Care for the environment, rooted in an awareness that, “all of creation is filled with divine glory,” has always been a central tenet of Jewish Renewal. In the lineage of our teacher Reb Zalman z”l we are committed to Gaia consciousness: the teaching that the earth is a living organism and that we must shape religion in a way framed by our responsibility to the planet.
Jewish mystical tradition holds that the Temple in Jerusalem once represented a single place associated with holiness, but now we must find and make holiness everywhere. So taught the Hasidic mystic Sfat Emet (1847-1905), and the Paris Climate Agreement proves that it is possible for our whole planet.
In that spirit, ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal announces Deep Ecology as ALEPH’s program theme for 2016 and a permanent covenant of Jewish Renewal. Deep Ecology is more than environmental protection: it views and feels the whole Earth as a living Temple and casts our Judaism as a servant of that living Temple. Deep Ecology draws from the deep world wisdom that all true spiritual paths share this common commitment to spiritualizing all life. Environmental protection becomes a natural and necessary result of this spiritual commitment.
Jewish Renewal pioneered eco-kashrut and an environmental halacha of tikkun olam (repairing the world). Our pathfinders are setting the standard for Shmitta, Shabbat and Climate Change. We recognize the central importance of both Kabbalah and Ecology. Now we must bring these commitments forward.
In the year ahead, ALEPH will hold an environmentally conscientious Kallah (July 11-17 in Colorado) with carbon offsets, partner with allied Jewish environmental organizations, and deepen Jewish Renewal’s R&D (research and development) work of evolving Jewish life – both spiritual and practical – in ways that are living testaments to our living planet.
Liturgical Resources for Our Living Planet
Tu BiShvat Resources - including a new prayer by Rabbi Rachel Barenblat, a prayer and a one-page haggadah from Rabbi David Seidenberg, and a new digital haggadah intended for projection on a screen
Pesach Resources - a new prayer for the earth, a new seder host's companion, a new ritual for bedikat hametz / removing leaven, an earth-centered kiddush and first cup reading, and a printable Freedom Seder for the earth.