Going Green Jewishly

Can Miami Beach Survive Global Warming?

Mon, 11/23/2015 - 7:00am
by David Kamp for Vanity Fair

Miami real estate is booming as never before—but rising sea levels driven by global warming might mean a major bust. The mayor, climate scientists, and other experts tackle the dilemma.
I. Paddling Home

In the summer of 2013, one of the leading candidates in Miami Beach’s mayoral race, a businessman named Philip Levine, released a TV commercial that showed him kayaking his way home through traffic in a Paddington hat and a plastic poncho, accompanied by his boxer, Earl, who was kitted out in a life jacket. “In some parts of the world,” Levine said in the spot, “going around the city by boat is pretty cool. Like Venice. But in Miami Beach, when it rains, it floods. That’s got to stop. Because I’m just not sure how much more of this Earl and I can take.”

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10 Teachings on Judaism and the Environment

Mon, 11/16/2015 - 7:00am
Rabbi Lawrence Troster For The Blog/Huffington Post

1. God created the universe.

This is the most fundamental concept of Judaism. Its implications are that only God has absolute ownership over Creation (Gen. 1-2, Psalm 24:1, I Chron. 29:10-16). Thus, Judaism's worldview is theocentric not anthropocentric. The environmental implications are that humans must realize that they do not have unrestricted freedom to misuse Creation, as it does not belong to them. Everything we own, everything we use ultimately belongs to God. Even our own selves belong to God. As a prayer in the High Holiday liturgy proclaims, "The soul is Yours and the body is your handiwork." As we are "sojourners with You, mere transients like our ancestors; our days on earth are like a shadow..." (I Chronicles 29:15), we must always consider our use of Creation with a view to the larger good in both time (responsibility to future generations) and space (others on this world). We must also think beyond our own species to that of all Creation.

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Health Ministry: Comparison of processed meats’ dangers to smoking was exaggerated

Mon, 11/09/2015 - 7:00am

While processed meats were put by the WHO in the same category as smoking, the ministry said "it is not at all as dangerous at the same level as tobacco."
The Health Ministry has issued a statement disagreeing with the World Health Organization that claimed eating processed meat was “as dangerous as smoking.”

While processed meats were put by the WHO in the same category as smoking, the ministry said “it is not at all as dangerous at the same level as tobacco. As a single factor, smoking contributes significantly to the risk of lung cancer and other types of cancer [and cardiovascular diseases]. Compared to that, processed meat is a much more modest risk factor.”

The ministry re-issued on Tuesday its guidelines stating that smoking was “much more dangerous” than eating such meat -- hot dogs, pastrami, bacon and other meat with chemicals or meat that has undergone smoking. While very undesirable, such a diet  promotes the risk for colorectal, pancreatic, prostate, stomach and breast cancer, the ministry said.

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greenXchange at EXPO Milano

Mon, 11/02/2015 - 7:00am
KKL-JNF’s greenXchange program brings young Israeli and German environmental professionals together to explore various ecological projects and to make a global impact.
By KKL-JNF for JPost.com

During September 7-10, greenXchange alumni and new participants visited Expo in Milan, where they got to see the Israel Pavilion and the KKL-JNF compound. 

According to Liri Eitan Drai, the head of the program on behalf of KKL-JNF Israel, “Expo Milan is extremely relevant to the fields that the greenXchangers specialize in. It provided an excellent platform for them to see KKL-JNF in a global perspective, to meet representatives from other countries and to discuss the possibility of future collaborations. We also took advantage of the time between the lectures and meetings to talk about plans for the future and how to intensify cooperation with KKL-JNF.”

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From Africa to China, How Israel Helps Quench the Developing World's Thirst

Mon, 10/26/2015 - 7:00am
The untold story of Israeli hydrodiplomacy, from the 1950s until now.
Seth M. Siegel for Mosaic

In November 1898, Theodor Herzl arranged a meeting with the German emperor, Wilhelm II, to obtain help in creating a Jewish state in the land of Israel. In their conversation, the Kaiser praised the work of the Zionist pioneers, telling Herzl that, above all else, “water and shade trees” would restore the land to its ancient glory. Four years later, Herzl had a lead character in his political tract-cum-novel Altneuland (“Old-New Land”) say of Jewish settlement in Palestine: “This country needs nothing but water and shade to have a great future.” Another character predicts that the water engineers of the Jewish homeland will be its heroes.

