Environmental Movement Stirs Jews to Go Green

October 9, 2009

Author: Kate Shellnutt

Source: The Houston Chronicle


From the Garden of Eden to modern community-supported organic gardens, Jews are returning to their biblical call “to till and to tend” the earth.

Spurred by the popularity of environmental movements across denominations and the demands of the economic recession, Jewish leaders are transforming ancient concepts and religious observances into a religious basis for sustainability.

“You didn't used to see this. There was more of a turn inward, a focus on the spiritual and the ritual,” said Rabbi Asher Lopatin, who leads the Anshe Sholom B'nai Israel Congregation, a modern Orthodox community in Chicago. “But now, we're getting out of this ghetto mentality and caring for the world around us.”

Jewish groups are incorporating environmental awareness into traditional celebrations, as well as the way they maintain their facilities and organizations and their positions on political issues.