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Susan Levine


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Earth Etude for Elul 3: Joining Fifty Years of Mystic River Watershed Environmental Advocacy

by Karen L. Grossman In 2009 I was invited to get involved with the Mystic River Watershed Association, established in 1972 with a long, hard mission of environmental advocacy. As a board member for 10 years, I was able to admire how we partnered with other groups to champion environmental changes for MA, pursuing concerns with land use and transportation, involving the location of the Alewife Red Line Station, a highway building moratorium, the ...


Earth Etude for Elul 2: Where Heaven Is Here…

by Andy Oram What is heaven? How does one earn the right to enter heaven? I speculated on these questions by examining the Hebrew word for heaven, which is "shama'im" (שָׁמַיִם). The word is somewhat odd because it's plural, as indicated by the "im" (ים) ending. Here is my parsing of the word. If "shama'im" (שָׁמַיִם) is plural, what's the singular? Take off the plural ending, and the singular appears to be simply "sham" (שָׁ...


Earth Etude for Elul 1: An Etude is…

by Enid C. Lader To listen to the Etude: Listen to Earth Etude for Elul 1, read by Ilana Gauss An etude is a short musical composition, typically for one instrument, designed as an exercise to improve the technique of the player. Is it finger dexterity? Bowing alacrity? Air control? Rhythmic concentration? ~ Standing beneath a canopy of trees I hear the rhythm of their rustling leaves I feel the heavenly ...


Our Temple is Being Destroyed

~by Lynn Nadeau * Destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem by Francesco Hayez On Tisha B'Av, we sit on the floor, a candle barely lighting the page, and we read the words which sear the heart. We lament the destruction of the First Temple by the Babylonians. And we lament the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans. And today, we mourn the destruction caused by ourselves. Our private profligacy. Our passivity and our lack of ...


Dr. Alon Tal Joins Knesset! Aytzim Co-founder Brings Green Agenda to Israeli Government

Dr. Alon Tal, co-founder of the Green Zionist Alliance JERUSALEM (June 16) -- This morning Aytzim co-founder Dr. Alon Tal joined the Knesset, Israel's parliament, becoming only the second Knesset member with roots in Israel's Green Party to be appointed to the legislative body (following Yael Cohen Paran). Tal, who serves on Aytzim's board of directors, led the founding of Aytzim in 2001 along with Rabbi Michael Cohen, Dr. Eilon Schwartz and about 30 ...


3rd Jewish Climate Action Conference:

"Everything is Connected" by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen The JCAN-MA for the 3rd Jewish Climate Action Conference: Everything is Connected occurred April 25, 2021. Over 550 people attended. The 40 sessions focused on carbon reduction, advocacy, spiritual resilience, soil and agriculture, raised up the voices of youth, and addressed environmental justice. The day-long event was geared toward action solutions and strengthening the national ...


Climate Change and the Jewish Question

by Rabbi Dr. Dov Maimon Despite everything they have in common, the Israeli Jewish experience differs greatly from the Diaspora Jewish experience. The two communities don't always have the same interests or find the same issues compelling, and they disagree on quite a few matters, both those relating to values and those relating to modes of action. Climate change, however,  is an opportunity for collaboration between Israeli and Diaspora Jews. ...


The Climate on Capitol Hill: A Roadmap for Jewish Climate Advocacy

Webinar on Tuesday, January 12, 5pm PT, 8 pm ET. The first 100 days of the new Administration and the 117th Congress can be a breakthrough moment for action to put us on a sustainable and just path.   Learn what Jews can do from Rep. Mike Levin(CA49), Rebecca Leber, climate reporter for Mother Jones and Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin, co-founder of the Maryland Campaign for Environmental Human Rights.  Register here: https://bit.ly/...


Reduce Our Carbon Footprint

Last fall, Rabbi Rain Zohav, Director of Jews of the Earth, led an intergenerational program at the Mishkan Torah Synagogue in Greenbelt, MD. Rabbi Rain served as the Education Director on how to reduce our carbon footprint. The format of the day was organized like this: - Meeting with both adults and students. - Begin with the chant Ma Gadlu (How Wonderous Are Your Works) by Shefa Gold—see the sample here—it is the first song on the list: ...


Jews of the Earth at Ohalah

A Conference for Rabbis and Cantors Dedicated to Renewing Judaism Jews of the Earth, also known as J.O.T.E., had a very visible presence at the Ohalah Conference which was held in January 2020. Before the planning for the conference started, the members advocated for the theme to be about the climate crisis and it was: Lizkor et Ha Brit - To Remember the Covenant: Inspiring Hope and Vision."  “I will remember my covenant, which is ...


