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


Blogs

Earth Etude for Elul 14 – The Earth Is on Fire — And the Torah Tells Us What to Do About It

by Jeffrey Cohan- This summer, our precious Earth has been burning. Catastrophic wildfires have ravaged their way across several California counties. One of the fires is the largest ever in the state. In Colorado, four massive wildfires have consumed a total of almost 250,000 acres. All four rank among the Top 10 largest conflagrations in the state’s history. Even in Sweden, of all places, 50 wildfires have broke out this summer, including at least one above the Arctic Circle. Sweden is so unaccustomed to such calamities, the country doesn’t own 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 12 – The Sh’ma

The Sh’ma, A Jewish Invocation of the Unity: An Interpretation for the 21st Century by Rabbi Arthur Waskow~ [This might best be recited paragraph by paragraph, each one read by a member of the community until the last line, which everyone says together.] Sh’sh’sh’ma Yisra’el – Hush’sh’sh and Listen, You Godwrestlers – Pause from your wrestling and hush’sh’sh To hear -- YyyyHhhhWwwwHhhh/ Yahhhhhh. Hear in the stillness the still silent voice, The silent breathing that intertwines life; YyyyHhhhWwwwHhhh / Yahhhh elohenu B...

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Earth Etude for Elul 11 – Sitting on the Dock of the Bay

by Hannah Henza~  I am sitting by a lake today looking out over a vast body of water and I find balance here. There is little cell-service; there is much sunlight. There are very large houses and fast-moving boats; there are small cottages and self-propelled craft. This lake is warmed both by the sun and the nuclear power plant at its base; it was created by the contours of the land and the dam at its head. This lake is home to countless species of wildlife, fish, birds, and humans. Today we are constantly trying to get ahead, evolve, improve, dominate, conquer. At ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 10 – People’s Climate March 2017

by Thea Iberall~ I bought my bus ticket a month early because I knew I had to go to the second People’s Climate March. I remember the day the first one occurred. I was giving a workshop in California on ‘what’s your carbon footprint?’ I was telling my audience how we all have to stop living as if we had two or three planets at our disposal. Deep down, I wanted to be at the march. This time I am, in Washington, DC. The motto of the march seems to be, ‘For everything to change, we need everyone.’ But not everyone I know is onboard: some people are more ...

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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 8 – The Silence of the Frogs: Environmental Confession

by Rabbi Lawrence Troster~ Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are traditionally called the Ten Days of Repentance. Part of the Jewish concept of repentance is the act of confession, the Vidui. We confess publicly rather than privately, and in general terms rather than in specifics, because it allows everyone to confess without shame or embarrassment. It also binds the sins of one person to that of the whole community so that all take responsibility. While Moses Maimonides (1135-1204) said that we are only to confess in specific terms for sins between one person and ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 7 – So Many Ways to Repair the World

by Mirele B. Goldsmith~ The reality of climate change and other environmental problems weigh on me all year long. But as Yom Kippur approaches my thoughts turn more and more to my own responsibility.  During this past year did I do enough?  Was I effective in what I did?  And most troubling of all, did I make the right choices about where to invest my efforts? An answer to this question came to me this summer when I participated in the Green Attica Conference.  The conference was convened by Patriarch Bartholomew, leader of the Eastern Orthodox Church, who is ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 6 – Once Upon a Time I Had a Garden

by Rabbi Peg Kershenbaum~ Once upon a time I had a garden. I must have been inspired by reading The Good Earth to plunge a spade into the unyielding, aptly named, Rockland soil. But, after moving rocks, boulders and many less natural obstacles, I protected the small plot and planted tomatoes, cucumbers, Brussels sprouts and 5 slender corn seedlings. As the spring turned to summer and blossoms turned to the beginnings of identifiable vegetables, I realized that I was going to share the bounty with a pudgy and persistent woodchuck, some opportunistic rabbits, ravening ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 5 – In Regard to Feathers

by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen~ For many years I collected feathers. Walking along the trails, near my home or far away, whenever I spotted a feather, I brought it home. Together with rocks, shells, bits of wood, and other nature memorabilia, they helped to create a sense of the outdoors inside. The feathers meant a lot to me. Then one day, while trying to identify a feather my granddaughter had found, I stumbled inadvertently across a government website with information about feathers. I learned that it is illegal in the United States to collect feathers. The reason ...

