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A selection of initiatives, blogs, resources and communities on Jewcology which focus on science-technology.


Blogs

Frequently Asked Questions on Jewish Teachings on Animal Sacrifices and the Messianic Period

1. If God wanted us to have vegetarian diets and not harm animals, why were the Biblical sacrificial services established? During the time of Moses, it was the general practice among all nations to worship by means of sacrifice. There were many associated idolatrous practices. The great Jewish philosopher Maimonides stated that God did not command the Israelites to give up and discontinue all these manners of service because "to obey such a commandment would have been contrary to the nature of man, who generally cleaves to that to which he is used," For this reason, ...

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Frequently Asked Questions (and Answers) Related to Judaism and Animal Treatment

There has recently been much interest in animal issues, especially related to diet, animal experimentation, and the wearing of fur. What should be the reaction of Jews to this subject? The following, in question and answer form, provides some background, and perhaps will help begin a respectful dialogue on this increasingly important topic. 1. What does Judaism teach about the proper treatment of animals? Judaism teaches that we are forbidden to be cruel to animals and that we must treat them with compassion. Since animals are part of God's creation, people have ...

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Frequently Asked Questions About Judaism and Vegetarianism

1. What is Jewish about vegetarianism and veganism? Note that when the word vegetarianism is used below it implies both vegetarianism and veganism. he word vegetarian implies both vegetarian and vegan. All the reasons for becoming vegetarian can be connected to important Jewish values. These include taking care of our health, showing compassion to animals, protecting the environment, conserving resources, helping hungry people, and seeking and pursuing peace. As later responses indicate, many teachings in the Torah, the Talmud, and other sacred Jewish texts can ...

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What foreign policy is most consistent with Jewish values?

This is Chapter 7 of the 2nd edition of my book, "Who Stole My Religion? Revitalising Judaism and Applying Jewish Values t Help Heal Our Imperilled Planet." -------------- "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed." — Dwight D. Eisenhower "And the work of righteousness shall be peace; And the effect of righteousness, quietness and confidence forever." — Isaiah 32:17 "Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an ...

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Jewish Teachings on Energy

This posting is chapter 9 of the 2nd edition of my book, "Judaism and Global Survival." While written in 2011, 16 years ago, it is perhaps even more relevant today as it makes a strong case that the Jewish approach to energy is CARE, conservation and renewable energy, an approach that can help slow or reverse climate change and other environmental threats. --------------- "A generation goes and a generation comes but the earth endures forever. And the sun rises and the sun sets -- then to its place it rushes;  there it rises again. It goes toward the south and veers ...

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The Human Impacts on Global Warming

Global Warming is perhaps the biggest concern our generation is experiencing. Its’ effects are obviously frightening and dramatically urgent. Even though often debated in global politics and the media, we can’t deny that the causes and effects of global warming are real, global and calculable. Global warming is primarily a problem of excess of  carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere—which acts as a blanket or a cloak, by trapping heat and warming the planet. As we burn fossil fuels for energy or cut down and burn forests to create pastures and plantations, carbon ...

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Hurricane Harvey Should Be a Wake-up Call to the Urgency of Working to Avert a Climate Catastrophe

The catastrophic effects of Hurricane and now Tropical Storm Harvey should be the latest and strongest of wakeup-calls to the fact that the world is heading toward a climate catastrophe. Of course there have always been severe storms, but we have now had three (Katrina, Sandy, and Harvey) in 13 years, whereas in the past they may have happened once in 100 years or more. There are three important climate change factors that are making storms more severe, and they are all increasing: 1. Warmer air holds more moisture; 2. the seas have ...

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The Complete Text of My Latest Book, “Who Stole My Religion? Revitalising Judaism and Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal Our Imperilled Planet”/Please Share

I am posting the complete text of my book, because I want to start as many respectful dialogues on the key issues as I can, with the hope that this will help revitalise Judaism and also help shift our imperilled planet onto a sustainable path. ---------------------- WHO STOLE MY RELIGION? Revitalizing Judaism and Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal Our Imperiled Planet By Richard H. Schwartz with Rabbi Yonassan Gershom and Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz 1 Who Stole My Religion? Revitalizing Judaism and Applying Jewish Values to ...

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Throw Out the Cookie Jar …. And Save the Planet

As a lifetime Weight Watcher, I have learned a few tricks. The most helpful to me was this one: Banish red light food from your home...and keep healthy food cut up and ready to eat at the front of your refrigerator in plastic see-through containers.  Now what does that have to do with saving the planet?  Well, a whole lot. Fracked gas is not healthy for people or the climate. Neither is nuclear-powered electricity. These are red-light energy products, the healthy alternatives being solar and wind energy. Even knowing this, companies profiting from red light dirty ...