Sukkot, Shemini Atzeret, Simchat Torah, and Veganism

~by Richard Schwartz Vegans and vegetarians eat plant-based diets. Vegetarians eat no animal flesh, while vegans also avoid dairy products and eggs, and many do not wear leather, fur, or silk. Many vegans and vegetarians avoid involvement in any activity that involves the mistreatment of an animal.  Some people may prefer to start as vegetarians before progressing to veganism.      There are many connections that can be made ...


Earth Etude for Elul 29: Elul Unmasked

~by Judith Felsen, Ph.D. In rendezvous with You dare I reveal,  express the self behind the mask, the one not dressed in Yom Tov finery, but quarantined instead in tattered garb, clutching remnants of protection combat refugee within and out, who journeyed through the year  bracing challenge, tasks You offered? ~ Might I share my truth, not wishful fantasy, my doubt, uncertainty and fear, brokenness ...


Shanah Tovah — May You Have a Good Year

by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen The world is on fire,     laying waste to forest and city. G!d is my life-force and my wholeness: whom would I fear? (Ps. 27:1)** May we remain ready and willing to engage with the world. The ice sheets are collapsing,      and the waters are rising. G!d is my fortress of strength for my life, whom would I dread? (Ps.27:1)**   May we always keep our feet firmly ...


Rosh Hashanah Message: Is God’s ‘Very Good’ World Approaching an Unprecedented Catastrophe?

by Richard Schwartz Rosh Hashanah commemorates God's creation of the world. The "Ten Days of Repentance" from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur is a period to evaluate our deeds and to do teshuvah (repentance) for cases where we have missed the mark. Sukkot is a holiday in which we leave our fine houses and live in temporary shelters (sukkahs) to commemorate our ancestors' journey in the wilderness. Hence, the upcoming weeks provide an ...


Earth Etude for Elul 28: Dying. Birthing.

by Rabbi Robin Damsky ~ Burning. I am consumed by the burning. I lived in Santa Barbara and other parts of California for about 20 years. I remember the Painted Cave Fire in 1991 that started on “The Pass” – the way we Santa Barbarans referred to the San Marcos Pass that led up into Los Padres National Forest. Santa Barbara is typically a dry, high chaparral, but in the last three plus decades it has faced many years-long running droughts. Lack ...


Earth Etude for Elul 27: Speaking Through Underground Networks

by Rosie Rosenzweig At my land’s end, the Burning Bush began an early blush this past July when its bright green leaves were to be made bold by summer.It, like me, is aging quickly towards some end not yet in sight.Now, only the hydrangea tree blooms. Gone are the fulsome stalks of my ever-blooming ones, fading into brown from their new-born white lace. I sweltered at the end of August when, weeding my yard to give my plants more life,I ...


Earth Etude for Elul 26: Why is this Elul Different from All Other Eluls?

by Joan Rachlin During the Passover Seder we ask “Why is this night different from all other nights?” and we then spend the evening answering the four – and more – questions. Reciting the plagues, remembering enslavement, identifying with the “other,” and rising up against abuse of power are four pillars of Passover. The four questions and search for answers provide a relevant framework for this year's Elul reflection. As I engage ...


Earth Etude for Elul 25: “If the world is created for my sake…”

by Rabbi David Seidenberg According to tradition this day (the 25th of Elul) is when the Creation of the world began - six days before Rosh Hashanah. According to the Mishnah, every person should believe, "the world was created for my sake". (Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5) But what does this mean? That we can do whatever we want with the world because it is ours, or that I can do whatever I want because the world is *mine*? On the contrary, says Rebbe ...


Earth Etude for Elul 24: Adamah v’shamayim (Earth and Heaven)

by Rabbi Louis Polisson I sit and look out over the green grass The grove of trees just in front of me, to the left I sing Adamah ve-shamayim [earth and sky] Ḥom ha-eish [heat of fire] Tz’lil ha-mayyim [sound of water] Ani margish zot [I feel this] Be-gufi [in my body] Be-ruhi [in my spirit] Uve-nishmati [and in my soul] But do I feel The pain The suffering Of my fellow ...


Earth Etude for Elul 23: Day of Atonement

by Carol Reiman The river sings to you, the voice of clear water, of ripples, of force over stones. Listen further, to sounds of children splashing in the great heat, where the flow is sullied from the waste of carelessness and greed. The gasping of those weakened by asthma in the droplet laden pandemic air. How, how did it come to this? Who did not see, who looked away? Stand by the tree, its massive trunk reaching into the sky, underground its ...