Judaism and environmentalism


Judaism and environmentalism

Judaism intersects with environmentalism on many levels. This article addresses how the natural world plays a central role in Jewish law, literature, and liturgical and other practices. Moreover, within the diverse arena of Jewish thought, beliefs vary widely about the human relation to the environment. In addition, the article looks at the history of Jewish environmental thought and activism.

Jewish law and the environment

In Jewish law ("halakhah"), ecological concerns are reflected in Biblical protection for fruit trees, rules in the Mishnah against harming the public domain , Talmudic debate over noise and smoke damages, and contemporary responsa on agricultural pollution. In Conservative Judaism, a new initiative has adopted ecokashrut ideas begun in the 1970s. In addition, Jewish activists have recruited principles of "halakhah" for environmental purposes, such as the injunction against unnecessary destruction, known as bal tashkhit. The rule of "tzaar baalei hayim" is a restriction on cruelty to animals.

Other Jewish beliefs about the environment

Generally speaking, the Biblical and rabbinic tradition has put Judaism primarily on an anthropocentric trajectory. For example, in the account of creation in the Torah, each day God declares that the created world is good, yet concluding that the created human is "very good." In Genesis, too, God instructs humanity to hold dominion over nature, though this may be interpreted in terms of stewardship as well.

Jewish practices and nature

In contemporary Jewish liturgy, ecological concerns have been promoted by adapting a kabbalistic ritual for the holiday of trees, Tu B'shvat.Fact|date=December 2007 Biblical and rabbinic texts have been enlisted for prayers about the environment, especially in Reform Judaism and Jewish Renewal movements.

History of Jewish environmentalism

In the U.S., a coalition of Jewish environmentalists (COEJL) undertakes both educational and policy advocacy on such issues as biodiversity and global warming. [Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, New York.] Jewish environmentalists are drawn from all branches of religious life, ranging from Rabbi Arthur Waskow to a growing Orthodox non-profit. [ [http://canfeinesharim.org/who_we_are/in_news.php?page=13141 Canfei Nesharim] ] In Israel, secular Jews have formed numerous governmental and non-governmental organizations to protect nature and reduce pollution.Fact|date=December 2007 While Israeli organizations make limited use of Jewish religious teachings, a few do approach Israel's environmental problems from a Jewish standpoint, including an environmental center named after Abraham Joshua Heschel.

ee also

*Environmental issues

Bibliography

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*Jeremy Benstein. "The way into Judaism and the environment" Woodstock, Vt.: Jewish Lights Pub., 2006. ISBN 158023268X; 9781580232685.

*Anita Bernstein. "Formed by Thalidomide: Mass Torts as a False Cure For Toxic Exposure" Columbia Law Review, November, 1997

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*Chaya M. Burstein. The kids' catalog of animals and the earth. Philadelphia, PA: The Jewish Publication Society, 2006. ISBN 0827607857.

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*Ari Elon, Naomi M. Hyman and Arthur Ocean Waskow. Trees, earth, and Torah: a Tu b'Shvat anthology. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 2000. ISBN 0827606656.

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*Daniel Hillel. "The natural history of the Bible: an environmental exploration of the Hebrew scriptures" New York: Columbia University Press, 2006. ISBN 0231133626.

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*Ronald H. Isaacs. "The Jewish sourcebook on the environment and ecology" Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson, 1998. ISBN 0765799790.

*Merkaz ha-Yerushalmi le-ʻinyene tsibur u-medinah and Center for Jewish Community Studies. "Jewish environmental perspectives" Philadelphia, PA: Center for Jewish Community Studies, 2001.

*Naḥum Raḳover. Environmental protection: a Jewish perspective. Policy study. 4, Jerusalem: Institute of the World Jewish Congress, 1996.

*Aubrey Rose. "Judaism and ecology. World religions and ecology" London, England ; New York, NY, USA: Cassell, 1992. ISBN 0304323780.

*Or N. Rose, Jo Ellen Green Kaiser and Margie Klein. "Righteous indignation: a Jewish call for justice" Woodstock, Vt.: Jewish Lights Pub., 2007. ISBN 9781580233361; 1580233368.

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*Yiśraʼel Rozenson. Ṿe-Hineh ṭov Meʼod. ha-Sidrah ha-yeruḳah. 2, Yerushalayim: Yeshivat "Bet Orot", 2001.

*Daṿid Salomon and Meʼir Zikhl. Ekhut ha-sevivah (eḳologyah) bi-meḳorot ha-Yahadut. Ramat-Gan: Proyeḳṭ ha-sh. u-t. be-Universiṭat Bar-Ilan, 1989.

*Earl Schwartz, Barry D. Cytron. "Who renews creation. (Meḥadesh be-khol yom tamid maʻaśeh ve-reshit)" New York, N.Y.: National Youth Commission, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, 1993.

*Tsevi Shinover and Yitsḥaḳ Goldberg. Ekhut ha-ḥayim ṿeha-sevivah bi-meḳorot ha-Yahadut. Neḥalim: Hotsaʼat "Mofet", 1993.

*Nosson Slifkin. Seasons of life: the reflection of the Jewish year in the natural world. Torah universe. Southfield, MI; Nanuet, NY: Targum Press in conjunction with Mishnas Rishonim; Distributed by Feldheim, 1998. ISBN 1568711107.

* Ora R. Sheinson. "Lessons from the Jewish Law of Property Rights for the Modern American Takings Debate" Columbia Journal of Environmental Law Columbia Journal of Environmental Law, 2001

* Ruth Sonshine, Jonathan Reiss, Daniel Pollack, Karen R. Cavanaugh. "Liability For Environmental Damage : An American And Jewish Legal Perspective," "Temple Environmental Law & Technology", Fall, 2000

*David E. Stein. "A Garden of choice fruit: 200 classic Jewish quotes on human beings and the environment" Wyncote, Pa.: Shomrei Adamah, 1991. ISBN 0963284800.

*Hava Tirosh-Samuelson. Judaism and ecology: created world and revealed word. Religions of the world and ecology. Cambridge, Mass: Center for the Study of World Religions, Harvard Divinity School, 2002. ISBN 094545435X; 0945454368.

*Albert Vorspan and David Saperstein. "Jewish dimensions of social justice : tough moral choices of our time" New York, NY.: UAHC Press, 1998. ISBN 0807406503.

*Arthur Ocean Waskow. "Torah of the earth: exploring 4,000 years of ecology in Jewish thought" Two volumes. Woodstock, Vt.: Jewish Lights Pub., 2000. ISBN 1580230865; 1580230873.

*Martin D. Yaffe. "Judaism and environmental ethics: a reader" Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books, 2001. ISBN 073910117X; 0739101188.

References

External links

* [http://www.biggreenjewish.org/index.php Resources on Judaism and the environment]


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