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Eco-Rabbi: Parshat Pinchas – Sacrifice

Two brothers wanted to thank God for what he had given them, but God only accepted the sacrifice of one of them. Abel sent the best of his livestock in thanks to God for all the blessing that he had given him and God found favor in his actions and accepted his gift. His brother, […]

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Eco-Rabbi: Parshat Chukat – Hitting The Land

Last week, God took care of the waste in the camp. This week Moses hits the rock. The Israelites had been traveling in the desert for roughly forty years, and Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron, dies. After Miriam dies suddenly the People of Israel lack water. Commentaries explain that in Miriam’s merit a […]

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Heschel Center's Online Environmental Shavuot Webinar

There are lots of great environmentally friendly outdoor activities to do during Shavuot, but if you don’t feel like going outdoors (or if you’re in a cheese coma) then the Heschel Center for Environmental Learning and Leadership is hosting an online seminar about Shavuot and the environment. We applaud the Heschel Center for this creative […]

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A Happy, Sustainable Passover to All

Spring is here at last which also means the festival of Passover is soon upon us. Many Jewish festivals represent an opportunity to reflect on our ecological and ethical footprints and this is especially true on Pesach when our thoughts fall on the issues of our food, freedom and those who have none to take […]

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A Healthy, Sustainable Purim

Food is never something lacking at Jewish celebrations, but, like most things in life, their environmental footprint keeps expanding, whether the factory-farmed chicken that ends up in the soup pan, or the throwaway plastic cutlery destined to spend the next few centuries in a landfill site. Our friends at Jewish eco-NGO, Hazon, have devised a […]

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Eco Rabbi: Stones and Health

It once happened that a farmer was removing stones from his field and putting them onto a public thoroughfare. There was a certain pious person who challenged the farmer: “Why are you taking stones from what is not yours and putting them onto what belongs to you?” The farmer just laughed.

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Shmita year, an introduction from Israel

Our readers have also been asking about organic gardening during the shmita (or Sabbatical) year in the land of Israel. Are there any loopholes around the halacha? What does shmitta mean? We love the idea of shmitta. The biblically ordained one year out of seven when the land is left to lie fallow (this applies […]

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Feed Your Soul on Tu B’Shvat

(Cross-posted on the Jew and the Carrot.)Although Israel has grown into a modern post-industrial economy, the country still has strong agrarian roots, most famously, the agricultural socialist community of the kibbutz.So it’s no surprise that the relatively minor Jewish festival of Tu B’shvat, which starts tonight, has been growing in importance. In recent years Tu […]

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Eco Rabbi: Judgement Day

Throughout history when a great event happened people would reset their calendar. When a new king became ruler the year would start again with one. Similarly, that is why we are in the year 2008 Anno Domini, Latin for: in the year of our Lord, referring to the birth of Jesus. In the Jewish calendar, […]

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Eco Rabbi: Man, the Tree of the Field

“There are four heads of the year… on the fifteenth of Shvat for the trees…” Mishna, Tractate Rosh Hashana, 1:1 As our home revolves around the Sun, the Jewish calendar is circular as well. How does one year have four beginnings? A circle does not have any beginning, nor does it have an end. Wherever […]

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Eco – Thought for the Day

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) Those timely words written back somewhere between the sixth and eighth centuries pretty […]

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Wanna Start Your Own Desert Commune?

Since the foundation of the first Kibbutz in Israel, nations around the world have looked to the Israeli model for communal living. One of the cornerstones of the kibbutz movement is C.A.L.L. (Communes at Large Letter), a seasonal magazine that reports on intentional communities in Israel and the rest of the world.

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Eco Rabbi on Solar Panels and Charity

Haaretz reported today that the tender for building a massive solar power plant in the Negev will not be given preference to Israeli companies. The article explains that, “The decision was made, among other things, to avoid the impression that the tender was written for the benefit of the only two Israeli companies who could […]

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The Qu’ran on the Environment

I was out walking about a forest around Jerusalem today and kept hearing gunshots firing off from the Arab village across the way. They’re celebrating Hajj now, said my boyfriend. And I thought of all the Muslims who must be aching to make their pilgrammage to Mecca. With so many people converging in one small […]