Jewish Eco Seminars works to educate and empower faith leaders and communities about Creation Care and environmental sustainability based on teachings from the Hebrew Bible.
And God placed man in the Garden of Eden to serve it and protect it —Genesis 2:15
Jewish Eco Seminars (JES) seeks to empower people of faith to care for Creation, and has identified a strategic partnership that benefits key communities. Israeli Orthodox rabbis have a unique commitment to living in the land of Israel in an environmentally sustainable way.
They share their love for the land of Israel with American evangelical Christians. JES will work to connect Israeli rabbis with American evangelical congregations in order to open up discussions of Creation Care in the U.S. In a highly polarized political climate, this project will work to amplify voices that care for creation and build power across communities outside of the political sphere.
Engage evangelical Christians on Creation Care through an in-person speaking visit by an Israeli Orthodox rabbi. Building on the natural intersection between the Orthodox and Evangelical communities’ love for Israel, these partnerships will amplify the power and reach of the Creation Care message. These conversations will inspire evangelical Christians to work on Creation Care in their own U.S.-based communities.
JES has created a speaker’s bureau of Israeli Orthodox rabbis, all native English speakers, and moving storytellers. The bureau offers evangelical communities across the U.S. direct access to in-person discussions, presentations, and educational events with a hand-picked selection of rabbis. These rabbis will inspire congregations with their experience of caring for creation in the Land of Israel and demonstrate how the ancient wisdom of our shared faith traditions and texts can lead to practical action to meet the challenges of complex ecological issues in our time.
These relationships will strengthen both the security of the Jewish people in the land of Israel from drought, air pollution, and water scarcity, and our shared ability to protect God’s earth. The Creation Care Speaker’s Bureau is being undertaken in collaboration with the Evangelical Environmental Network. To book a speaker, please contact us.
Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart. – Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
Please note: all of the rabbis below have received Orthodox rabbinical ordination, and live in Israel.
Rabbi Dave Mason
Bio: Born in Connecticut in 1974, Dave is a Social Entrepreneur, Rabbi, Author, and Business Strategist. He writes a series of Biblical fiction called The Age of Prophecy. Book 1, The Lamp of Darkness, came out in 2014, and he is currently working on the second book. The series places the reader in the context of the Biblical narrative, to show how the Biblical story is relevant to all of our lives, and how we can use it to make more conscientious decisions. Dave now lives with his family in the eclectic Nachlaot neighborhood of Jerusalem. There he spends half of each day exploring the ancient wisdom in the Jewish tradition and writing his books, and the other half devoted to family and his business ventures. His wife, Chana Mason, is also able to teach in relation to Judaism and Creation Care.
Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger
Location: Allon Shvut
Bio: Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger is an Orthodox rabbi and a passionate Zionist settler. Originally from New York, Rabbi Schlesinger immigrated to Israel on his own at the age of 20 and has lived in Alon Shvut, Gush Etzion, for over 30 years. He has studied at the Har Etzion College of Jewish Studies and in the M.A. program of the Dept. of Jewish Philosophy at the Hebrew University. He served as a fellow in the Judaic Fellows Program of Boca Raton, Florida and led the Community Kollel in Dallas, Texas before founding the Jewish Studies Initiative of North Texas. Rabbi Schlesinger is a global leader in dialogues between faiths and between Jews and Palestinians. He is one of the founders of Roots/Judur/Shorashim, the Palestinian-Israeli Grassroots Initiative for Understanding, Non-violence, and Transformation.
Rabbi Schlesinger serves as the Executive Director and Community Rabbinic Scholar for the Jewish Studies Initiative of North Texas and as coordinator for Faiths in Conversation. In these two capacities he teaches adult education classes on Judaism and spearheads interfaith projects throughout the greater Dallas area. He is also a member of the Rabbinical Council of America and the International Rabbinic Fellowship, as well as Beit Hillel, an Israeli rabbinical association. He is a Rabbis Without Borders Fellow, and was honored in 2013 and again in 2014 as the Memnosyne Institute Interfaith Scholar. He blogs at MyJewishLearning.org and his website is ravhanan.org.
