Eco-Theology Subscribe

A selection of initiatives, blogs, resources and communities on Jewcology which focus on eco-theology.


Blogs

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 14: Turkey Tails and Teshuvah

by Rabbi Marisa Elana James In the park near my house is a large tree that fell last winter, the trunk slowly falling into decay thanks to four seasons of sun and rain and snow and wind slowly transitioning it back to the soil. When I pass it on walks, I always stop to see what’s new on the slowly-rotting trunk, because I’ve learned that it’s just as beautiful as the living, flowering trees that surround it. Mushrooms can grow incredibly fast, seemingly appearing from one day to the next, helping break down dead wood while taking nourishment from it. And ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 13: Crater Lake

by Rabbi Shira Shazeer Many months after the world changed After worry, adjustment, connections lost and found Relearning how to live How to work How to family How to community ~ After holding on Holding together Holding, holding, ~ I took to the open road Family in tow To see the land and the wonder it holds ~ To reach out and in and rediscover Who am I Wherever I am In this world ~ I am no Thoreau Not Diana of the Dunes Alone with the world In quiet contemplation Rugged self ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 12~Shmita: The Seven Year Switch

by Mirele B. Goldsmith This Rosh HaShanah is also the start of the Shmita, the Sabbatical Year.  The Torah’s Shmita focuses on land as the nexus of our relationship to Earth and demands that we let it rest from the damage caused by agriculture. To ensure that everyone can participate, all debts are released.  During the Shmita year the produce of the land is shared so that everyone has what they need to survive.  Today, Earth is threatened by the exploitation of fossil fuels that is causing damage that was unimaginable to our ancestors.  But ...

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Earth Etude for Elul 11: Morning Prayer

by Judith Felsen I awaken to a world uncertain of its future …Your will…??? ~ I perceive an earth in conflict and divided …Divine design…??? ~ I envision a tomorrow wondering and doubtful Heavenly plan…??? ~ I imagine next year’s future knowing it may not arrive Exalted humbling…??? ~ I experience uncertainty life’s newness in unknowns Celestial opening…??? ~ I dissolve myself in guidance fused in trust Divine order… ??? ~ I enroll as one in service building earth anew M...

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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 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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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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Invitation to three Zoom events about restoring and transforming the ancient Jewish New Year for Animals

Shalom,      You are cordially invited to attend any or all of three Zoom events that will consider restoring the ancient Jewish New Year for Animals and transforming it into a day devoted to increasing awareness  of Jewish teachings about compassion for animals and how far current realities for animals are from these teachings.      The teach-ins will consider how animal-based diets and agriculture seriously violate basic Jewish teachings about preserving human health, treating animals with compassion, protecting the environment, ...

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Plans for activities for restoring the ancient Jewish New Year for Animals and transforming it into a day devoted to improving conditions for animals.

     I am working with other Jewish veg activists to organize many events in an 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. The events 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 ...

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“A New Year for Animals?” article by Abigail Klein Leichner in the August 9 Jerusalem Report

[This article discusses my efforts to restore the ancient Jewish New Year for Animals and to transform it into a day devoted to increasing awareness of judaism's teachings on compassion to animals and how far current realities are3vfrom these teachings.] A New Year for Animals? By Abigail Klein Leichman Just as Tu BiShvat was reinvented from a Temple-centric day marking the start of the fruit and nut tithing cycle into an ecologically conscious Jewish New Year for the Trees, the New Year for Animals on the first of Elul – when animal tithes were assessed for ...

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