The Jewish festival of Tu B’Shvat, also known as the New Year for Trees, celebrates the ReBirthDay of earthly trees and of the sacred and supernal Tree of Life. The celebration begins on January 30th and ends January 31st. It is celebrated with a Seder in which the menu is the fruits and nuts that are given by the trees. As a special aspect of their climate-crisis work, The Shalom Center is inviting people to create a special Trees of Life Fund for reforestation in the US. You can contribute by clicking here. To read more about Tu B’Shvat click here.
10 Jewish Teachings on the Environment is a downloadable resource from GreenFaith. It includes ten of the most important teachings on the environment from a Jewish perspective. To read or download the guide, click here.
Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued a statement of disappointment in President Trump’s decision to exit the Paris Climate Agreement. “The Reform Movement condemns, with the utmost gravity and disappointment, the President’s decision to exit the historic Paris Climate Agreement… Joining with people of faith worldwide, including Pope Francis, the Reform Movement has strongly supported efforts to address the causes and impact of our changing climate.” To read the entire statement, click here.
Nigel Savage, originally from Manchester, England, founded Hazon in 2000, with a Cross-USA Jewish Environmental Bike Ride. Since then, Hazon has grown the range and impact of its work in each successive year; today it has more than 60 staff, based in New York City, at Hazon’s Isabella Freedman campus, and in other locations across the country. Hazon plays a unique role in renewing American Jewish life and creating a healthier and more sustainable world for all.
Hazon is one of a tiny handful of groups to have been in the Slingshot 50 every year since inception, and in 2008, Hazon was recognized by the Sierra Club as one of 50 leading faith-based environmental organizations.
Nigel has spoken, taught, or written for a wide and significant range of audiences. (A selection of his essays are at hazon.org/nigel). He has twice been named a member of the Forward 50, the annual list of the 50 most influential Jewish people in the United States, and is a recipient of the Bernard Reisman Award. He has given Commencement speeches at Wagner (NYU, in 2011) and at Hornstein (Brandeis, in 2014). In 2015 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Jewish Theological Seminary.
Before founding Hazon, Nigel was a professional fund manager in London, where he worked for NM Rothschild and was co-head of UK Equities at Govett. He has an MA in History from Georgetown, and has learned at Pardes, Yakar, and the Hebrew University. He was a founder of Limmud NY, and serves on the board of Romemu.
Nigel executive produced the British independent movies Solitaire For 2 and Stiff Upper Lips and had an acclaimed cameo appearance in the cult Anglo-Jewish comic movie, Leon The Pig Farmer. He is believed to be the first English Jew to have cycled across South Dakota on a recumbent bike.
The Alliance of Religions and Conservation works with twelve different faiths worldwide. They believe that religious organizations have an immense influence on social, educational, political, and cultural issues around the world. This influence makes these organizations one of the most powerful in social changes in society. Therefore, the Alliance of Religions and Conservation works with these twelve religious organizations to care for the environment and use their own unique relationships with the natural world to do so. To read more about this organization and their specific programs with the different religious organizations, click here.
Hazon, which means vision, is an organization that works to create a healthier and more sustainable Jewish community. They do so through three effective changes: transformative experiences, thought-leadership, and capacity building. They are all intensive multi-day retreats or workshops that encourage people to make a difference in the world, and in the process enable them to renew their Jewish journeys. To learn more about the Jewish Food Movement and Hazon, click here.
My Jewish Learning was launched in 2003 with the initiative to empower Jewish discovery for anyone interested in learning. Their website includes helpful guides on celebrating, eating, living, mourning, praying and studying. Their study section includes Science and Ecology, which includes articles written on Jewish Science, the ethical treatment of animals in Judaism, sustainable Jewish eating, nature and the environment, and more environment related posts. To learn more, click here.
The Earth Keeping Summit 2016 was held at the Ohio State University, School of Environment and Natural Resources. The summit went deeper than the importance of recycling, shutting off your lights and using less energy, and addressed questions of ecology, justice, and race. Dr. Melanie Harris was the keynote speaker of the event and also spoke on the importance of sharing stories. She is an Associate Professor of Religion at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, TX.
Dr. Harris spoke of the importance of diversity in ecology and how social justice relates to the environmental movement. She talked about how sharing our stories and experiences plays a part in taking care of the environment and having a connection to the environment and to each other. In this environmental movement we must listen. We must reflect on our experiences. We must take race, class and gender very seriously. She gave the example of Eric Garner whose life was taken by police but before that he struggled with asthma. Melanie talked about our air and how the earth is barely breathing. When we heal our earth we will then heal ourselves.
Earth connection begins by sitting with difference. Sitting with nature and seeing things in a different kind of lens. You can hear Melanie’s powerful message here.
The Jewish Federation of Columbus has a program for community outreach known as Atid. One of the the experiences that this group provides is about the environment and sustainability. This outreach is known as Tikkun Olam, and it brings young people and professionals together to work towards sustainability and environmental stewardship in the community. To read more about this group and find out how to get involved, click here.
The Jewish Climate Initiative is an organization that strives to respond to climate change with Jewish ideals. They are focused on ethics, policy, and science. To check out all that they are doing, you can find their website here.