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Resources and articles on Judaism and the Environment

Events and Activities Ideas:  Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel Founded - June 8, 1954

If one were to remove the political and religious tensions that make up the day-to-day reality of Israel and look purely at the land, one would find an extremely beautiful nation. Israel is a nation with a rich mix of landscapes, environmental regions and unique species of plants and animals. For all this beauty and distinctiveness, there needs to be a guardian, and that organization is the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI). [Full article...]
By: 12th House 
Israel > Nature
Judaism > Judaism and the Environment


Israel and the Environment:  Spinning Plastic Into Gold?

Haim Chertok looks at environmentalism in Israel and wonders whether we'll ever try to address the ecological impact of what we do with our garbage or will we keep on proffering the same worn out excuses. Recycling bins have begun to appear on our streets and a new law was passed regarding returning our empties back to the shops. But is it really helping? [Full article...]
By: Haim Chertok
Judaism > Judaism and the Environment


Judaism and the Environment:  What is the true worth of green space?

The plans now under discussion for building up Hayarkon Park - including adding bridges over it and running a high tension line through it - prove once again that Israeli local council leaders, government offices and planning officials have not yet understood the importance of having open green spaces in urban areas and they are unable to provide the necessary protection for them. Hayarkon Park is not the only example. There are also plans to pave roads through the Jerusalem Forest and build a gas storage facility there and in Ayalon Park, scheduled to open at the southern entrance to Tel Aviv, municipal planning officials hope to finance the park's construction by granting building rights for areas within it.

[Full article...]
By: Zafrir Rinat
Judaism > Judaism and the Environment


Text Study:  The Children of Israel and the Land of Israel

Following are a variety of texts from both the Bible and modern writers concerning the relationship of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel. [Full article...]
By:
Judaism > Jewish Texts
Judaism > Judaism and the Environment


Judaism and Vegetarianism:  Are Jews Obligated to Be Vegetarians?

In promoting vegetarianism since 1977, I have been arguing that Jews have a choice as to whether or not to be vegetarians. In support of the view that Jews need not eat meat today is the Talmud (Pesachim 109a states that since the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, Jews are not required to eat meat in order to rejoice on festivals), scholarly articles by Rabbi Alfred Cohen and Rabbi J. David Bleich that indicate additional sources and arguments supporting the view that Jews do not need to eat meat in this period, and the fact that several Chief Rabbis are strict vegetarians. [Full article...]
By: Richard H. Schwartz
Judaism > Jewish Food
Judaism > Jewish Texts
Judaism > Judaism and the Environment


Judaism and the Environment:  The Seven Species (Shevat HaMinim)

Let's take a look at the seven species of agricultural produce that symbolize the fertility of Israel. These seven species are wheat, barley, grapevines, figs, pomegranates, olives and honey (from dates). Take a look at a few of the special characteristics of each of these. I would like to thank Ellen Frankel and Betsy Platkin Teutsch for their excellent work in compiling The Encyclopedia of Jewish Symbols (Jason Aronson, Inc., 1992) from which I culled the following information. [Full article...]
By: Gabe Goldman
Judaism > Judaism and the Environment


Judaism and the Environment:  Jews, Jewish Texts, and Nature: A Brief History

Once upon a time -- but this is neither a fairy tale nor a bedtime story -- we knew less about the natural world than we do today. Much less. But we understood that world better, much better, for we lived ever so much closer to its rhythms. [Full article...]
By: Daniel Swartz
Judaism > Judaism and the Environment


Judaism and the Environment:  Jewish Environmental Values: The Dynamic Tension Between Nature and Human Needs

Rabbi Saul Berman is an Associate Professor of Jewish Studies at the Stern College of Yeshiva University. Reprinted with permission from Human Values and the Environment, a publication of the University of Wisconsin. [Full article...]
By: Saul Berman
Judaism > Judaism and the Environment


Jewish Studies - The magazine of the Teshuva Movement :  How Can We Solve The Ecological Crisis?

Rabbi Prof. Yehudah Levi is a former Rector, head of the Physics/Electro-optics Department of the Jerusalem College of Technology, and has been a President of the American Orthodox Jewish Scientists both in the USA and Israel. He has published many books and journals on Torah and technical subjects, and has won awards for his writings. He is currently a lecturer at the Jerusalem Academy. (From: Yehudah Levi, facing Current Challenges, Talk 36) [Full article...]
By: Yehuda Levi
Judaism > Judaism and the Environment


Judaism and the Environment:  A Story of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov

The great-grandson of the Baal Shem Tov, Rabbi Nachman of Breslov (sometimes called Bratzlav, Breslau or Bratislava) was the founder of the Breslover Chasidic sect. Breslov is a town in the Ukraine where Rabbi Nachman spent the end of his life, but some say the name Breslov comes from the Hebrew bris lev, meaning "covenant of the heart." He emphasized living life with joy and happiness. One of his best-known sayings is, "It is a great mitzvah to be happy." Collections of his Chasidic tales (or tales attributed to him) are widely available in print. [Full article...]
By:
Judaism > Judaism and the Environment


A Brief Exploration of Water in Jewish Texts and History:  Mayim Chayyim: The Waters of Life

The scarcity of water played a central role in the early history of the Jewish people. In order to sustain agriculture and replenish wells and cisterns, our ancestors in Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel) depended upon unpredictable and often inadequate seasonal rain and dew. This is the ecological context for the following texts. [Full article...]
By:
Judaism > Judaism and the Environment


Judaism and the Environment:  Israel and it's Environment - The Flip Side of Zionism's Success: Israel's Environmental Woes

Dr. Alon Tal is the director of the Arava Institute of Environmental Studies at Kibbutz Ketura and the board chair of Adam Teva V'Din: The Israel Union for Environmental Defense. [Full article...]
By: Alon Tal
Judaism > Judaism and the Environment


Judaism and the Environment:  When the Quality of Society is Strained

Social ecology looks to improve the world by combining environmental advocacy with social justice. Local environmentalists have turned those principles into a battle against the Trans-Israel Highway and globalization [Full article...]
By: Orna Coussin
Judaism > Judaism and the Environment


Judaism and the Environment:  Bal Tashchit: the development of a Jewish environmental principle

One can see the development not only of Jewish law but of a Jewish environmental ethic by tracing the principle of Bal Tashchit, do not destroy or waste, from its biblical origin through later rabbinic interpretation. The six texts below, arranged in chronological order, show the expansion through time not only of the legal prohibition itself, but also the growing depth of understanding about the ethical dimensions of this prohibition. [Full article...]
By:
Judaism > Judaism and the Environment


Judaism and the Environment:  Is There Room For Everyone?

Israel is already one of the most crowded countries in the Western world; in another 20 years, it will be numero uno. Will everybody fit? A report on the new National Master Plan for the 21st century, which aims to preserve our open spaces while increasing housing density in existing communities. [Full article...]
By: Esther Zandberg
Judaism > Judaism and the Environment


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