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


Blogs

Five articles related to the Jewish fall holidays

by Richard Schwartz See below for the five op-ed articles related to the Fall Jewish holidays: Should Jews Become Vegetarians or Vegans at Rosh Hashanah?Rosh Hashanah Message: Is God’s “Very Good” World Now Approaching An Unprecedented Catastrophe?Why Perform a Rite That Kills Chickens as a Way to Seek God’s Compassion?Yom Kippur and Vegetarianism and VeganismSukkot, Shemini Atzeret, and Simchat Torah and the connection to Vegetarianism and veganism ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Should Jews Become ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 29: At the Hoh~A Rainforest in the Pacific Northwest

by Thea Iberall Hoh Rainforest on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State The Amazon Rainforest is the most biodiverse region on Earth and provides shelter to three million species of plants and animals. Billions of trees absorb tons of carbon dioxide every year and produce 20% of earth’s oxygen. It’s been called the Lungs of the Earth. But I read something most disturbing. The Amazon rainforest is now emitting about a billion tons of carbon dioxide a year. From its role as a carbon sink, the lungs of the Earth have become a carbon source. ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 24: Harachaman for Shmita

by Rabbi David Seidenberg As we approach Rosh Hashanah, we are also fast approaching the next Shmita year, when all the land in Israel was supposed to rest, all debts were supposed to be canceled, and all food was to be shared, even with the wild animals. Just like Elul through the High Holidays, the Shmita year itself was a long journey of t’shuvah, returning to God, during which our sense of business-as-usual could fall away, revealing what it means to be in community with each other and with the land. A human world that observed Shmita fully is a world that ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 21: Tikkun Olam and Climate Change

by Michael Garry Tikkun olam, which in Hebrew means “repair of the world,” has always been a guiding principle of the Jewish people, one that we teach our children and try to practice in our everyday lives.  In the modern era, tikkun olam means that Jews bear responsibility not only for their own moral, spiritual, and material welfare, but also for the welfare of society at large. It is well known that the welfare of the planet is now threatened by an environmental crisis called climate change, caused by unchecked emissions of carbon dioxide from ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 19: It’s All About the Soil

by Rabbi Robin Damsky “It’s All About the Soil.” So reads the headline for a website discussing regenerative agriculture. I’m torn between fear and possibility. Evidence of climate change worsens every place we breathe. I read several summaries of the most recent UN report on the climate crisis in which Antonio Guterres declares a “code red for humanity.” Yikes. I’ve always believed we have the power to heal our planet. I still do. But the window of opportunity is getting smaller and the actions we must take are more substantive. There ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 18: Perfection

by Rabbi Katy Allen Perfection. I've been thinking about it a lot. Intellectually, I know I can't be perfect. Inside me, in hidden spaces, I feel like I'm not supposed to make mistakes. Which would, of course, mean seeking perfection. Perfection is supposed to belong only to G!d, though I'm not sure I know what that means. Sometimes, when I'm able embrace my humanness, it's incredibly freeing to acknowledge that I don't have to be perfect. But I also realize there's a balance between not trying to be perfect all the time and not trying to never make ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 15: Counting to the Next Shmita Year

by David Krantz Among our more under-appreciated traits, we Jews are counters. We count for a prayer quorum, we count the omer, we count the days of the months to know when our holidays are. We might know the days of the week by their names – Sunday, Monday — but in Hebrew they are Yom Rishon, the First Day, and Yom Sheni, the second day. And before borrowing their current names from the Babylonian calendar, the Jewish months were numbered. What we now know as Elul was once the Sixth Month, leading to the Seventh Month that we now call Tishrei. Counting can ...

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My podcast interview with Glen Merzer, author of the potentially transformative book, “Food Is Climate,” which argues that the only way to avert a climate catastrophe is through a societal shift to vegan diets.


Earth Etude for Elul 10: Too Much of a Good Thing, or When All You’ve Ever Wanted is Really Too Much

by Rabbi Judy Kummer When this summer started, we in the Northeast were facing a drought. The levels of water in area lakes seemed to be down by as much as 4 feet, and rivers that should have been tumbling with early spring melt weren’t rushing and gurgling so much as dribbling, the vegetation on their nearby banks a droopy stunted mess. I was skeptical that the seedlings I had nurtured indoors all winter would survive if planted in my garden. And then, as we moved into summer, the rains began to fall. Where we gardeners may have expected an occasional rainfall to ...

