Eco-Activist Yeshiva in Jerusalem Brings the Torah Down to Earth

A volunteer working in the Hansen Community Gardens

A volunteer working in the Hansen Community Gardens

The links between religion and environmental concern/activism are no news to Green Prophet.  We’ve covered them in our Eco Rabbi series, discussion of the environment and the Qu’ran, and in stories about multi-faith perspectives on the environment.

But it was news to discover an Eco-Activist Beit Midrash (EABM) in Jerusalem’s Yeshivat Simchat Shlomo, which, in their own words, tries to “bring Torah down to earth.”

Founded last year and based in Nachlaot – a neighborhood near the center of Jerusalem – EABM’s founder’s statement proclaims that “we envision a learning center for people inspired by the natural world and dedicated to it’s current struggle with humankind to have a chance to connect to their own Jewish roots and tradition of change… The tremendous body of Jewish law is about fixing the relationship between people and the Creator, through the land we live on and through the interactions we face with each other.”

EABM’s mission is “to become a serious center for a deep Torah ecology, connected to land and our modern people, cultivating a cadre of rooted, informed and inspired activists to bring lights of Tikun (fixing) into our own communities and the world.”

Construction of mud walls for a new retreat center

Construction of mud walls for a new retreat center

In light of these goals, EABM promotes learning both inside and outside of the classroom.  Three mornings a week are spent studying traditional texts, while afternoons are spent studying the correlation between modern environmental problems and traditional texts.  Two days a week are spent outdoors, studying the ecology and history of Israel.

EABM also hosts many activities which are open to the public (to RSVP contact Shaul at [email protected]).  Here are some of their upcoming events:

July 22 (Rosh Chodesh Av): Eco-perspectives in Breishit with Rav Dov Berkovitz at Yakar in Katamon (1:30pm)

July 28: Rav Dov Berkovitz, part 2, in Simchat Shlomo (2:30pm)

August 2: Class with Jonathan Nerill on learning from trees in Gan Saker (10am)

August 2: Lecture with Alon Tal on Israel’s environmental crisis and movement at the JNF building (2pm)

August 4: Desert full moon trip (leaves Nachlaot at 7pm and returns at 10am the next morning)

:: Yeshivat Simchat Shlomo Eco-Activist Beit Midrash

Read more about religion and the environment::

Environmental Conference for Imams Challenges Israeli Muslims to Go Green

Rabbi Julian Joins with Other Faiths to ‘Love God, Heal Earth’

Faith & the Environment: Multi-Faith Perspectives

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