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


Blogs

Chanukkah Chesed Challenge: Acts of Kindness

The evening of November 8 was the first of the month of Kislev, which means Chanukkah (there are many English spellings!) isn't far away - it begins on the 25th of Kislev and ends on the 2nd of the month of Tevet. During these days, from today until the end of Chanukkah, I invite you to be part of the Chanukkah Chesed Challenge. Chesed means "kindness," and the idea of the Chanukkah Chesed Challenge is to work consciously, every day, to do one act of chesed, or kindness, to someone you encounter throughout the day. This act should be something that does not ...

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Where Does Our Security Come From?

We are all devastated and shocked by yesterday’s murders of eleven Jews in the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. Our hearts go out to the families and Jewish community of Pittsburgh as many of us gather today in vigils and services around the country. Many of us are also gripped by fear as we wonder whether we are safe in this country which we thought was a haven of freedom and security. Of course, every community will do what it needs to make sure that they feel safe and secure. Sadly, it is likely that many of us will become more wary of strangers, more likely ...

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         Why Jews Should Vote for Democrats in 2018

    The U.S. mid-term elections could greatly influence the future of the U.S., Israel, and, indeed, the entire world. While it is often said that “elections have consequences,” and every national election is touted as extremely important, in efforts to increase voting, there are reasons why the upcoming election is really especially important, a potential game changer.      Why? The Republicans currently hold the presidency, both houses of Congress and the Supreme Court. They have been doing everything they can to retain that power through gerrymandering ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 26 – Returning to The Trees of Life

by Rabbi Margaret Frisch Klein~ I am a tree hugger. From long ago. I have planted trees, hundreds of them. I have celebrated Arbor Day as a Girl Scout. I have hiked in the woods from the time I was little. There is a tree that grows in the center of the Merritt Parkway on the way into New York. I passed this tree every week on my way to rabbinical school. It is a beautiful tree with many strong, curved branches coming out of the central trunk. It looks like a menorah. There is another tree like that, a very old tree on the Marginal Way in Ogunquit, ME. Over a ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 13 – Stress Less, Savor More

by Rabbi Judy Kummer~ Work. Work hard. Work well, do well, do excellent work. Do ONLY excellent work.  These are some of the values with which I was raised, and I know I am not alone in this.  Our communities flourish because of the hard work of individuals. I know these values of working hard have guided me well in life.  I think often of my beloved grandmother who daily lived her values that one should never rest until one’s work has been completed.   And yet, after a recent period of serious overwork, I found myself wondering if it might be possible to ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 9 – Stardust Matter

by Chaplain Leslie Schotz~ Soul traveling bodies having a human experience reflect upon ourselves in the scheme of life amidst all the planet dwellers gazing, wondering, surviving, awakening to the bitter pollution illness.   As we realize our sickness may the antidote seep into our being in time to honor and heal our home Earth.   Chaplain Rabbi Dr Leslie Schotz received her Doctor of Ministry in Multifaith Studies and is an ordained Spiritual Director. 

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Earth Etude for Elul 4 – Finding Quiet for Reflection

by Hazzan Shoshana Brown~ Although Psalm 130 can be recited all year long, it is especially appropriate for the season of introspection and repentance, speaking as it does of waiting and watching for the dawn. I have chosen photos that look up to the hills "out of the depths," as the psalmist says, and also out at the sea, or at the early moments of the rising sun, or at its setting. They are mostly lonely pictures, since it is in quiet and reflection that we search our souls, but since we are often most aware of God when we behold God's beauty in creation, I have ...

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 Ten Ways to Help Create a Vegan-Conscious World

Eating meat and other animal products is destroying the planet, ruining our health, mistreating billions of farmed animals,  and contributing to hunger and the wasteful use of water, energy, and other valuable natural resources. Despite the increasing need for a shift toward veganism to counteract the present epidemic of diseases and the many environmental threats caused by the production and consumption of animal products, progress has been relatively slow. It is time for a consideration of new strategies to promote veganism more effectively. The ten ideas suggested ...

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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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My challenge to Chabad, the Lubavitch chasidic movement

I recently completed a Chabad course, 'Faith and Food,' which discussed how to sanctify eating. I was very disappointed because the moral and halachic (Jewish law) issues related to the production and consumption of meat and other animal-sourced foods were not addressed. I felt that Chabad missed a great opportunity. So I posted the message below when asked to evaluate the course: Kol hakavod to Chabad, Rabbi Kaplan and everyone else involved in preparing and presenting this course. However, as president emeritus of Jewish Veg, formerly Jewish Vegetarians of North ...

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Spring, the Gift of Abundance, and New Membership Offerings!

This post originally appeared at: http://organictorah.org/spring-and-the-gift-of-abundance/ As we start this new time of beginnings, we’re very excited to announce the new offerings for Organic Torah membership for the coming year 2018 – 2019. For Individual Memberships we’re very proud to offer a monthly translation/commentary by Rabbi Margalit, in addition to regular webinars and discounts. Our Synagogue Membership has also expanded to include an Organic Torah private seminar series just for your synagogue. If your synagogue would like to bring Rabbi ...

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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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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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For many years I have believed that my religion, Judaism, has been stolen. Why? Because Judaism has powerful messages on peace, justice, compassion, sharing, and environmental sustainability that can help shift our imperiled planet onto a sustainable path. Yet, most Orthodox Jews, while doing many  commendable things, are in denial about climate change and other environmental threats and are increasingly supporting politicians who promote benefits for the wealthiest Americans and highly profitable corporations, at the expense of average Americans. I ...

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Starting a Major Campaign to Help Heal Our Imperiled Planet

Shalom, It is time for a major effort for committed Jews, preferably joining with others, to apply Jewish values to help heal our imperiled planet. Here are some issues to be considered: The world is rapidly heading toward a climate catastrophe. Many climate experts think we are close to an irreversible tipping point when climate change will spin out of control, with disastrous consequences, unless very significant positive changes soon occur. My article: “Climate Change: An Existential Threat to Israel, the US, and the World,” published in the Jerusalem Post ...

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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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Imagining a Vegan World

The late Senator Robert Kennedy often stated: "Some see things as they are and ask why, I dream of things that have never been and ask why not?" Yes, why not? Why not a vegetarian world? Or, even better, since we are dreaming, why not a vegan world? When one considers all the negatives related to the current widespread production and consumption of animal products, it is hard to believe that so few people have seen the importance of shifting to such a world. What would a vegan world be like? It would be a world with far healthier people. There are numerous ...

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The Force of Our Interconnectedness

I just saw the latest Star Wars movie with my family. It was very exciting and entertaining. But beyond that, I've always felt that the amazing popularity of the Star Wars series has been in part because it touches a spiritual nerve in moderns in a way that most of our places of worship only hope to achieve. The central premise of Star Wars is that there is an energy that connects us all, an energy that surrounds and infuses all life and creates the fabric of the universe. When we recognize that inter-connecting energy, when we tap into it, we can harness great power for ...

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