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Can the Climate Crisis Bring Israeli and Diaspora Jews Together?

by Dr. Dov Maimon and Ambassador Gideon Behar ~The challenge of climate change may constitute a unique opportunity for joint action, especially among young Jews in Israel and the Diaspora, that would not only benefit the entire world, but also help create a renewed sense of mission for the Jewish people. Jews from across the globe could be mobilized for a task that transcends narrow Jewish interests: that of building an ecologically and socially responsible world, or in traditional Jewish terms: Tikkun Olam. Unlike the issue of human rights that galvanized young ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 9~ Environmental Justice and the Legacy of Redlining: A Call for Teshuvah

by Courtney Cooperman Jewish teachings about environmental stewardship emphasize our responsibility to protect Creation for future generations. In the Garden of Eden, God instructs Adam and Eve: “Take care not to spoil or destroy My world, for if you do, there will be no one to repair it after you” (Midrash Ecclesiastes Rabbah 7:13). Although Judaism frames our responsibility to care for the planet in forward-looking terms, our commitment to environmental protection demands that we look backwards, too. The concept of teshuvah requires that we consider the connect...

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Earth Etude for Elul 8: Not What I Want

by Rabbi Benjamin Weiner On the road to the farmstore in my electric car, the baby starting to doze in her safety seat, and the man in his cold British tones, explaining to the listeners an inexorable future of unmanageable heat, and the hostess says: I’m sorry, but that’s all the time we have, and she moves on to the new war in Afghanistan. ~ In the mornings, when I wake too early, and hear the sound of cars on the highway by my door, I lie as still as possible, willing the fixity I ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 7: Trees from my travels spell hope for civilization

by Susie Davidson Desert trees in Los Cerillos, New Mexico Trees by the Mississippi River in Burlington IowaTrees with a red bush accent in Yorba Linda, CaliforniaTrees on a red rock in the American Southwest When people admire my frequent traveling, I always say yes, but it's budget travel. "But that's the best way to really see places," they usually respond. It's true. Not only do I get to mingle with locals and walk all over, but on buses and trains, you see the outer landscapes. You see the fields, the hills, the bodies of water, the crops and the ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 5: Choosing Life as Nerds for the Earth

by Harvey Michaels ~Moses’ final message from G-d: This day…I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.  For millennia we have reflected on what it means to choose life; realizing that it is not always our life we’re choosing – our choices are more about our children and theirs; our communities, and our world. What does it mean to Choose Life for the Earth?  In recent years, I’m privileged to ask this question to classrooms of talented young people, and learned that when ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 4: A Letter to Mother Earth

by Rabbi Judy Schindler Dear Mother Earth, As we spiritually make our way through the month of Elul and approach the anniversary of your and our creation, you are in our prayers for healing. An illness extends across the globe – COVID-19.  We know that you can feel it.  You wonder why people wear masks when the air should be so perfect to inhale. You cringe that we have come to fear rains and their floods, winds and their consequent hurricanes, when instead we should stand in awe of the miraculous cycles of your natural world. We have ...

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An upcoming Zoom event that will help promote veganism.

Please share widely. The Compassion Consortium is proud to feature the free Jewish Veg documentary A Sacred Duty: Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal the World, and Dr. Richard Schwartz’s new book Vegan Revolution: Saving Our World, Revitalizing Judaism, for your consideration. So, check out the film (links below) and read the book. Then join us at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time on August 15, 2021 via Zoom as Dr. Schwartz and Lionel Friedberg, the film’s writers and producers, discuss the book and film and the historical and contemporary issues on Judaism, environmen...

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Article by Professor Yael Shemesh in the August 9 Jerusalem report, “Judaism does not allow the abuse of animals,” supporting my cover story, “Why Jews Should Be Vegans,” in the same issue

Prof. Yael Shemesh, Bible Department, Bar-Ilan University I have read the words of Prof. Richard Schwartz, an observant Jewish vegan who dedicates his life to promoting the vegetarian-vegan idea in accordance with Jewish values, as well as the words of Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld clearly demonstrating that he is a non-vegetarian. He even asks not to be preached to about stopping to consume meat. I will begin with my bottom line impression – both are right. Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld is right that Judaism is not a vegetarian religion and does not require its adherents to be ...

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My cover story in the August 9, 2021 Jerusalem Report on “Why Jews Should be Vegans”

https://www.jpost.com/jerusalem-report/heres-why-jews-should-be-vegans-675135 Since you may not be able toopen the link because you are not a Jerusalem Report subscriber, I have pasted the article below.                 Why Jews Should Be Vegans                                            Richard H. Schwartz, Ph.D I am proud to live in Israel, the eternal home of the Jewish people and arguably the vegan ...

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My letter in the July 28, 2021 Jerusalem Post on climate threats

Whither the weather?  Kol hakavod for your editorial “A bigger step needed” (July 27), which cogently argued that “Israel should step up its game” in responding to climate change.  Your article “Summer of disaster: Extreme weather wreaks havoc worldwide as climate change bears down,” (July 25) should convince everyone that the world is already suffering greatly from climate change.  It seems like there are almost daily reports of severe heat waves, droughts, wildfires, storms, floods and other effects of climate change. Within ...

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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 participation in public policy letting selfish interests predominate. For these things I weep; my eye, yea my eye, sheds ...

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