Israel / Zionism / Middle East Subscribe

A selection of initiatives, blogs, resources and communities on Jewcology which focus on Israel, Zionism and the Middle East.


Blogs

Bikes, Trees and Gardens: Greening Israel Since 2001

NEW YORK (Dec. 16, 2011) — Saving wilderness, fighting fracking, protecting Israel’s 99 percent from the world's 1 percent — what a decade it’s been! This month marks the end of the 10th anniversary of the Green Zionist Alliance. Back before Israel’s Tent Cities and Occupy Wall Street, the Green Zionist Alliance began 2011 by becoming part of a successful effort to change the equation of what percentage of natural-resource profits goes to companies and what percentage goes to the Israeli public, who collectively own the ...

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Samar Gets Temporary Reprieve — Let’s Make it Permanent!

Israel's Samar sand dunes — and the unique animal species that live there — may be destroyed, unless we act now. (Photo courtesy of Taal Goldman of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies) NEW YORK (Nov. 14, 2011) — We are being heard: The Samar sand dunes have been granted a temporary reprieve from destruction! Although the bulldozers were scheduled to start mining the dunes weeks ago, work has been indefinitely postponed in the wake of our efforts and the protests conducted by our partner environmental organizations ...

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Here are three things to do for Shabbat Noach!

Here are three very simple things you can do for Shabbat Noach to honor God's covenant with all life: 1) Learn and teach the rainbow blessing: "Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha`olam ZOKHER ET HABRIT -- Blessed be You, Hashem...who remembers the covenant!" And -- you can remember that the first covenant in the Torah wasn't just for humanity. It was a covenant with all animals and with the land itself. 2) Say a prayer for the all living things. You can find a prayer based on the rainbow covenant and P'ri Eitz Hadar (the first Tu Bishvat seder) on jewcology.org/resou...

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Almost Out of Time: Act Now to Save Samar

Israel's Samar sand dunes — and the unique animal species that live there — may be destroyed, unless we act now. (Photo courtesy of Taal Goldman of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies) NEW YORK (Oct. 12, 2011) — The bulldozers and dump trucks are getting ready. Without intervention, they will begin carting away one of Israel’s unique ecosystems, the Samar sand dunes, home to species that live nowhere else on the planet. And soon, at the government’s initiation, the sands of Samar in Israel’s Arava ...

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GZA Leads KKL-JNF Effort Against Fracking in Israel

NEW YORK (Sept. 16, 2011) — Hydraulic fracturing and in-situ retorting for oil in Israel should be banned in Israel pending further research into the environmental effects of the relatively new fossil-fuel extraction techniques, according to a new report issued by Israel’s Keren Kayemet L’Yisrael / Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF) at the initiation of the Green Zionist Alliance. The report and its recommendations, which were drafted and approved unanimously by a KKL-JNF committee convened and chaired by Green Zionist Alliance representative Dr. ...

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Hydrofracking and the Book of Job

By Rabbi Lawrence Troster Most scholars believe that chapter 28 of the Book of Job is a later poetic addition into the text. The poem is nonetheless a beautiful hymn to Wisdom (Hokhmah) and a meditation on how to acquire it. The unknown Wisdom teacher who composed this poem is warning us that we cannot find wisdom in the ingenuity of human activity, which can even encompass the searching the depths of the Earth through the mining of precious metals and jewels. “Man sets his hand against the flinty rock and overturns mountains by the roots. He ...

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The Israeli Summer: Tent Cities, Bombs, Boycotts and Herzl’s Dream

NEW YORK (Aug. 22, 2011) — If you thought Theodor Herzl’s dream was fulfilled with the establishment of the modern state of Israel in 1948, think again. Thousands are camping out in Israel’s cities, demanding social change. Thousands more around the world, angered by the Palestinians’ situation, seek to boycott Israel. Meanwhile, Egypt, Israel and Gaza volley bombs and rockets in escalating attacks and counterattacks. Which brings us back to Herzl. His dream wasn’t simply the creation of a Jewish democratic state, but the creation of a ...

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Lessons for Israel from Ghana

SEFWI WIAWSO, Ghana — About six years ago the Ghanaian government brought a delegation of Jews from the Israeli town of Dimona to Accra, Ghana’s capital, to speak about the importance of local agricultural production and consumption. But even though Ghana has a long way to go on its path to becoming a developed nation — becoming part of the so-called “First World” — there's a lot that Israel can learn from Ghana. For example, here in Sefwi Wiawso, a small town in southwestern Ghana near the country’s border with Ivory ...

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The Story of Us: Growing Community and Inspiring Action

As Jewish environmental leaders, what drives us to do the work we do? Is it a single transformative experience? Or a longer build-up over months or years? Some of us grew up with an attachment to nature. For others of us, meeting someone whose father died from pesticide exposure, or participating in the first Earth Day back in 1970, or, more recently, watching Al Gore in the film “An Inconvenient Truth,” was a call to action. Or for some of us, maybe it was just finally becoming part of a group that also preferred stargazing over “Dancing with the ...

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Saving Samar: Together We Can Protect the Last of Israel’s Sahara

Israel's Samar sand dunes — and the unique animal species that live there — may be destroyed. (Photos courtesy of Taal Goldman of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies) NEW YORK (May 26, 2011) — Picture a desert and you'll probably envision rolling hills of sand like those traversed by the nomadic caravans of the Sahara. Yet, even though the majority of Israel is desert, almost none of it is like the Sahara except for a small section near the southern tip of Israel in the Arava Valley: the Samar sand dunes. ...

