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North American Speaking Tours

Jewish Eco Seminars’ director engages in a speaking tour in North America about once a year. If you are interested in booking Rabbi Yonatan Neril for a talk or program please contact the Jewish Speakers Bureau, of which Rabbi Neril is a member, to make engagements.  The following speaking tours have taken place over the past years:

2017 Speaking Tour

2016 Speaking Tour

2015 Speaking Tour

2014 Speaking Tour

2013 Speaking Tour

2012 Speaking Tour

2010 Speaking Tour

2008 Speaking Tour

Topics


1) GENESIS AND HUMAN STEWARDSHIP OF THE EARTH
In Genesis, G0d speaks of humans ruling over other living beings. G-d blesses Adam and Eve, saying “Be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion” over the fish, birds, and animals. How do we understand the message of the Torah? Jewish tradition teaches us that we only merit the opportunity to rule the earth if we behave righteously and act as stewards of creation.
 
2) ISRAEL, ECOLOGY, AND INTERRELIGIOUS COOPERATION
In Israel, Jews, Christians, and Muslims live on the same land, and take in the same air and water. Environmental challenges transcend borders and religions and therefore exist as an arena of joint, urgent concern among diverse groups of people. Rabbi Neril will share a unique perspective on interfaith work on sustainability in Israel and internationally, through the prism of Jewish teachings.
 
3) CLIMATE CHANGE AND A JEWISH RESPONSE
How can Jews respond appropriately to the challenge posed by climate change? What are the spiritual roots of the climate crisis, and how can we address them in our own lives and communities? This program will explore Jewish teachings that relate to the ecological crisis in general and climate change in particular. It will both face the challenge and offer people hope, with practical suggestions.
 
4) WHY IS COLLABORATION WITH CHRISTIANS, MUSLIMS, BUDDHISTS, AND HINDUS KEY TO A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE?
The balance of the world has been ruptured, and we owe it to God, to each other, and to all species to fix it. To do that, Jews need to take a leadership role in interfaith cooperation on environmental sustainability. Only by uniting around this common challenge will humanity be able to transition quickly to sustainable societies. To do so requires collaboration on an unprecedented scale.
 
5) HOW NUMEROUS ARE YOUR CREATIONS, GOD’– A JEWISH APPROACH TO BIODIVERSITY AND ANIMAL WELFARE
There are likely ten million species on earth, yet humanity is causing their extinction at a rapid rate. How can we protect God’s creation- both species in the wild, as well as the hundreds of billions of factory farmed animals and sea life? We will explore Jewish teachings that relate to the Creator’s desire for a biodiverse planet, and explore Jewish law in regards to preventing cruelty to animals.

2017 Speaking Tour


Rabbi Neril spoke in March 2017 at the Shachar Minyan in Riverdale, New York on the topic of Trees, the Sanctuary, and Holy Resource Use.

In Jerusalem, he spoke at Congregation Veani Tefila. 

2016 Speaking Tour


Rabbi Neril spoke in the New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area in December 2016. 

On Shabbat of December 10th, he spoke at Congregration Bnai Jeshurun and Ramat Orah Synagogue, both in Manhattan. 

On Friday, December 16th 2016 at Congregation Shir Hadash in Los Gatos, California on “Environmental Sustainability in Israel.” 

He spoke on Saturday, December 17th on “Israel’s Environmental Challenges and the Relevance of Jewish Teachings” at Congregation Beth David in Saratoga. 

On Sunday, December 18th he spoke at Congregation Beth Sholom in San Francisco on “Israel, Ecology, and Jewish Values.”

In Jerusalem, he spoke at Congregation Shir Hadash in Katamon, and at Kol Rina in Nachlaot.

2015 Speaking Tour


Rabbi Neril spoke in Los Angeles in October 2015. He spoke on Friday night, October 23rd at the Leo Baeck Temple, and on Shabbat morning, October 24th at Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills.

In Jerusalem, he spoke at the Yemin Moshe Synagogue and at Congregation Kol Haneshama.

