Since Earth Day (April 22) is on Shabbat this year, I am working with others to make it an “Environmental Shabbat,” with rabbis all over the world encouraged to give a sermon or a class on that Shabbat about Jewish environmental teachings and how they can be applied today to reduce environmental threats, and/or to have another environmental event at their synagogue.
Among the many rabbis supporting this initiative are Nathan Lopes Cardozo, dean of the David Cardozo Institute and author of many Judaica books, including Jewish Law as Rebellion; Yitz Greenberg, President of the J.J. Greenberg Institute for the Advancement of Jewish Life; Yonatan Neril, founder and director of the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development and co-editor of Eco Bible, volumes 1 and 2; David Rosen, former Chief Rabbi of Ireland and now Director of International Inter-religious Affairs for the American Jewish Committee; Jonathan Wittenberg, leading UK Masorti rabbi; David Wolpe, leading US Conservative rabbi and author; and Shmuly Yanklowitz, founder and director of Uri l’Tzekek and Shamayim: Jewish Animal Advocacy, and author of many Judaica books.
Organizations that support the initiative include Aytzim, Ecological Judaism; the Green Sabbath Project; Green Zionist Alliance; the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development; the Shalom Center, and Shamayim, Jewish Animal Advocacy.
Many activities suitable for an “Environmental Shabbat” are at the website of the Green Sabbath Project, https://www.greensabbathproject.net/sabbath-activities
My article, “Making Earth Day on 2023 Into an Environmental Shabbat,” published in the Times of Israel, can be read at https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/making-earth-day-2023-an-environmental-shabbat/?fbclid=IwAR0yu3j3ZYjPe2EU2KMLabiFRucnm99oP5SFteJR-c3m4ftT0nOkmkzT25k
This initiative is very important because of the increasingly dire warnings from climate experts that the world may soon reach an irreversible tipping point, when the climate spins out of control, with catastrophic consequences.
Israel is especially threatened by climate change, because the Middle East is heating up twice s fast as the world’s average, the costal plane where most of Israel’s population and infrastructure are located may be inundated by a rising Mediterranean Sea, and the hotter and drier Middle East that climate experts are projecting makes instability, terrorism, and war more likely.
For further information or to offer to help with the initiative, you can email me at VeggieRich@Gmail.com.
Relevant material for an Environmental Shabbat:
Searches for Confei Nesharim and Tazria and for Confei Nesharim and Meteor will provide environmentally related divrei Torah for the 2 Torah portions on the Environmental Shabbat
My article, “Jewish Environmental teachings useful for the Environmental Shabbat,” published in the Times of Israel, can be read at https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/jewish-environmental-teachings-useful-for-an-environmental-shabbat/?fbclid=IwAR02xQtG7saFPNZljxrOFpntovCtZN-eXj4fU1s_s9dXAg6GmuNhjQTDfCU
The complete text of my book, Vegan Revolution:Saving Our World, Revitalizing Judaism can be read at https://jewcology.org/2021/03/complete-text-of-my-latest-book-vegan-revolution-saving-our-world-revitalizing-judaism/ . It has a. chapter on Jewish environmental teachings and a chapter on climate threats.
My book Judaism and Global Survival can be read at https://www.ginger.org.il/_files/ugd/481d0d_2a425f11215c45799116b3865bd86481.pdf . It also has a. chapter on Jewish environmental teachings and a chapter on climate threats.
My co-authored (with Prof. Dan Brook) cover story in the Jerusalem Report, “Climate change: an existential threat to humanity and how we can survive,” can be read at.https://www.jpost.com/jerusalem-report/climate-change-an-existential-threat-to-humanity-and-how-we-can-survive-643267 .
An extremely comprehensive article on the seriousness of climate threats and how many people are dying due to severe climate events can be read at https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/zahrahirji/climate-change-deaths-2021.
List (in formation) of Jewish Organizations Supporting the Initiative to Make Earth Day in 2023 an “Environmental Shabbat”
Aytzim: Ecological Judaism, Parent organization of: EcoJews, Green
Zionist Alliance, Jewcology.org, Jews of the Earth, Shomrei Breishit:
Rabbis and Cantors for the Earth (aytzim.org)
Christian Vegetarian Association. (ChristianVeg.org)
Concern for Helping Animals in Israel (chai.org.il)
Hakol Chai (chai.org.il)
Green Zionist Alliance (aytzim.org/greenisrael)
Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development (interfaithsustain.com)
International Jewish Vegetarian Society (Jerusalem)
Jewish Veg (JewishVeg.org)
Jewish Vegetarian Society of the UK. (jvs.org.uk)
Jews of the Earth (aytzim.org/jote)
Own Your Judaism (ownyourjudaism.org)
The Plant-Based Thrive and Inspire Community – Inspiring Hopeful Cu
riosity for a new lifestyle. weDIDit.Health
Shamayim: Jewish Animal Advocacy (shamayim.us )
Shomrei Breishit: Rabbis and Cantors for the Earth (aytzim.org)