Tag Archives: Environment

Lighting Our Lamps With Oil

“You shall further instruct the Israelites to bring you clear oil of beaten olives for lighting, for kindling lamps regularly” reads the first sentence of this week’s Torah portion, Tetzaveh (Exodus 27:20). While immersed in teaching high school students at NFTY Convention and during L’Taken Social Justice Seminars about the connection between Judaism and environmentalism, reading this sentence struck me. This week’s parshah, which mostly focuses on priestly vestments and making the mishkan, or the Tabernacle, begins with a description of sacred oil. To my contemporary mind, oil translates as a non-renewable energy source that when burned in our cars and power plants produces greenhouse gases and accelerate climate disruption. Read more…

Education, Action, and Advocacy at NFTY Convention 2015!

Last week I joined the Religious Action Center’s programming team at NFTY Convention 2015 in Atlanta, GA to help lead a social justice track.

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This Passover: A Season of Justice for the Environment

Passover is my favorite time of year. More than exchanging presents on Hanukkah or blowing shofar by on the beaches of the Atlantic on Rosh Hashanah (my family’s tradition), Passover is when I am most able to connect with my family and my own Jewish values. While the extended meal and Seder lend themselves easily to close interpersonal and spiritual renewal, it’s the central concepts of Passover that make me return to this time of year again and again with excitement and energy; Passover is a holiday about social justice and freedom from oppression. It is an opportunity, among family and friends, to dig deeper into the issues of our time.

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Celebrate Purim with the Green Adar Challenge: Eco-Mishloach Manot!

Welcome to the Jewish Month of Adar! This month in the Jewish year we celebrate Purim by reading Megillat Esther, dressing up in costumes and sending our friends and families mishloach manot gift baskets. There are many ways to incorporate environmental themes into every holiday, from reading prayers for our earth in services to using recycled materials to make our costumes. Read more…

President Obama's budget documents

Encouraged by the President’s Budget – But What’s Next?

As people of faith, our Jewish values encourage us to advocate for systems that can lift people out of poverty. Jewish history also provides us with an example for helping the needy. During Talmudic times, much of tzedakah (justice) was done though tax-financed, community-run programs that helped those in needed, paralleling the social safety net that we continue to fight for today. Coming from the President, his proposed federal budget is a list of priorities for how funding should be spent in the year to come. Our budget is a moral document that can create the platform for addressing these and other injustices.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has estimated that the President’s budget would slightly reduce the debt as a share of GDP (gross domestic product) over the first ten years and would then stabilize it through 2040. This finding signifies how the budget President Obama has proposed is one that is responsible while also continuing to fund many important human needs programs. Read more…

The Movie PUMP and Making Meaningful Change on Climate

As we watch global temperatures rise and droughts worsen, many Americans find themselves stuck, unable to make the changes to their lifestyle necessary to significantly reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. This, in large part, is due to American dependence on our cars for transportation and the oil that we need to power them. Read more…

Saving the Places We Love

“What do you like doing best in the world, Pooh?” asked Christopher Robin. 

“Well, said Pooh, what I like best—” and then he had to stop and think. Because although eating honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.

I discovered A.A. Milne’s magical creations late in life. But with great stories like this, it is never too late. Christopher Robin’s question got me thinking about what it is that I like doing best. One of them was spending time at Chata, a rustic cabin in the woods near Brno, Czechoslovakia where I grew up. You had to hike in and when you got there the smells were all pine and fir tree sap, spring flowers, the charcoaly smell of the fire pit where we baked potatoes, trout my father caught and those delicious wild strawberries. Read more…

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