Eco-Rabbi: Genesis and Environment

Yonathan Neril, Eco Bible, Eco Rabbi

Yonathan Neril, co-author of Eco Bible, Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development

“Look at My work, how beautiful and perfect is everything that I created. I created it for you. Be careful not to ruin and destroy My world. If you ruin it, there is nobody to restore it after you.” (Ecclesiastes Rabba 7:28)

What is an eco-rabbi? It’s a person who brings the Jewish faith message to the environmental movement.

It’s not only about carbon offsetting and it’s not about who’s right. The above passage is the bottom line. In this week’s Torah segment God creates the heavens and the earth. He gave it to us “to work it and to keep it” and it doesn’t look too good at the moment.

World-renowned physicist, Stephen Hawking, exclaimed: “The survival of the human race depends on its ability to find new homes elsewhere in the universe because there’s an increasing risk that a disaster will destroy the Earth.”

And the Norwegian government along with the Global Crop Diversity Trust (GCDT) has created a Doomsday Vault. Some 700 km from the North Pole they have established the vault to preserve a wide variety of plant seeds from locations worldwide in an underground cavern. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault holds duplicate samples of seeds held in genebanks worldwide to provide insurance against the loss of seeds in genebanks, as well as a refuge for seeds in the case of large scale regional or global crises.

This all sounds grim but guess what? It is. I usually like to keep these posts upbeat, but there is so much to do yet before we can exhale, knowing that we are leaving a true legacy and not a mess for the upcoming generations.

Let’s not let our climate’s tipping point come and go without a fight. With the new year in let’s all take on a little more. It’s about making change, and lot’s of it!

How about start your conversation with the Eco Bible.

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4 thoughts on “Eco-Rabbi: Genesis and Environment”

  1. Ilan Braun says:

    Hello/Shalom Jack and readers!
    Very nice article as I am just discovering GreenProphet, a wonderful website! I firmly believe that anyone who believes in G’d (or are we pretending to?)is obligated to love all of nature, that is including spiders, scorpions, bats and sharks.. as well as trees, flowers,rocks even, and of course, wolves, jackals, foxes, leopards, and of course stars and clouds, earth and air.. and what about people? Love of every piece of this Creation then our severe ecological problems will melt like snow on the Hermon.. It is so easy to love! But really, is it? Let’s try harder this new year 2011!
    Sorry if my English is not perfect.. I am just a Judeo-French guy.. my website is partly in English. See my pictures of Israeli landscapes and more! Thank you!

  2. true that! healthy living (including social structures interacting with the world) is all about balance.

  3. Michael says:

    Instead of persevering to the bit where the L-rd placed Adam in the Garden of Eden “to work it and keep it” (Genesis 2:15), some people got stuck at an earlier verse:

    “Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over… every living thing that creepeth upon earth” (Genesis 1:28).

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