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SACRED EARTH, SACRED TRUST

A Day of Prayer & Action for People and Planet. Sunday, June 12 FAITHS RISING FOR PEOPLE & PLANET Sacred Earth, Sacred Trust is a worldwide, multi-faith day of prayer & action for the planet and a call for world leaders to commit to a 1.5 degree limit on global temperature rise. Six months after world leaders reached the Paris Agreement, communities around the world will come together in a day of beautiful commitment and blessing for the earth. 1°C OF WARMING MEANS EVERYTHING The adopted Paris Agreement is an incredible first step, but much of ...

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The Rainbow Connection: Rainbow Day and Creation

Millennia before Kermit sang about the Rainbow Connection, the very first Rainbow Day marked the connection between God and all animals. The biblical flood began on the 17th of the second month, exactly one lunar year and 10 days (= one solar year) before Noah, his family, and all the animals that were with them left the ark, on the 27th day of the second month. But just before they left, God made a covenant with them that there would never again be a flood of water to destroy life on Earth. And just as today we sign contracts with our signatures, God signed our covenant ...

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Eden Village Camp is hiring a Farmer/ Educator

Eden Village Camp is Hiring! 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 role models, we foster our ...

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Free Eco Israel Birthright Trip with URJ Kesher

This June 1-11 join Taglit-Birthright Israel and  URJ Kesher on a unique program. The Eco Israel bus will explore and discover, up-close, the remarkable variety of environmental initiatives in Israel, through the lens of ecology and environment WITHOUT missing out on all of the highlights of a classic URJ Kesher Birthright tour. During the tour, the group will visit four main regions in Israel: North, Centre, Jerusalem, and South. In each region, you will encounter local community members, and will gain hands-on experience volunteering with local Israeli activists who are ...

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From Uncertainty to Action: What You Can Do About Climate Change

The Jewish Climate Action Network (JCAN) is sponsoring its first conference, a time for community members from across New England concerned about climate change to come together. The conference will focus on a Jewish response to climate change, ideas for action, and how climate change is fundamentally a social justice issue. It will provide organized opportunities to connect with others interested in working together. Summery of the conference: Panel exploring what Judaism adds to our understanding and ability to respond to climate change Two rounds of workshops, ...

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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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Do We Need to Rename God?

In the traditional Jewish spiral of Torah reading, we will soon start the Book of Exodus -- the transformational story of successful resistance to slavery. As the British Army band played the song when the American Revolution became victorious, this book is a story of “The World Turned Upside Down.” Maybe the first such story. Maybe even the story that inspired many of the higgledy-piggledy Boston blacksmiths and Pennsylvania farmers who thought they could defeat the world’s greatest Empire. It certainly inspired Harriet Tubman and Sojourner ...

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Transformative Judaism and our Planetary Crisis

Since human action has endangered the web of life on earth, human action can heal it. And the religious and spiritual communities of our planet have the wisdoms and the tools to do the healing. Judaism is especially relevant because, unlike most world religions, we preserve the teachings of an indigenous people in the biblical tradition –- the spiritual wisdom of shepherds and farmers. And yet as a world people, we can now apply the earthiness of our origins to the Whole Earth. That does not mean simply repeating the ancient practices. For instance, ...

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The Meaning of This Hour: Confronting the Coming Cataclysm of Global Climate Change

In March 1938, Abraham Joshua Heschel delivered a speech to a conference of Quakers in Frankfort (it was later expanded and published in 1943) called The Meaning of this Hour. Heschel had been living in Berlin for some years, acquiring his Ph.D. and a liberal rabbinic ordination (he had already gotten a traditional ordination when he was a teenager in Warsaw). During his years there, he was a witness to rise of Nazism even while he taught and began to publish his work. In 1938, it was clear to many people that war in Europe was coming. In the very month that ...

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The Age of Climate Dithering Must Come to an End

There is a new genre fiction called “Climate Change Fiction” that has become increasingly popular. The major theme of these works is what the world will be like after the effects of climate change has taken effect. One of my favorite Science fiction authors, Kim Stanley Robinson, has utilized this theme in several of his books, the latest being, 2312 which won the 2012 Nebula award for best science fiction novel and has been nominated for the Hugo award for best science fiction novel of 2013. 2313 mostly takes place off Earth among colonies on ...

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Shmita Today: From Farm to Hypertech

Our society is more and more deeply concerned that intrusive human action toward the Earth is turning into a weapon endangering Humanity itself as well as the earthy web of life. Is this danger new, or is it an extension of a long-felt weakness arising from a strength too far? Torah warns against overworking the earth, as well as overworking ourselves and each other. It provides that not only every seventh day but every seventh year is to be a time to pause from working. The seventh year is to be Shabbat Shabbaton, Restfulness to the exponential power of Restfulne...

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