“As my forebears planted for me, so do I plant for my children.”
– Babylonian Talmud, Ta‘anit 23a
JTree USA now has a bnei mitzvah resource page for kids, parents, and educators! Learn how to create a Mitzvah project by planting trees!
Make JTree your Mitzvah Project
Jewish Tradition and Trees
Why Trees are So Important
A Time to Plant — עֵת לָטַעַת
Trees sustain life. They absorb carbon dioxide and give out oxygen. Scientists believe that planting trees is an essential part of the effort to limit climate change.
JTree is a call and an invitation to every Jewish community to play its part in planting.
We can do so through our donations, including the gift of trees for special occasions, such as a birth, bar/bat mitzvah, or a wedding anniversary. Gift a tree in honor of or in memory of someone dear. Or, you might want to compensate for unavoidable travel and carbon emissions from our homes, cars and workplaces. Whatever the reason, do it now!plant trees
But… the right trees must be planted in the right balance in the right locations and with the correct ongoing care. Sustainable reforesting and rewilding must be done with the support and for the benefit of local communities. We are partnering with the National Forest Foundation to carry out our tree planting because they have a proven track record of doing just that.
Together the Jewish community can make a difference. We can help heal the earth.
Be an Organizational Partner
Consider promoting JTree within your community; look for opportunities to raise awareness about climate change and the value of tree planting as a way to recapture carbon from the atmosphere.
Thank you to the following organizations which have already joined the effort:
Abundance Farm (MA)
Ahavath Achim Synagogue
Am Yisrael Congregation (IL)
Ansche Chesed Synagogue (NYC)
Austin Jews for Justice
Beit Ahavah – the Reform Synagogue of Greater Northampton (MA)
Beit Rabban Day School (NYC)
Beth Ami – Colorado Congregation for Humanistic Judaism
Beth El Temple (Harrisburg, PA)
Beth Israel Congregation
Central Synagogue (NYC)
Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL)
Congregation B’nai Israel’s Tikkun Olam Committee
Congregation Kol Emeth (CA)
Congregation Shir Hadash (CA)
Dayenu: A Jewish Call to Climate Action
Germantown Jewish Centre
Jewish Climate Action Network-Massachussets (JCAN-MA)
Jewish Climate Action Network-New York (JCAN-NY)
Jewish Theological Seminary
Kehillath Shalom Synagogue (NY)
Living Tree Alliance
Ma’yan Tikvah – A Wellspring of Hope
Ramah in the Rockies (CO)
SAJ – Judaism that Stands for All (NYC)
Sinai Temple (Springfield, MA)
Sisters in Spirit
Solomon Schechter – Newton, MA
The Rabbinical Assembly
The Pearlstone Center
Temple B’nai Abraham (Beverly, MA)
Temple Beth Zion (TBZ Brookline)
Temple Sinai of Massapequa (NY)
The Shul of New York
Town & Village Synagogue
Western Massachusetts Dayenu Circle
Zion. An Eretz Israeli Community
To create a donation page just for your community, go to the main JTree donation page and click JOIN TEAM. You’ll be prompted to log in or create an account. Once you’ve set up a page, you’ll be able to direct donors to your synagogue, organization, or community’s page and track donations there, all of which are part of the larger JTree effort.
JTree had a moving session at the Big Bold Jewish Climate Fest of 2021. JTree founder Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg and community organizer Natalie Portman-Marsh spoke. Rabbi Wittenberg offered deep textual roots for our protection of trees and forests, while Natalie gave us amazing tips about how to create and support wonderful programs in your local communities. This is worth a watch! Check it out on YouTube.
To learn more about our JTree partner in the UK, click here.
Click here to read an excerpt from an article by Jonathan Wittenberg, published in The London Times
Download our promotional flyer.
It is set up with two flyers on the page that can be trimmed to save paper.
A call to Jewish climate action by Rabbi Art Green
Ḥoni the circle-maker once saw a man planting a carob tree. “How long will it take” he asked, “until that tree bears fruit?” “Seventy years,” the planter replied. “And are you sure you will live another seventy years?” asked Ḥoni. “As my forefathers planted for me,” he replied, “so do I plant for my children.” (Talmud Ta‘anit 23a)
This famous tale plants a shudder in the heart of the contemporary reader. What will be happening on this planet seventy years from now? What sort of world will our grandchildren be living in? Will there be trees? Will there be adequate fresh water? Breathable air? Will people be killing each other in terrible wars over scarce resources? And what can we do, looking toward the future, to improve the chances for future generations?
We Jews are planters of many such metaphoric “trees.” We teach Torah, which we call “the Tree of Life.” We pass on cultural traditions, ethical teachings, ways of living in gratitude for the many gifts we have received. In a heightened way, surely because of our past suffering and decimation in the Holocaust, we have a strong sense of the obligation to pass on the legacy we have received from the past. All these are meant to provide sustenance for future generations, “trees” whose fruit they will one day eat.
But today our earth is in need of real trees, not just spiritual or metaphoric ones. The rapid deforestation of our planet is a major contributor to the proliferation of greenhouse gasses and the decline of air quality around the globe. Soil resources as well are diminished, as rain forests and wetlands disappear, often due to human greed and indifference.
In response, it is time for us all to become planters of trees. JTree is a new international Jewish movement, led by rabbis and activists around the world, to encourage Jewish involvement, both communal and individual, in efforts at restoring and protecting forests, as well as new tree-planting, throughout the world.
We Jews have experience in planting trees. A century ago, the Zionist movement took on the task of re-foresting the Land of Israel, which had become barren. This effort mobilized adults and children across the Jewish world. But now we see that the planet itself is in need of such an effort.
JTree calls upon Jewish communities and their leaders to help take the lead in our campaign to plant trees and support forests, wherever they are needed. We can do so by contributing to the responsible environmental organizations listed above. JTree has partnered with the National Forest Foundation to plant trees.