Earth-Based Judaism

Earth Based Judaism

Earth-Based Judaism Certification

ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal is excited to have launched the second cohort of our Earth-Based Judaism Certification Program through our virtual seminary.

Meet the cohort here

Earth-Based Judaism is a vital approach to Torah for our age, imbuing Judaism with a “Gaian consciousness” as Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi z”l taught us, to see ourselves as cells within the living body of the earth. We awaken an earth-based perspective to Judaism through a four-worlds approach that emphasizes integration of body, emotions, thought and spirit. Our approach fosters a relational way of being that brings ancient wisdom to bear on our modern world, learning oriented to Judaism’s earth-based traditions, and earth-based Jewish ceremony that awakens the spirit through the elements.

Goals of the Earth-Based Judaism Program

  1. Learn Jewish tradition through an organic, relational perspective in order to inspire deep connection to all life on earth and action in today’s ecological crisis.
  2. Enliven Torah and ritual with ancient approaches that are rooted in deep ecology, feminism, and a relationship with the elements.
  3. Activate our human nature through nature connection and our relationship to cyclical time, seasonal festivals & human life cycle rites.
  4. Inspire ecological Tikkun Olam, and gain tools to become active in the work to protect our beautiful world.

Program Structure and Cost

The earth-based track is completed over a three year period. Please stay tuned for more information about how to apply to the second cohort of the EBJ program.

  • 6 semester length ALEPH courses (fulfilling AOP course areas)
  • 3 four-day retreats in late summer or fall
  • Monthly cohort community building Zoom sessions with faculty
  • Optional mentoring or spiritual direction sessions with EBJ faculty
  • Occasional webinars and classes with faculty and guest teachers

Tuition for the Earth-Based Judaism Certification costs $3,475 per year. This sum includes a 3% obligatory T’rumah (offering) to support the AOP student scholarship fund. Tuition includes two EBJ courses and one retreat per year. This tuition structure is highly subsidized by ALEPH and grants from the Lasko Family Foundation and the Jews of Color Initiative. Thanks to a grant from the Jews of Color Initiative, we have up to five (5) spots available that would reduce the program fee to $1175 for Jews of Color. In addition, Jews of Color will be provided with a spiritual director at no cost.  A limited amount of other scholarship funds are available.

Required Coursework

(*also fulfills AOP credit in course areas)

To successfully complete the EBJ Certificate, one must complete 6 courses in earth-based approaches to Tanakh, Rabbinic Texts, History, Mysticism (2 semesters) and Thought. One equivalent course may be substituted by approval of core faculty.

Currently these are course being offered:

  1. Leviticus: Pathways to an Earth-Based Perspective on Tanakh (*Tanach) Rabbi Natan Margalit
  2. Sefer Yetzira: Renewing Creation (*Mysticism) Rabbi Jill Hammer
  3. Kabbalah and Ecology (*Mysticism) Rabbi David Seidenberg
  4. Modern and Jewish Eco-Theology (*Thought) instructor TBA
  5. Jewish Earth-Based History: From Goddess Worship to JOFEE Movement (*History) Rabbi Zelig Golden
  6. Organic Torah of Rabbinic Texts: (*Rabbinic) Rabbi Natan Margalit

To learn more about which courses will be offered over the coming semesters, please see the Earth-Based Judaism Course page.

Who Should Apply

This certificate program is offered at a rabbinic school academic level, and open to anyone who aims to teach and lead earth-based Jewish approaches, including ALEPH ordination program students, ordination students from other seminaries, Jewish clergy as well as non-clergy educators, leaders and activists.

In considering applicants for admission to the EBJ program we will take into account criteria including:

  1. Potential for becoming or growing into your role as a leader, teacher, or advocate for an earth-based approach to Judaism.
  2. Ability and preparedness to study in classes together with rabbinical students.
  3. Contribution to a balanced and diverse cohort of students
  4. Comfort with learning in nature, learning on a spiritual as well as intellectual level, and in learning together with a group.

Please direct any questions about the Earth-Based Judaism application process to Jake Sapon at jake@aleph.org. For questions about program content and structure, please email Rabbi Natan Margalit at nmargalit@aleph-ordination.org.

The Earth-Based Judaism Certification Program is made possible thanks to  grants from the Lasko Family Foundation and the Jews of Color Initiative.