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Topic: Spirituality

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Rejuvenating Ourselves and Our Planet

Jewcology is a diverse platform for Jewish environmental activists to learn from each other in order to educate Jewish communities about our responsibility to protect the environment. Hazon is excited to share these resources with you! We promote the interrelatedness of shabbat as a time to reflect on environmental and sustainable ideas through many of our programs and resources. Our Food Guide has kosher sustainable meat options, Greening Your Shabbat Table, Sustainable Kiddush, and all of our Food Programs help you to draw connections between Jewish tradition and contemporary food issues. By Rabbi Yonatan Neril In modern society, we are running, speaking, and thinking at an exceptional rate, and oftentimes we continue all week long without slowing down.  Constantly doing, always mobile accessible, habitually multi-tasking. If being too busy is a malady of modern man, slowing down on Shabbat may be a key remedy. The Torah teaches, “These are the things that the Divine commanded to make. Six days work may be done, but on the seventh day you shall have sanctity, a day of complete rest to G-d…”  Achieving sanctity and complete rest is the stated goal of Shabbat. Yet how can this happen? (more…)

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Sustainability in the Land of Israel

Jewcology is a diverse platform for Jewish environmental activists to learn from each other in order to educate Jewish communities about our responsibility to protect the environment. Hazon is excited to share these resources with you! We work to create a healthier and more sustainable Israel through our Israel Ride, our Sustainable Food Tour, and Siach (conversation). Learn more about sustainability in the land of Israel using this resource from Jewcology: By Rabbi Yonatan Neril Abraham and Sarah came to Israel over 3700 years ago.  Since then, significant populations of Jews have spent over 1600 years living in the Land of Israel.  For much of this time, Jews have been involved in growing crops, tending fruit trees, and shepherding animals, activities critical to providing food to sustain those living in Israel. Yet they also presented challenges to environmental sustainability in the Land. How did Jews manage to live in the Land for so long? While the Torah teaches that Divine Providence (in response to the people following the commandments) played the fundamental role, the Oral Tradition as redacted in the Mishna also provides insights. (more…)

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B’naiture – Wilderness Torah’s B’nai Mitzvah Mentorship Program – Starts Fall, 2011

Make your child’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah the adventure of a lifetime with Wilderness Torah’s B’nai Mitzvah Nature Mentorship! B’naiture takes your child on a journey through nature to experience the transition from childhood into adolescence. Through immersion camping trips and bi-monthly gatherings, B’naiture weaves nature skills, personal challenge, and non-parental mentorship together with Jewish teachings and story to craft an empowering coming-of-age process. Separate male and female cohorts honor the unique journeys they take at this time. A parallel parent group explores how to best support your children at this critical time. B’naiture supplements traditional B’nai Mitzvah education or serves the independent family journey. Learn More about Wilderness Torah’s B’naiture. Join Wilderness Torah for an introductory evening to learn about B’Naiture Meet The Mentors Wednesday July, 20th, 7pm Jewish Community Center of the East Bay

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Finding a Spiritual Home

By Rabbi Ezra Weinberg, New York Ride Co-Chair To all you seekers of spiritual community out there, I have one piece of advice. Do not limit your search to only traditional religious institutions. Do support your local synagogue, but also be aware that spiritual community comes in many forms. The Hazon community has become one of my spiritual homes. For me, the term “spirituality” refers to when the different pieces of one’s life start to tell a coherent story that inspires action. The backbone of spiritual experience occurs when seemingly disconnected parts of my life begin to feel interconnected—what I like to call the “connecting of the dots;” when coincidence becomes impossible to ignore. This is only one limited explanation for a widely used elusive concept, but this “connecting of the dots” experience happens to define my relationship with the Hazon community, including how I first got involved. (more…)

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From Waste to Wonder: Steps to a Spiritual Ecology of Living

By Natan Margalit, Published in Tikkun July/Aug 2004 There are no words which, in themselves, are useless. There are no actions which, in themselves, are useless. But one can make useless both actions and words by saying or doing them uselessly. -Rabbi Pinchas of Koretz The Waste Culture Not long ago, as I was composting the rinds and peels collecting in my kitchen, my mind wandered to the words of a mystic rabbi who claimed that whenever any event happened in the world, it surely has a reason for existing—that it is up to us to find the spark of holiness even in our greatest mistakes. Those things that we’d like to hide from, tuck away, and forget, he said, must be held up to the light, because there is something in them, some energy which could hold the key to our happiness and fulfillment, that is calling to be redeemed. We live in a waste culture. Gangsters “waste” their rivals; partiers who drink too much alcohol get “wasted.” A recent book by Kevin Bales identifies the shocking reality of the contemporary slave trade as the story of “disposable people.” Another book, Wasted Lives, by sociologist Zygmunt Bauman (reviewed in […]

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Cosmic Consciousness, Man, and the Worm: Ecology and Spirituality in Jewish Tradition

By: Rabbi David Sears Ecology is a highly practical branch of science. Nothing could be more “down to earth” than preservation of the planet. Yet there is a facet of ecological awareness that is often overlooked. This is its spiritual dimension. When we act as self-absorbed individuals, with little regard for anyone or anything that exists outside ourselves, we immediately fall into moral and spiritual error. As the Yiddish saying goes, “A blind horse heads straight for the pit!” Thus, countless laws in the Torah adjure us to open our eyes, and act responsibly and compassionately toward the world around us. Among other ecological mandates, it promulgates the laws of bal tashchis (neither to destroy wantonly, nor waste resources unnecessarily); the prohibitions of cutting down fruit trees, or trees surrounding an enemy city in wartime; the laws of covering excrement, and removing debris from public places, etc. In doing so, the Torah indicates that although we may feel at odds with nature, having to struggle to survive, in truth the world comprises a potentially harmonious whole in which each element is precious. Rav Avraham Yitzhak Kook (1865-1935), Chief Ashkenazic Rabbi of pre-state Israel and a leading 20th century thinker, expresses […]

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