Ecology and the Jewish Spirit: Where Nature and the Sacred Meet

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Ellen Bernstein
Jewish Lights Publishing, 2000 - Nature - 277 pages
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What is nature's place in our spiritual lives?

In today's modern culture, we've become separated from the sacredness of the natural world. This book offers a different, eye- and soul-opening way of viewing our religion: A perspective grounded in nature, and rich in insights for seekers of all faiths.

Respect for the holiness of Creation, our duty to protect the natural world, reverence for the land ... a focus on nature is part of the fabric of Jewish thought. Here, innovative contributors bring us a richer understanding of the long-neglected themes of nature that are woven through the biblical creation story, ancient texts, traditional law, the holiday cycles, prayer, mitzvot (good deeds) and community.

Ecology & the Jewish Spirit explores the wisdom that the Jewish tradition has to offer all of us, to help nature become a sacred, spiritual part of our own lives.

Contributors:

Eileen Abrams * Bradley Shavit Artson * Philip J. Bentley * Ellen Bernstein * Ellen Cohn * Eliezer Diamond * Shira Dicker * David Ehrenfeld * Charles Fenyvesi * Shamu Fenyvesi * Dan Fink * Barry Freundel * David Gedzelman * Everett Gendler * Neil Gillman * Neal Joseph Loevinger * Victor Raboy * Debra J. Robbins * Robert Sand * Marc Sirinsky * Jeff Sultar * Marc Swetlitz * Lawrence Troster

 

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Contents

Acknowledgments
9
Sacred Time
14
95
17
Humans Nature and God in the Bible
19
Befriending the Desert
27
Is There Only One Holy Land?
41
How Wilderness Forms a
50
A Sentient Universe
57
Purim Rivers and Revels DAN FINK
151
A Passover Reminiscence EVERETT GENDLER
153
Leaving Egypt DAN FINK
155
Grow Your OwnBarley That
157
Of Dust Ashes Comets and a ThreeYearOld
167
Restoring a Blessing
180
Ethical First Principles
190
The Blessings of Holiness
200

A Family History
69
Jewish Perspectives on Limiting Consumption
80
New York Is a Girl
88
Cycles of the Jewish Year
97
Ecological Implications of the Hebrew Calendar DEBRA J ROBBINS
98
The Creation Cycles of the Jewish Liturgy LAWRENCE TROSTER
107
Shabbat and the Sabbatical Year DAN FINK
112
The Land of Your Soul MARC SIRINSKY
121
The Holidays
125
Rain and the Calendar ELLEN COHN
127
Holiday of Joy ELLEN BERNSTEIN
133
Gathering the Boughs DAN FINK
137
A History of Tu BShvat ELLEN BERNSTEIN
139
The Tu BShvat Seder
140
ELLEN BERNSTEIN
142
Nature Spirit Body
207
Judaisms Environmental Laws
214
A Case Study
225
What Does the Hour Demand?
240
How Community Forms a
250
98
254
Notes
257
About the Contributors
269
121
273
139
274
151
275
153
284
155
287
Copyright

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About the author (2000)

Ellen Bernstein is the founder of Shomrei Adamah-Keepers of the Earth, the first institution dedicated to cultivating the ecological thinking and practices integral to Jewish life. She is author of Ecology & the Jewish Spirit: Where Nature and the Sacred Meet and currently works as director of community building at the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia.

Ellen Bernstein is available to speak on the following topics:

  • Reading the Bible Ecologically
  • Prayer from an Ecological Perspective
  • Why Judaism Needs Ecology and Why the Environmental Movement Needs a Spiritual Approach
  • Creation Theology
  • Why (and How) to Start a Synagogue Garden or Farm!

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