2014 Speaking Tour

In September 2014, Rabbi Yonatan Neril engaged in a speaking tour in North America on faith and ecology.

While there was some variation in the topics of the speaking engagements, the general theme of the talks and classes was:

The People’s Climate March– Bringing Jewish Teachings to Bear on Our Greatest Challenges

Description: Hurricanes are intensifying, seas are rising, and extreme weather events are becoming more common. How can we access age-old Jewish teachings to enable the next generation to inherit a livable planet?

Speaking tour schedule:

  • Sunday, Sept. 7th from 7:30-8:30 pm at Congregation Beth Israel in Berkeley, CA
  • Tuesday, Sept. 9th from 3-4 pm at the Reutlinger Center for Jewish Living in Danville, CA
  • Wedsneday, Sept. 10th, 9:30-10:30 pm at Ohr Hada’at Congregation, Mexico City
  • Thursday, Sept. 11th, 4-5 pm, at Beit Shalom Congregation, Mexico City
  • Friday, Sept. 12th, 7-7:30 pm at Ramat Shalom Congregation, Mexico City
  • Saturday, Sept. 13th, 12-12:30 pm, at Ohr Hada’at Congregation, Mexico City
  • Wednesday, Sept. 17th, 7-8:30 pm, at Smith College, Northhampton, MA, as part of interfaith panel
  • Thursday, Sept. 18th, 11 am-12, at Five College Consortium, Northhampton, MA
  • Thursday, Sept. 18th, 6-7:30 pm, at the Jewish Theological Seminary, Manhattan, NY
  • Friday, Sept. 19th, 1-2 pm, at Columbia University, Manhattan, NY, as part of interfaith panel
  • Friday, Sept. 19th, 8:30 pm, at Temple Sholom of West Essex, Cedar Grove, NJ
  • Saturday, Sept. 20th, 9 pm, at Congregation Shomrei Emunah, Montclair, NJ

Rabbi Neril was from Sept. 7-9 in the San Francisco Bay Area; from Sept. 10-14 in Mexico City; from Sept. 15-16 in northern NJ; from Sept. 17-18 in Western Massachusetts; from Sept. 19-22 in NYC and northern NJ.

He was also prepared to discuss his experience in promoting interfaith cooperation on environmental sustainability, and explore why this is crucial for us and our children to inherit a liveable planet. If you are interested in him speaking at your institution (house of worship, school, other), please contact us.

2013 Speaking Tour

August 2013: Rabbi Neril spoke on four occassions in Montreal at The Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue as a scholar-in-residence.

2012 Speaking Tour

Rabbi Neril conducted a speaking tour on faith and the environment in December 2012 in the United States and England. Between Nov. 29th and December 28th, 2012, he spoke at various institutions in New Jersey, New York City, Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, and England. For information about the speaking tour, see below. For longer descriptions and directions, click on the links.

Shabbat speaker at Temple Sholom, Cedar Grove, New Jersey, Friday November 30th at 8 pm: Hurricane Sandy and Hope for the Future: A Jewish Perspective. More information is available here.

Scholar-in-residence at Temple Ner Tamid, Bloomfield, New Jersey. More information is available here. R’ Neril presented three sessions: 1) Friday, December 7th at 7 pm: Jewish Teachings on Environmental Sustainability in Light of Hurricane Sandy 2) Saturday morning, December 8th. before Shabbat services (from 9-9:45 am): How Can the Light of Chanuka Inspire Us Toward Ecological Sustainability? 3) Saturday morning after Shabbat services at 12:30 pm: Israel’s Innovation in Water and Energy Use and its Basis in Jewish Teachings.

Guest Speaker at Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum at Claremont McKenna College, California, Monday December 10th, 11:30 am to 1 pm, ” Environmental Sustainability and Interfaith Eco Cooperation in the Holy Land. For more information, click here.