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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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Earth Etude for Elul 3 – Environmental Etude

by Rabbi Sam Yolen~ At this point in time, to write something about the environment has to be more of a “in commemoration of” than a “dedicated to” exercise. We’ve been standing at the juncture of run-away environmental change for longer than I can remember, and the patience of the Earth to absorb our species’ immaturity has indeed turned into vengeance. From fracking the Earth’s crust to clear cutting forests, we’ve done things that most ancient cultures would find unfathomable -- real crimes against the future of humanity. The biblical truth that ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 2 – Twilight

by Carol C. Reiman~ Sky still blue, Eyes still brown-- Colors Fading. ~ Leaf veins branch, Hand veins thin-- Skin Cascading. ~ What time we have; Have we time-- To laugh in sync, While eyes dim. ~ Leaves dry, Sweep away; Book of Life Unfurls pages. ~ Where the path? Circling, thin, Narrowing As the fog sets in. ~ The blue, The eyes, Change color, Go. ~ The sun Goes on Beyond Our line Of sight. ~ To other Realms In other Forms. ~ Our day, Our year, Teaching, Thought All Turn... Carol C. Reiman is out of library work into ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 1 – A Pilgrimage to Honor the Earth

by Rabbi Moshe Givental~ Over a decade ago now, I was sitting in a Parshah HaShavua (weekly Torah Portion) class and my teacher asked the following question: Why are human beings called ADAM in our holy Torah? ADAMAH, after all, is our Hebrew word for the Earth. So ADAM would mean something like Earth-ling. However, human beings are no more from the earth than any other life on our majestic planet. When we name something, we pick a name to highlight some unique quality of that being before us. Names are not chosen at random. Rabbi Yehoshua Karsh then paused for a  ...

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Summary of my key activities to promote veganism during the two years I have been living in Israel

Shalom, I would like to update you on some of the things I have been doing to promote veganism in the now two years that I have been living in Israel, with the hope that it might inspire others to take similar actions. With many of the areas of my involvement I have added a suggestion of how it could be applied more widely to break through the current widespread denial, apathy, misinformation, and resistance and help get veganism and related issues onto the Jewish agenda.I am sorry that this message is very long but I hope the examples and suggestions I include make it ...

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Four articles advocating restoring and transforming the ancient New Year for Animals

by Richard Schwartz Shalom,       The ancient New Year for Animals falls on Rosh Chodesh Elul, (on August 11 - 12 in 2018). Included below are my 4 articles on why the holiday should be restored into a day devoted to increasing awareness of Judaism’s compassionate teachings on animals and why these teachings should be applied to reduce current abuses of animals.     The titles of the four articles are: Why an Ancient Jewish Holiday Should Be Restored and transformed. An Auditious Initiative to Restore the Ancient New Year for Animals  An ...

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Prevention: the Jewish Approach to Health

Since maintaining a healthy and sound body is among the ways of God . . . ,  one must avoid that which harms the body and accustom oneself to that which is helpful and assists the body become stronger. (Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Deot 4:1)      Contemporary western medicine has generally focused on the treatment of diseases, rather than on their prevention. Medical schools teach that prescription drugs are the most powerful tools doctors have for treating disease; diet and other lifestyle changes are seldom stressed as therapeutic tools. The generally ...

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The Youth Climate March (Saturday, July 21)

  In Washington D.C., youth will march on the National Mall to advocate for their own rights to a safe and livable future. We will rally and highlight the voices and stories of youth on the frontlines of the climate crisis. Then, we will flood the streets as a demonstration of youth power and show how #ThisIsZeroHour to act on climate change. There will also be a Youth Climate Weekend with a Youth Climate Lobby Day on Thursday, July 19 and Art Builds and Community Building on Friday, July 20. To learn more and register for the events: http://thisiszeroh...

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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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Two Articles Relating Tisha B’Av to Current Environmental Issues and Threats

1. Relating Tisha B'Av to Today’s Environmental Crises                         Tisha B'Av (the 9th day of the month of Av) which we commemorate in 2018 on July 21 - 22, reminds us that over 2,000 years ago Jews failed to heed the warnings of the prophet Jeremiah, with the result that the first Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed--the first of many negative things that occurred on that day, including the destruction of the second Temple as well.       Today there is no Jeremiah or other prophet, but it is thousands of climate exerts warning us that now ...

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