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Jewish Ecological Infographics

Jewish Eco Seminars (JES) undertakes this Jewish Environmental Education Project to develop infographics on each of the eighteen topics, print the materials as books, and provide professional development seminars for Jewish educators on Judaism and ecology. These efforts will be based on the book Uplifting People and Planet: 18 Essential Jewish Teachings on the Environment, likely the most comprehensive study in English on Jewish teachings and environmental sustainability. It builds on the work of Jewcology and Canfei Nesharim in producing robust Jewish environmental educational materials on eighteen topics, To view the Jewish trees infographic click here.

About the Book

Uplifting People and Planet: 18 Essential Jewish Teachings on the Environment is an excellent resource for anyone interested in learning more about the Biblical source of our imperative to preserve the earth. This work reveals deep-rooted Jewish perspectives on environmental sustainability. It draws on the 3,000 year old Jewish tradition to provide easy access to ancient texts on environmental issues. It also offers applies these texts and rabbinic commentaries to a range of contemporary ecological challenges, from climate change to biodiversity loss to air pollution. From food, energy and waste to consumerism, the Sabbath and prayer, Uplifting People and Planet explores eighteen topics on Judaism and ecology. All materials were comprehensively studied and reviewed by scientists and rabbis.

 

The book was developed by Canfei Nesharim in partnership with Jewcology.com and released as a “Year of Jewish Learning on the Environment.” Each of the eighteen topics includes a short article (800 words) with a brief overview of the topic for blogs and articles; a long article (2000-2500 words) for in-depth study of the topic; a study guide with Hebrew/English sources and discussion questions for group learning, a podcast with a teaching on this topic; and a short video for sharing. This book, edited by Rabbi Yonatan Neril and Evonne Marzouk, has been published online as an ebook available on Amazon with the title Uplifting People and Planet: 18 Essential Jewish Teachings on the Environment. It is also available as individual articles available on several websites, including www.jewcology.com, www.canfeinesharim.org, and www.jewishecoseminars.com The director of Jewish Eco Seminars, Rabbi Yonatan Neril, worked with Canfei Nesharim on a consulting basis in developing the materials on all eighteen topics.

 

 Stage One: Development of Infographics for the Eighteen Teachings

The infographics will enrich the content of each subject, with the aim of understanding visually the general Jewish-ecological concept that the article communicates. JES staff will analyze each teaching in order to extract the general concepts through a process of sketching. This will provide an overview of the topic, identify the primary and secondary points, and facilitate displaying it graphically. Once the infographics have been developed, we will integrate them with the articles in order to publish a book, which can be used in two versions, high resolution (printed and digital) and as educational material to be printed inexpensively. The book will be available in two languages, English and Spanish.

Stage Two: Distribution of the Book, and Jewish Eco Israel Trips

Actions during this stage include:

  • Submit book proposals to publishers, including Beacon Press, Urim Publications, and others
  • Print 200 copies to distribute in executive departments of community centers, educational institutions and research centers in Israel, the United States and Mexico
  • Distribute the infographics via social media.

Additionally, a marketing plan will be developed to offer trips organized by JES to Israel. Our travel programs aim to explore the ecology of Israel, addressing environmental conservation programs in different regions from the Golan Heights to the desert of Arava, know the current progress in clean technologies, and create a current and comprehensive experience the land of Israel.

Third stage: Professional Development Seminars for Jewish Educators and Clergy

For Jewish education can generate a real impact on students, this should be relevant to the lives of educators. With increasing environmental concern within Jewish communities around the world, our project represents a promising new channel to achieve current preparation of people to promote and convey the teachings of Judaism and ecology. We aim to:

  • Implement two annual professional development workshops for Jewish educators, rabbis, directors of education.
  • Offer new educational materials and practical tools to integrate the teachings.
  • Provide access to curriculum modules, plus a resource manual for teachers with lesson plans, articles, experimental activities, sources and reference materials on a wide range of Jewish teachings on the environment.
  • Provide support to educators interested after the seminar, with updated equipment, personal consultations and group conference calls.
  • Evaluate each seminar using existing evaluation materials
  • Advertising, marketing, and coordination of seminars, will be held in institutions in collaboration with the staff of JES.