Panel Speaker at The Commonwealth Club of California, Wednesday, December 12th at 12 pm in San Francisco, as part of an interfaith panel on “Congregation Power” together with Rev. Sally Bingham, founder and director of Interfaith Power and Light. For more information, click here.

Guest Speaker at The Reutlinger Community for Jewish Living, Danville, California, December 18th at 3 pm and December 22nd at 12 pm: Hurricane Sandy and Hope for the Future: A Jewish Persepctive.

Invited Presenter at Limmud Conference, Warwick University, England, Monday December 24 to Thursday, December 27th. More information is available here.

R’ Neril taught four sessions, on the following four topics:

1. A Jewish Approach to Sustainable Resource Use. Explore the contrasting worldviews of Jacob and Pharaoh on reuse of small vessels and how they relate to the future of human civilization on planet earth. This session will also examine the ways in which our ancestors have been reusing objects and elevating the physical for thousands of years, an important lesson to address today’s sustainability challenges.

2. How can the Light of Chanuka Inspire Us as Stewards of the Planet? Chanuka contains profound ecological teachings , which we will bring to light in order to bring them into our lives. We will explore the path of wise energy consumption advocated by Jewish sages over the millennia, and relate these teachings to practical ways we can use energy in more environmentally sustainable way.

3. Eco-Revelation for the Post-Industrial Jew: The Torah was given to people who would become subsistence farmers and who knew the difference between sheaves of barley and wheat. Most of us live urban technological lives and can distinguish between Jpeds and MP3s but likely do not farm or shepherd. What does this shift mean for ourselves and our planet, and what can we do about it?

4. How Interfaith Eco Cooperation Can Help Save the Earth: The presenter founded and directs The Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development, which accesses the collective wisdom of the world’s religions to promote co-existence, peace, and sustainability through education and action. He will discuss his experience in promoting interfaith cooperation on environmental sustainability, and explore why this is crucial for us and our children to inherit a liveable planet.

2010 Speaking Tour

Rabbi Yonatan Neril traveled to the United States for a Jewish environmental teaching trip in the San Francisco Bay Area, New York City, and New Jersey from September 28, 2010 through October 23, 2010. The teachings reached almost 500 Jews and included talks or classes on ‘What the Jewish Tradition Can Teach About the BP Oil Spill’, ‘Genesis and the Future of the Planet’, ‘The Rainbow and an Ecological Ethic’, and ‘Noah’s Environmental Legacy.’ The speaking tour was dedicated to the memory of Sue Steinman–Sarah Rivka bat Rachel Leah. It was also co-sponsored by Canfei Nesharim, including being a scholar-in-residence at Congregation Beth Israel for Parshat Noach.

To inquire about arranging a speaking or teaching engagement for your institution, call 973-433-3322 or email rabbi@jewishecoseminars.com.

The teaching trip reached the following institutions:

The Hebrew Institute of Riverdale (HIR) in the Bronx, NY; Temple Sholom of West Essex in Cedar Grove, NJ; Temple Emanu-El in Edison, NJ; Congregation Beth Jacob in Oakland, CA; Temple Emanuel’s Downtown Tauber Lecture Series in San Francisco, CA; Congregation Beth Israel in Berkeley, CA; Congregation Emek Beracha in Palo Alto, CA; Hillel at Stanford’s Taube Center for Jewish Life in Stanford, CA; Beit Midrash Ohr Chaim in Berkeley, CA; and The Reutlinger Center in Danville, CA.

2008 Speaking Tour

‘Rabbi Yonatan Neril taught on Judaism and ecology at the following congregations, which reached about 500 Jews: Congregation AABJD in West Orange, NJ; Temple Sholom of West Essex in Cedar Grove, NJ; Temple Isaiah in Lafayette, CA; Congregation Beth Jacob in Oakland, CA; and Chabad of Contra Costa in Walnut Creek, CA.

Interested in booking Rabbi Yonatan Neril for a talk or program? Please contact the Jewish Speakers Bureau, of which Rabbi Neril is a member, since they arrange all speaking engagements for him.