fbpx

Author Archive | Isaiah Rothstein

isaiah_rothstein

Earth Day, JTree, and Tu B’Shvat

By Rabbi Isaiah Rothstein Hazon Rabbi-in-Residence What is Tu B’Shvat? What is a Tu B’Shvat Seder? Not one, but four times over the course of the year we are called upon to mark a new year, a rosh hashanah. Of these four new years in the Mishnah (Rosh Hashanah 1:1), it is taught that the 15th of Shvat (Tu B’Shvat) is the new year for the trees. Only one rosh hashanah became popularized as the Rosh Hashanah, when we reflect on our actions, pray for the wellness of the year, and perform teshuva. When the Temple service in Jerusalem ceased, the other three new years effectively went dormant for about 1500 years. The holy kabbalists under the leadership of Rabbi Isaac Luria (1534-1572) created a new Tu B’Shvat tradition with the multi-sensory seder we experience today. Humanity and Trees in the Jewish Tradition Though Tu B’Shvat was paused, trees continued to grow both in reality and on the pages of Jewish texts. In Jewish tradition, a relationship was formed between trees and humanity in the first week (see Gen. 2:9) and it still exists today. In fact, later in the Torah, we are reminded that it is forbidden to cut down a tree during times of war (Deut. 20:19). The […]

Continue Reading
Hazon Logo - new

We Are the Weather: A Year of Environmental Teshuva

ראש חודש אלול תשע״ט  ——–  Rosh Chodesh Elul 5779, August 29th, 2019 Dear Rabbis and Clergy, I hope that you have now received a pre-publication copy of Jonathan Safran Foer’s We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast. I’m writing to explain why we arranged to have this sent to you, and how we hope it might be useful to you. We really are in a climate crisis, and this year, and even this summer, feels like a tipping point of sorts – not only in terms of extreme weather events – this past July was the hottest month on record – ever, but also in relation to people’s consciousness of them. A growing number of people in the Jewish community feel strongly that we ought to be “doing something” about this – but what exactly we do and how we make an impact is sometimes less clear. This is why at Hazon we intend to raise our game in the coming months and years. We’re here to catalyze and support Jewish institutions and Jewish leaders, as Jewish tradition compels us to respond to this crisis. In addition: most people have some sense that food is central to […]

Continue Reading
Hazon Logo - new

A Year of Environmental Teshuva

ראש חודש אלול תשע״ט  ——–  Rosh Chodesh Elul 5779, August 29th, 2019 Dear Rabbis and Clergy, Hazon is entering into a year of Environmental Teshuva. The backdrop is that: We really are in a climate crisis, and this year, and even this summer, feels like a tipping point of sorts – not only in terms of extreme weather events – this past July was the hottest month on record – ever, but also in relation to people’s consciousness of them. A growing number of people in the Jewish community feel strongly that we ought to be “doing something” about this – but what exactly we do and how we make an impact is sometimes less clear. This is why at Hazon we intend to raise our game in the coming months and years. We’re here to catalyze and support Jewish institutions and Jewish leaders, as Jewish tradition compels us to respond to this crisis. In addition: most people have some sense that food is central to Jewish life and Jewish tradition. But they’re far less aware that food choices – especially in relation to industrial meat, industrial dairy, and food waste – are one of the top two anthropogenic drivers […]

Continue Reading
Hazon Logo - new

A Year of Environmental Teshuva

ראש חודש אלול תשע״ט  ——–  Rosh Chodesh Elul 5779, August 29th, 2019 Dear Rabbinical Council Members, Hazon is entering into a year of Environmental Teshuva. The backdrop is that: We really are in a climate crisis, and this year, and even this summer, feels like a tipping point of sorts – not only in terms of extreme weather events – this past July was the hottest month on record – ever, but also in relation to people’s consciousness of them. A growing number of people in the Jewish community feel strongly that we ought to be “doing something” about this – but what exactly we do and how we make an impact is sometimes less clear. This is why at Hazon we intend to raise our game in the coming months and years. We’re here to catalyze and support Jewish institutions and Jewish leaders, as Jewish tradition compels us to respond to this crisis. In addition: most people have some sense that food is central to Jewish life and Jewish tradition. But they’re far less aware that food choices – especially in relation to industrial meat, industrial dairy, and food waste – are one of the top two anthropogenic drivers […]

Continue Reading