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


Blogs

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 6: I Am a Terrible Gardener

by Rabbi Megan Doherty I am a terrible gardener. But I garden anyway. I hate weeding. I water my plants too much, or too little. I don’t know from fertilizer, or mulch, or those fancy cages which keep out the deer and the birds. I live in rural Ohio, and when I look at the thriving mini-farms my neighbors create and tend, I want to throw my hands up in despair. But I plant. One year, my dad showed up at our house with a bunch of lumber and built raised beds in our backyard. The process was a beacon for awestruck kindergartners, who showed up with ...

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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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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 Amelia Earhart Dam completion, and greenway connectivity into Boston. While tabling at events, I spread the word that ...

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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" (שָׁמ), which is Hebrew for "there." Basically, heaven is just multiple "theres." Each of us has a "there" we would like ...

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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 breath of the breeze, A breath so controlled it seems to last forever. The tiny birds fly this way and that, Aligh...

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Elul is Coming and So Are the Etudes by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen We are rolling around to Elul now on the Jewish calendar. It feels too soon, and yet, it also feels right on time. Too soon, because Elul always comes too soon. I'm never really ready. And right on time, because it's impossible to be ready.  The clock ticks, the calendar days fly by, and IT arrives, whatever IT may be. A wedding, a birth, death, the start of a new school year, Shabbat, a difficult conversation – whatever it is we are awaiting, it always comes too soon – or sometimes not ...

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My Draft of a Haggadah for a Restored and Transformed New Year For Animals Event

Shalom, Below is my very preliminary draft for a Haggadah’ for a future ‘Seder’ for a renewed and transformed New Year for Animals. It is presented mainly to get people thinking about possibilities for future observances of the restored ancient Jewish holiday. We may end up with an approach or approaches very different from the one I am suggesting in this draft. And that would be fine with me. I would very much welcome your input on this and suggestions for other possible approaches. In reviewing this, please do not be concerned with the wordage, the ...

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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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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 other volunteers. For almost two decades, Tal has served as one of Aytzim's Green Zionist Alliance representatives on ...

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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 Jewish climate action network. Opportunities are still available for connecting with other climate activists in your ...

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Rainbow Day is May 8-9 in 2021, the week following Shabbat Behar-Bechukotai!

Celebrate Rainbow Day and the Rainbow Covenant with all Life! The first covenant in the Torah, when Noah leaves the ark, is a covenant with all creatures, and a covenant with the Earth itself, not just with humanity. There are so many ways you can teach about this covenant, the rainbow covenant, on the day it was established! What is Rainbow Day?  On the 27th day of the second month, Noah, his family, and all the animals that were with them left the ark (Genesis 8). Exactly one lunar year and ten days before—one complete solar year—the flood began on ...

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Watch Richard Schwartz’s interview on how plant-based diets can help save our world…

Richard Schwartz will be interviewed on Monday, October 19 at 8:30 PM Israeli time, 1:30 PM US eastern time, by the Israeli organization "Root and Branch." He will be discussing his unprecedented, potentially transformative campaign, in conjunction with his recently published book, VEGAN REVOLUTION: SAVING the WORLD, REVITALIZING JUDAISM, to promote veganism and to try to shift our imperiled planet onto a sustainable path...   The link to register is: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0ld--trzkvE9U3pQB8jT8zFne3W7iQDSK8   Some of what will be discussed: ...

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Yom Kippur and Veganism/Vegetarianism

by Richard Schwartz There are many connections that can be made between the sacred Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur and plant-based diets which may be interpreted as “vegan,” or at least “vegetarian.” 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. The connection to the vegan and vegetarian ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 2: Reflections on The Challenges of Living with Fear and Hope

by Maxine Lyons I find new signs of hope and gratitude for the changes that I feel are beginning to surface despite the anxieties and sadness I feel for the families who have lost loved ones to COVID-19, and for the heightened consciousness of racism. We are living through a time when many forces are coming together with the potential to change our daily lives, setting in motion systemic reforms to our institutions that could dismantle systemic racism. I feel fearful that social upheaval or outright rebellion could de-stabilize us as a country or alternatively, could ...

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New Year for Animals Zoom Discussion in USA

You are cordially invited to attend a Zoom discussion of the historic, potentially transformative initiative to restore the ancient New Year for Animals and to transform it into a day devoted to increasing awareness of Jewish teachings about compassion to animals and how far current realities are from these teachings. It will also consider how animal-based diets and agriculture seriously violate basic Jewish teachings about preserving human health, treating animals with compassion, protecting the environment, conserving natural resources, helping hungry people, and ...

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