Rabbi Fivel Yedidya Glasser
Bio: Rabbi Glasser directs Nesiya, an outdoor experiential Israel program for young adults. He has taught about Judaism and nature for many years for teens, college students and young adults. Colgate University, where he worked as campus rabbi and lecturer in the Department of Philosophy and Religion. Rabbi Glasser holds a BA from Dartmouth College and Masters of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School, and received rabbinic ordination from Rabbi Shlomo Riskin. He is also a licensed tour-guide in Israel. Rabbi Glasser lives in Efrat with his wife Dorit and their four children.
Rabbi Glasser has been living in Israel since 2001 and is deeply committed to the Land as the ancestral Homeland of the Jewish People. Being a part of the modern miracle of the return to Israel is one of the most exciting and enthralling event in modern history. He welcomes the opportunity to share this love of Land in general, and the particular theological significance of caring for this land with our dear friends in the US. Sharing a love of God and of Israel is powerful way of working together to build a brighter tomorrow for our children, our communities and the entire world. Rabbi Glasser enjoys teaching about Jewish Spirituality and the connection with the natural world. He is also a teacher of the History of Israel.
Rabbi Yonatan Neril
Bio: Rabbi Neril founded and directs Jewish Eco Seminars. He has spoken internationally on Judaism and ecology. He completed a B.A. and M.A. at Stanford University with a focus on global environmental issues. He conducted research in India on renewable energy and in Mexico on genetically modified corn. Since 2003 he has lived in Israel, where he received rabbinic ordination.
For six years he consulted with the Orthodox Jewish environmental organization, Canfei Nesharim, as well as Jewcology, during which time he co-edited and was the lead contributor to two Jewish environmental publications, including the ebook Uplifting People and Planet: 18 Essential Jewish Teachings on the Environment. He has led dozens of Jewish Eco Seminars programs in Israel and North America, in forests, synagogues, and urban ecology sites. He is a husband and father of three.
Rabbi Aharon Ariel Lavi
Location: Shuva (near Gaza)
Bio: Rabbi Lavi is a serial social and environmental entrepreneur and a professional community organizer. Rabbi Lavi is co-founder of the Eco-Hassidic community, Garin Shuva, on the Gaza border, the Nettiot Intentional Communities Network, and MAKOM: the national umbrella organization of intentional communities in Israel. Lavi holds a B.A. in Economics and Geography, an M.A. in History, Philosophy and Sociology of Science, and currently writing his PhD in the field of Public Policy.
He is a fellow in several research institutions in Israel and published a book on Judaism and Economics and numerous articles. He lives with his wife, Liat, and their four children.
Rabbi Yedidya Sinclair
Bio: Rabbi Yedidya Sinclair has served as Jewish Chaplain and campus rabbi at Cambridge University, where he taught Jewish Philosophy in the Divinity School. He is a former economic adviser to the British government, and has a particular interest in Jewish approaches to economics and environment.
Rabbi Sinclair is Senior Rabbinical Scholar for Hazon. He has been a consultant to the United Nations on religious approaches to the environment. Rabbi Sinclair holds a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Oxford University and a Masters in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. He is the author of “Let’s Schmooze: Jewish Words Today” (Continuum, 2007).
Rabbi Sinclair also writes a weekly column in the UK Jewish Chronicle and works for a solar energy company.
Rabbi Shaul Judelman
Bio: Rabbi Judelman completed rabbinic ordination in the Bat Ayin Yeshiva in 2006. He has worked in a variety of formal and informal Jewish learning initiatives and think tanks and currently runs JiVE! Jerusalem Volunteers for the Environment.
Living in Israel is an expression of gratitude for the blessing of what it means for the Jewish people to come home, and a fulfillment of Jewish responsibility as a people to build a society that will manifest our divine aspirations and hopes for this creation in the messy and critical realm of nation-building.
Rabbi Judelman is interested in the relationship between the Jewish people and the other peoples of the world, as part of the new chapter in history that along with it’s fears and tension, holds the keys to a brighter future, please G-d. He is a husband and father of three.
Sample Videos of Speakers