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A Sustainable Jewish Nation

This week we celebrated Lag B’Omer, the Jewish “bonfire” holiday. Many of my environmentalist friends oppose Lag B’Omer celebrations due to the heavy air pollution caused by the large and numerous bonfires. Yet I actually like this holiday, despite its negative environmental impact. I find great value in sitting together under the stars, around the fire, sharing song, food, and conversation. Perhaps it’s the proximity to natural warmth, or maybe it’s the essence of sitting together in a circle…but time after time, when I ...

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“Eretz Israel sheli yafa vegam porachat”

For those who did not learn that song when you were little kids at school, this song means “My Land of Israel is beautiful and blooming”. The reason I did not write last month’s blog is because I was pretty busy preparing for one of the most important steps in my life: I made aliyah! Just before Pesach. I came back to Israel just for aviv-spring time, the time of blooming. Being honest, one of the hard things of leaving Chile, was to leave its natural wonders (just to mention an example, from my window, I could enjoy the view of the Andes every ...

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Israel: The New Saudi Arabia?

NEW YORK (May 1, 2011) — Together with large natural-gas reserves recently found off Israel’s Mediterranean coast, a new technology that may yield billions of barrels of oil in Israel may make the nation a global energy powerhouse. "Israel could attain energy independence," Dr. Yuval Bartov, chief technology officer and chief geologist at Israel Energy Initiatives — one of the companies pursuing oil in Israel — recently told The Jerusalem Report. But the potential oil rush is a mixed blessing for Israel: Although the ...

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The Future of Nuclear Energy and the Threats of Coal & Natural Gas

Like most of the world, I have been giving a lot of thought recently to the question of nuclear energy. Just 4 weeks ago, before the Fukushimadisaster, I was asked a question about Nuclear energy while presenting at Tribefest in Las Vegas. I gave my standard answer, an answer that has been haunting me for weeks. “Unfortunately, while nuclear energy may have long term environmental consequences, the imminent threat of climate change and the economic realities of the energy markets make nuclear a necessity in the short term.” What is clear in my ...

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Honey from the Rock: A Question

Better Place, the brain child of Israeli born Shai Agassi, is making an impact worldwide, and that is even before one car has hit the streets. Better Place is the first company of its kind to develop an economically viable model to propagate the mass the production and purchasing of electric vehicles based on a subscription service. The subscription service, described as being similar to a cell phone subscription, means that the battery belongs to Better Place and depending on the package, the consumer will have various choices of charging and battery replacement ...

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It’s time to increase our unity

First of all, I want to apologize, because I won’t write about any environmental topic. I just want to refer to the situation in Israel, that we have been living in the last couple of weeks. Our brothers and sisters that either were killed, or are suffering after the trauma, deserve this words. Every situation that we live has a meaning, an underline message. Of course there is no way to understand why that specific family (Z.L) from Itamar was brutally killed, or why the victims of the terrorist attack at the bus stop were there, but still, we must ask ...

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Trees without Bulldozers: Environmental Justice for the Bedouin

NEW YORK (March 17, 2011) — When David Ben-Gurion envisioned making the desert bloom, bulldozing Bedouin villages to make way for new groves of trees is not exactly what he had in mind. But, in the name of environmentalism, that is exactly what Keren Kayemet L’Yisrael / Jewish National Fund did recently, bulldozing the village of al-Araqib for the 21st time since last July as part of its $600-million Blueprint Negev project. It gets worse: In order to plant the new grove of trees, KKL-JNF also bulldozed about 850 olive trees owned by the villagers of ...

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Urban Crayola tools

Oh wow..! What a day it was… we started early morn the truck arrives with trees and bougainvilleas in all rainbow shades that lift our hearts already. The new immigrants coming straight from Ulpan (Hebrew class) folding sleeves and starting to work the staff from Netafim (a big local-based and international irrigation company) that have been aiding us from day one and have agreed to come and pitch in. It’s happening at last – we are growing and will now be able to offer 30 more plots for growing vegetables in the middle of the urban prairie. This move is after ...

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Topsy-Turvy World: Environmental Campaign Relaunched

GZA members enjoyed their tour of the Topsy Turvy Bus at the Green Israel Summit this past October. NEW YORK (Feb. 11, 2011) — Long past December, this year’s Chanukah miracle is that the oil is still burning. Fueled by cooking oil first used during the Green Zionist Alliance’s Chanukah party at Greenpoint Shul, the Topsy Turvy Bus begins its third Jewish environmental tour today in Raleigh, N.C. The GZA’s Chanukah oil alone, though, may not have gotten the bus past Delaware, and the miracle would have stopped ...

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My Oh Mayim: Rethinking Water Usage in a Land Flowing with Milk and Honey, but Little Water.

Ushavtem mayim b'sason.Draw water in joy. A classic song of joy danced to at every celebration by millionsof Jews worldwide. Jews sing and dance about water at every proayer service and celebration. Through our prayer, song and dance, we hope that Israel willhave enough water for the coming year. The last couple of years have seen the harshest drought to hit the region in decades. Demand for water is high and continues to grow as population expands, therefore Israel's fresh (sweet) water resources are quickly drying up, and Israelis know it. Israeli ...

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