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earth day is a jewish concept

04/20/2021 01:09:30 PM

Apr20

 

Though April 22nd is not officially in the Jewish calendar, it can be celebrated through a Jewish lens.  More than just a scientific or political issue, protecting our planet is an imperative given to us by Elohim from the very first week of creation. 

The first humans were created to care for the rest of creation, to literally be shomrei adamah/keepers of the earth.  Not keeping in the possessive sense, but in the sense of caring and watching over this one and only home that we all share.  That, too, is a Jewish concept. Shema Israel! It's all one. We're all one.  What goes into our earth becomes part of us ... and eventually the reverse is true as well. 

Further, our Torah explicitly teaches us the concept of bal tashchit/do not destroy.  Make provisions to save, protect, and not willingly damage or endanger fruit-bearing trees (and by extension, life-giving nature).

Over the doors of JCOGS is the phrase:  l’dor v’dor, from generation to generation. Here we are reminded that our actions leave a legacy, both in recognizing that what we do now to change the trajectory of climate change or preserve a destructive status quo, makes the difference in the kind of world our children will inherit from us and whether our children will continue to be shomrei adamah/guardians of the earth  for the generations after them.

Judaism also teaches that even small acts count. Start with an awareness: can you turn off the faucet while you're brushing your teeth or soaping up a pot? Can you reuse that plastic container before you send it to the recycling bin? Can you buy local produce from the source rather than the supermarket (leading to greater need for preserving pesticides and truck traffic)? Can you change your eating habits to include less meat and prepared foods? Can you share these small wisdoms with your children early enough to make them habits?

Sun, June 13 2021 3 Tammuz 5781