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First Tree after Shmita Year Planted by Bavarian Agriculture Minister

Mon, 10/19/2015 - 7:00am
By KKL-JNF for JPost.com

On September 16, the day after Rosh Hashanah, Bavarian Minister of Agriculture and Forest Management Mr. Helmut Brunner planted an olive tree near the Kennedy Memorial in the Judean Hills.
The tree was the first to be planted directly in the ground following the Jewish Year 5775, which was a fallow (shmita) year.

“This symbolic tree planting is not only in honor of cooperation between Israel and Germany in the past, but also a symbol of future cooperation between our two countries,” said Mr. Helmut Brunner, Minister of Agriculture and Forest Management of the State of Bavaria, before planting an olive tree in Peace Forest on the outskirts of Jerusalem.

Minister Brunner was visiting Israel together with a delegation of about 20 members of parliament from all parties, researchers, economic experts and ministry officials. During their visit, the Bavarian delegation will be studying Israeli achievements in irrigating rural areas and eco/agri tourism, along with other fields of activity.

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New microbrew made from Boston river water — with Israeli tech

Mon, 10/12/2015 - 7:00am
By Penny Schwartz for JTA

BOSTON (JTA) — An Israeli-founded water purification company has teamed up with Boston-based Harpoon Brewery to channel the once-famously polluted Charles River into a new beer.

Desalitech, which started in Israel seven years ago and then moved to Boston, is using its patented technology to provide water for Harpoon’s Charles River Pale Ale. The limited-edition beer is on tap this week at Boston’s HUBweek, a weeklong science and art festival.

Desalitech president Nadav Efraty said helping to produce the beer is part of his company’s mission to better the environment.

“Water scarcity is a global challenge that affects millions across the world – we are proud to be a Massachusetts company that is providing solutions and making an impact here in the U.S. and beyond,” he said in a statement.

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Mon, 10/05/2015 - 7:00am

Jewish Eco Seminars is proud to feature a wealth of new Jewish environmental teachings.
ShiloFrom food, energy and waste to consumerism, Shabbat and prayer, the materials cover eighteen topics on Judaism and ecology. Each of the 18 topics includes a short article (800 words) with a brief overview of the topic for blogs and articles; a long article (2000-2500 words) for in-depth study of the topic; a study guide with Hebrew/English sources and discussion questions for chavruta study or group learning, a podcast with a teaching on this topic; and a short video for sharing.

The materials were developed by Canfei Nesharim in partnership with Jewcology.com and released as a “Year of Jewish Learning on the Environment.”  The director of Jewish Eco Seminars, Rabbi Yonatan Neril, worked with Canfei Nesharim on a consulting basis in developing the materials on all eighteen topics.

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Sukkot & The Environment: Texts for Study

Mon, 09/28/2015 - 7:00am

Texts for study and discussion. 1. “You shall celebrate the festival of ingathering, at the end of the year, when you gather in your labors of the field.” Exodus 23:16 2. “You shall take the fruit of the goodly tree, palm branch, foliage of the leafy tree, and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before your God for seven days.” Leviticus 23:40 3. “You shall live in sukkahs seven days; all citizens of Yisrael shall live in huts; in order that future generations may know that I made the Israelite people live in huts when I brought them out of the land of Egypt, I the Lord your God.” Leviticus 23:42,43 4. “Hang tapestries, nuts, almond, peaches, pomegranates, branches of grapes, vines, fine meal, wreaths of ears of corn” (on your Sukkah) Talmud Betzah 30b 5.

Continue reading.http://www.coejl.org/resources/sukkot-the-environment-texts-for-study/

The High Holidays are upon us, check out our High Holidays Spotlight Kit

Check out Jvillage’s High Holiday+    page.

Sandstorm is Israel’s worst since before ’48

Mon, 09/21/2015 - 7:00am
(JTA) — Israel’s ongoing sandstorm is the worst since before the founding of the state in 1948, according to the Israeli Environmental Protection Ministry.

The sandstorm blanketing the region, which began Tuesday and was expected to continue through the weekend, has released the highest concentration of dust particles in more than 65 years, the Times of Israel reported Friday.

The sandstorm has affected large swaths of Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and Cyprus, and in Israel has led to record electricity consumption and air pollution highs. The previous electricity consumption record was set in August during a heatwave.

