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


Blogs

Tu Bishvat: All About the New Year of the Tree(s)

Tall Trees in Bidwell Park, Chico, California

My youngest daughters' friends were impressed that Judaism celebrates a New Year of Trees, marked by planting and honoring trees. Here's a round-up of how to observe this special day. (more…)

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Questions That Can Be Considered at Tu Bishvat Seders (With Responses)

It is hoped that the questions below will be helpful to people leading Tu Bishvat seders, as a way to increase audience participation. Suggested responses are given following the questions. Please send me suggestions for additional questions and for improved answers. Thanks. The questions are below, followed by suggested answers: 1. What is the origin of Tu Bishvat? 2. Where is Tu Bishvat mentioned in the Tanach? 3. Why are we considering trees and fruits and nature in the middle of the winter? 4. Why was the 15th of Shvat singled out to be the ‘New Year for ...

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For Tu Bishvat: 36 Jewish Quotations About Trees

Since Tu Bishvat is considered the "birthday for trees," a time when trees are to be judged regarding their fate for the coming year, I hope the following Jewish quotations about trees and fruits will be helpful for celebrations of this increasingly popular holiday. 1. And God said: "Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree that has seed-yielding fruit -- to you it shall be for food." (Genesis 1:29) 2. In the hour when the Holy one, blessed be He, created the first person, He showed him the trees in the ...

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Tu B’Shvat and Vegetarianism

Tu B'Shvat is arguably the most vegetarian of Jewish holidays, because of its many connections to vegetarian themes and concepts: 1. The Tu B'Shvat Seder in which fruits and nuts are eaten, along with the singing of songs and the recitation of biblical verses related to trees and fruits, is the only sacred meal where only vegetarian, actually vegan, foods, are eaten. This is consistent with the diet in the Garden of Eden, as indicated by God's first, completely vegan dietary law: And God said: "Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed which is upon the face of ...

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Celebrating Tu Bishvat as if Environmental Sustainability Matters

Since Tu Bishvat, the “New Year for Trees,” has increasingly become a “Jewish Earth Day,” why not use Tu Bishvat Seders as, among other things, a time to consider how we can effectively respond to current environmental crises that threaten all life on the planet? The world is rapidly heading toward a climate catastrophe, severe food, water, and energy scarcities, and other environmental disasters. This is a strong consensus of almost all climate scientists and science academies worldwide. The warmest year for the world since temperature records have been kept ...

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Lessons From Trees: A Tu Bishvat Message

Some of my most important lessons in life I learned from Jewish verses about trees. From the following I learned that I should be an environmental activist, working to help preserve the world: In the hour when the Holy one, blessed be He, created the first person, He showed him the trees in the Garden of Eden, and said to him: "See My works, how fine they are; Now all that I have created, I created for your benefit. Think upon this and do not corrupt and destroy My world, For if you destroy it, there is no one to restore it after you. (Ecclesiastes Rabbah 7:28) F...

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Preserving the Sacred Environment: A Religious Imperative – A Tu Bishvat Message

Many contemporary Jews look upon Tu Bishvat (February 10-11 in 2017) as a Jewish Earth Day, a day for contemplating our ecological heritage - and the multitude of threats it currently faces. An ancient midrash has become all too relevant today: "In the hour when the Holy one, blessed be He, created the first person, He showed him the trees in the Garden of Eden, and said to him: "See My works, how fine they are; Now all that I have created, I created for your benefit. Think upon this and do not corrupt and destroy My world, For if you destroy it, there is no one to ...

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Why Is This Night Different?: Thoughts on Tu B’Shvat

One of the highlights of the Passover seder is the recitation of the four questions which consider how the night of Passover differs from all the other nights of the year. Similar questions are also appropriate for Tu B’Shvat, which starts on Friday evening, February 10, in 2017, because of the many ways that this holiday differs from Passover and all other nights of the year. While four cups of red wine (or grape juice) are drunk at the Passover seder, the four cups drunk at the Tu B’shvat seder vary in color from white to pink to ruby to red.   While ...