     

    Short Description of the Eighteen Teachings on Jewish Ecology

     

    Theme

    Description

    1.

    Genesis and Human Stewardship of the Earth

    God commanded humanity to find a balance between serving, guarding and subduing nature; as part of an ethically responsible life.  

    2.

    Noah and the Flood:

    Lessons for Our Times

    The ancient story of Noah and the flood relates to many ecological issues facing the modern world. For example, the preservation of our environment depends on individuals taking accountability for their deeds.

    3.

    The Jewish Value of Appreciating Water

    In the 21st century the seemingly increased accessibility of water makes it easy to forget Who provides it. Jewish sources emphasize the need to appreciate water and use it wisely.

    4.

    A Jewish Approach to Sustainable Resource Use

    Reuse before you recycle. Our forefathers have been reusing objects and elevating the physical for thousands of years, a path we must try to follow in today’s disposable society.

    5

    Toward a Wiser Use of Energy

    Jewish sages called for a path of prudent energy consumption, which can teach us to reduce our excessive fuel use.

    6

    Grapes, Goats, and Open Spaces: Sustainability in Settling the Land of Israel

    Rabbinic teachings on Yishuv Eretz Yisrael (settling the land of Israel) highlight the common Jewish duty to live sustainably. Our Sages made short-term sacrifices in order to preserve their resources, actions we should emulate to help us find ways for today’s reality on the Land.

    7

    Bal Tashchit

    The commandment not to waste (Bal Tashchit) applies to dress, energy, water, money, and every usable resource. One modern-day example- the throwing out of edible food – contains great relevance to our everyday lives.  

    8

     Compassion for

    all Creatures

    Judaism stresses the need to treat animals with compassion. Pointless pain is strictly prohibited and Jewish law instructs us to go out of our way to avoid an animal’s suffering.

    9

    Shabbat and

    Environmental Awareness

    On Shabbat, we stop and allow us to turn inward– to family, community, and God. Without the distractions of day to day life, Shabbat rejuvenates people and the environment. 

    10

    Spiritual Roots of the Environmental Crisis

    Our environmental crisis stems from a spiritual root. We can address the problem with the Jewish values of taking responsibility, being satisfied, focusing on the present and being conscious of the future. 

    11

    Trees, Torah, and Caring

    for the Earth

    Jewish tradition teaches on the importance of planting trees, protecting them, and using them responsibly.

    12

    Preventing Damage and Pollution

    Jewish teachings instruct us to actively prevent harm towards people, animals and our ecosystems.  The Talmud in particular contains many laws on preventing damage to one’s neighbor.

    13

    Consumerism, Do Not Covet, and Korach

    The challenge that wealth-driven over-consumption poses is of both a spiritual and physical nature. The spiritual challenge is to overcome wealth’s pull towards self-gratification and a sense of entitlement, or be overcome by it. The physical challenge manifests in environmental problems like species loss and pollution.

    14

    Jewish Food Ethics

    The Jewish tradition’s description of the food production of the Tribes of Israel reveals the importance of both knowing and improving the increasingly complex journey of our own food.  Jewish tradition has much to offer on where our food comes from and what it means to eat.

    15

    Exploring Nature through Traditional Jewish Prayers

    What can we learn about nature and our relationship to it from its use in traditional Jewish prayers? Nature themes are repeated often in our traditional prayers, which communicate a message of nature’s grandeur as created by God.

    16

    Human Health

    The Jewish tradition places a strong value on being healthy. The Torah states, “Guard yourself and guard your soul very much” and “You shall guard yourselves very well.” The Sages explain that these verses refer to the mitzvah of protecting one’s physical health.

    17

    Preserving Species and Maintaining Biodiversity

    The Torah greatly values the lives of all of God’s creatures. From commandments such as “Shiluach Haken” and “Kilayim” we learn the importance of species preservation and limitations on human exploitation of the world’s ecosystems. 

    18

    The Mitzvah of Shemitah

    During the Shemitah year we let the land rest and allow ourselves to reevaluate our relationship with God and His precious gift of creation. The principles of Shemita contrast with current rainforest deforestation in order to satisfy demand for beef, wood, and soybeans.