of moisture...   Let it rest-- the fish sleep still near the bottom, the standing horse relaxes muscles, the cat stretches and curls...   Let it rest-- the yawn exchanges stale air for fresh, cells grow, the blood flows with its passengers for new destinations, ...

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Earth Etudes for Elul – An Introduction and Etude 1

This evening the month of Elul begins, the month that leads us up to the first day of the new year, Rosh HaShanah 5775. The sun rises and sets, again and again, and with each cycle we get a day older, with each cycle the world brings pain and joy, anger and delight, frustration and calm, fear and trust. Soon those days will have added up, and we will be a year older than the last time we ate apples and honey together. We ask: How have I changed? What have I done? What do I wish I had done? What do I hope to do in the future? How has the world changed? How did I...

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Spread over all of us the Sukkah of shalom, salaam, paz, peace!

Can our Sukkot become not only symbols but peacemaking sanctuaries for both "adam" and "adamah"? As we enter the Shmita / Sabbatical Year, we may be asking what its content might be. We can begin, just a few days before Rosh Hashanah, joining the several dozen Jewish organizations that will take part in the People’s Climate March in New York City, Sunday Septembr 21, beginning at 11:30 am. Then on Rosh Hashanah (which can mean “New Year” or “Start of Transformation”), we might celebrate what the tradition sees ...

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Are There Special Foods to Welcome Shmita?

Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin has suggested that for the Erev Rosh Hashanah meal which this year, on Wednesday evening September 24, begins the Shmita Year of Shabbat Shabbaton, we have a seder plate, with seven items (marking the seven-ness of Shmita). What might these seven be? Already nominated: bread (like challah for Shabbat, should this be a “woven” bread? round, for the cycles, as is a traditional Rosh Hashanah challah? how about woven into seven spirals?), an apple, honey, wine, pomegranates. What might the others be, and ...

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History of the Kayamut Sustainability Circle

The Kayamut Sustainability Circle in Silver, Spring, MD was formed in 2010, and led by a team of local Torah-based Jewish environmentalists who met regularly to learn about community opportunities for environmental action. Over three years, members met local chickens, explored invasive plants, experimented with composting, learned what's recyclable in Montgomery County, and much, much more. We're most proud of the work done on the Maryland Offshore Wind Power campaign, where our shared activism and concern influenced Delegate Ben Kramer to support wind power ...

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70+ Rabbinic Call to Move Our Money to Protect Our Planet

Dear chevra, By April 30, 2014, more than 70 Rabbis and other Jewish spiritual leaders have signed this Call. Now we appeal to all members of the Jewish community to join in this effort. To do so, please click to: <https://theshalomcenter.org/civicrm/petition/sign?sid=11&reset=1> We — Rabbis, Cantors, and other Jewish spiritual leaders — call upon Jewish households, congregations, seminaries, communal and denominational bodies, and other institutions: Move Our Money to Protect Our Planet. In the ancient tradition ...

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