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Earth Etudes for Elul: A Collection of Meaningful Ways to Enrich Our Lives

by Susan Levine ~ It’s not too late to read the thought-provoking Earth Etudes for the month of Elul. Now is a good time to think about our lives and what matters: our family, our friends, this Earth we call our home and all the other people and animals who share it with us. How can we take care of our health and work towards a peaceful and sustainable future for our children? A special thank you to Rabbi Katy Z. Allen for organizing this project and to our contributing writers with their meaningful essays, poems and thoughts. You can read them here whenever ...

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Shanah Tovah 5777

by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen   As you enter this new year may distance bring clarity     and may the many shades of the forest be clear to you  as separate and individual colors each unique in its own right   may the sky be ever visible to you  between the leaves    may you understand that the leaves the sky and the tendrils are all interconnected    and when you cry out for help may your prayer be ...

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Richard Schwartz Interviewed by Charles Patterson about his book, “Who Stole My Religion?”

New edition “Who Stole My Religion? Revitalizing Judaism and Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal Our Imperiled Planet, by Richard Schwartz (written with Rabbi Yonassan Gershom and Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz). Interview conducted by Charles Patterson, author of Eternal Treblinka. Charles Patterson:  Who stole your religion? Richard Schwartz: I have been a member of an Orthodox community for almost 50 years. I have found the members of this community to excel in acts of kindness, charity, and learning. Their dedication to Judaism is outstanding. However, they ...

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Kosher Palm Oil

Until recently I thought I understood the problem with palm oil. I thought palm oil meant unethical agricultural practices causing the destruction of equatorial rainforests, driving Orangutans to extinction and contributing significantly to climate change. I believed that products where palm oil was listed as an ingredient are worse than those where palm oil is not listed as an ingredient. I understood that environment groups advocated boycotting manufacturers that use palm oil until they substituted with an alternative. And then I visited Melbourne Zoo where I listened ...

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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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Earth Etude for Elul 1 – On the Search for Teshuvah at Walden Pond

by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen Today is the first day of the month of Elul. We are on the countdown to Rosh HaShanah, one month away. Welcome to the first of this year's Earth Etudes for Elul, a project of Ma'yan Tikvah - A Wellspring of Hope, a daily feast of reflections to help us in the process of teshuvah, of re-turning to the Holy One, re-turning toward our best innermost self. The journey toward self-discovery, self-fulfillment, and self actualization is one of constantly looking through the trees for the deep well of water from which we take ...

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Hazon Philadelphia’s Ride the Pines

We are excited to announce Hazon Philadelphia’s Ride the Pines - Sunday, May 31st, at the JCC Camps in Medford, NJ. Ride the Pines is a fully-supported bike ride and community experience for people of all cycling levels and ages, bringing together organizations like ours from across the Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey Jewish communities.   Join friends for routes through pine forests, farmland, and local villages, culminating in a barbecue lunch of kosher, pasture-raised meat from Grow and Behold, followed by an interactive marketplace of local, ...

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May I Have Your Vote for Green Israel?

Because people voted for the Green Israel slate in past elections, there have been major improvements in how the JNF does business. It has adopted significantly better policies on forestry, stream restoration, and soil reclamation. JNF is taking the lead on green infrastructure and has established a program to prioritize quality of life improvements in Arab communities that have long been neglected by the JNF. The JNF has power, and we can leverage that power by voting.

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Eden Village is hiring farm educator apprentices for 2015 growing season!

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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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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Green Your Home

By David Krantz. Maybe Kermit was wrong — maybe it actually is easy to be green. Or, at the very least, it is pretty easy to start being green. There are many projects that you can do that will not just green your home, but will keep the green in your pocket, too. Plant a garden There’s no better summer treat than fresh fruits and vegetables grown in your own backyard. And no plot of land is too small for a garden, even if that garden is only a few potted cherry-tomato plants on your windowsill. Plant trees As long as you’re planting, ...

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Uplifting People and Planet

Exciting news! Just in time for Tu b’Shevat, Canfei Nesharim and Jewcology are proud to announce the launch of a new ebook exploring traditional Jewish teachings on the environment, Uplifting People and Planet: Eighteen Essential Jewish Lessons on the Environment, edited by Rabbi Yonatan Neril and Evonne Marzouk. This ebook is the most comprehensive study in English of how Jewish traditional sources teach us to protect our natural resources and preserve the environment. From food to trees, energy to water, wealth to biodiversity, the book studies eighteen ...

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