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 The High Holidays are upon us, check out our High Holidays Spotlight Kit

New Bio-filters Purify Surface Runoff Water for Reuse

Mon, 09/14/2015 - 7:00am
By KKL-JNF for JPost.com

Two new bio-filter facilities established by KKL-JNF in Ramla and Bat Yam demonstrated their efficiency during Israel’s recent rainstorms.

 The bio-filters are designed to enable surface runoff water to be collected, purified via environmentally friendly physical and biological methods, and then channeled into the aquifers as clean water. These new bio-filters join an older one that has been operating successfully in Kfar Sava for a number of years.

Two hundred million cubic meters of rainwater go to waste in Israel every year. They are washed down to the coast, where they pollute the beaches, the sea and marine life. The innovative bio-filter project is designed to allow this rainwater to be utilized in order to avoid pollution and prevent groundwater levels from dropping further

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Could NeoTop’s water spheres save California?

Mon, 09/07/2015 - 7:00am
Israeli state-of-the-art modular cover system decreases evaporation of reservoirs and saves precious water while preserving quality.
By Viva Sarah Press for Israel21c

The hypnotic video footage of millions of black plastic “shade balls” rolling into Los Angeles’s reservoirs has mesmerized the world.

It has also sparked a tidal wave of interest in NeoTop Water Systems, an Israeli startup that has scientifically proven that its patented spheres – designed to be job-specific as opposed to the balls California has so far deployed — decrease evaporation of reservoirs, save precious water and reduce growth of algae to preserve a healthy ecosystem.

The Israeli company’s second-generation product is set to be unveiled at the upcoming WATEC Israel 2015 international exhibition of water technologies, October 13-15 at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds.

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Chinese Delegation Tours Negev Agriculture and Forestry

Mon, 08/31/2015 - 7:00am
By KKL-JNF for Jpost

A delegation from China visiting Israel toured the Negev with KKL-JNF personnel to learn from KKL-JNF's experience in agriculture in arid regions, combating desertification and soil and water technology.

On their tour in Israel, the Chinese delegation got acquainted with KKL-JNF's diverse projects in these fields and encountered landscapes and people all over the country.

 “I have no doubt that we can learn a lot from Israeli know-how,” said Mr. Wang Shuwen, the head of delegation and the Deputy Secretary General of the Society of Entrepreneurs & Ecology (SEE).

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Israeli Solar Warms Up

Mon, 08/24/2015 - 7:00am
The country has embraced technological innovation—except in renewable energy. Is that finally changing?
By Daniel Gross for Slate

In late July, workers flipped the switch on a large-scale solar field—a 40-megawatt plant covering 134 acres. They hooked it up to the grid in the desert and began delivering emission-free power. There’s nothing particularly noteworthy about this event. Given the rampant growth of solar around the world, this kind of thing happens almost daily, and large solar arrays can now be planned and built in a matter of months.

But this one took six years to come to fruition. And its location is unique. The field, a joint venture of Arava Power and a subsidiary of Électricité de France, is the first utility-scale solar plant to be built in Israel.

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Champions of Change: People of Faith Acting on Climate, Honored by White House

Mon, 08/17/2015 - 7:00am
Posted by Angela Barranco on July 22, 2015 - whitehouse.gov/blog

On Monday, I was pleased to be able to welcome twelve people of faith as they were honored as White House “Champions of Change” for their efforts in protecting our environment and communities from the effects of climate change. These Champions have demonstrated clear leadership across the United States and around the world through their grassroots efforts to green their communities and educate others on the moral and social justice implications of climate change.

The Champions shared personal reflections on their efforts in advance of the event:

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Israeli Startup Breeds Protein-Rich Edible Insects To End World Hunger

Mon, 08/10/2015 - 7:00am
By Luke Tress, The Times of Israel, on nocamels.com

Millions of people suffer from lack of protein, which is especially dangerous for children – and with the world population set to grow significantly in the coming years, mankind needs more, and cheaper, sources of protein.

Problem solved, believes Dror Tamir. According to Tamir, his company can provide a healthy, cheap alternative source of protein to the millions of children who lack other sources. His plan, he believes, will improve their health, give their families food security and jobs, and help the environment. How? With bugs. “We are growing edible insects for humans,” Tamir said.

His company, Steak TzarTzar – the word means cricket — which he founded with Ben Friedman and Chanan Aviv, aims to be the first to farm edible insects, using high-tech methods to quickly grow them in an organized manner, under sanitary conditions.

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