Going Green Jewishly

The Secret of Israel's Water Miracle and How It Can Help a Thirsty World

Mon, 02/08/2016 - 7:00am
From holistic management to advanced toilets, Israel has pioneered ideas that can help the planet manage its increasingly threatened water sources.

Ruth Schuster for Haaretz

The world's problem with water isn't that it's disappearing. The water is there. The problem is that in many areas, growing populations have less and less water per capita because of crumbling infrastructure leading to massive leaking; short-sighted and self-interested water management, leading to egregious waste, and polluted groundwater. Can ideas from Israel really help solve these problems at a planetary level?

Yes, because in a process lasting decades, Israel achieved something unique. It largely separated its water consumption from Mother Nature. Israel doesn't have some one-stop-shop magic solution, neither desalination (which it didn't invent) nor some breakthrough dreamed up by geniuses in garages. What it has is holistic, centralized water management, designed over decades, from which thirsty areas from California to Egypt can cherry-pick ideas, argues Seth Siegel, author of the best-selling book "Let There Be Water". Why reinvent the wheel when one can emulate it?

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The country’s tastiest chicken will soon be kosher

Mon, 02/01/2016 - 7:00am
By Victor Wishna for JTA
LINDSBORG, Kan. (JTA) – Thousands of birds strutted around like rambunctious kids at recess — six varieties of turkey and nearly 40 breeds of chicken, duck and geese.

As soon as a stranger stepped into their dominion, a dozen of the largest toms surrounded the visitor. “They’re just making sure you’re not here to take over the flock,” fourth-generation farmer Frank Reese Jr. explained.

Out on the open Kansas prairie, about 80 miles north of Wichita, Reese’s Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch has become an oasis of what’s known as heritage poultry — healthy and genetically pure breeds of fowl that meet the American Poultry Association’s Standard of Perfection, first codified in 1874.
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Israeli chefs stir up world food trends

Mon, 01/25/2016 - 7:00am
New York Times credits Eyal Shani (Miznon) with bringing the cauliflower back in vogue.
By Viva Sarah Press  for Israel21c

The gastronomy world is taking cues from Israeli chefs on food trends for 2016.

Most recently, Israeli celebrity chef Eyal Shani was credited by the New York Times with bringing cauliflower back onto fashionable tables.

“The whole roasted cauliflower (along with the single giant beet and the overgrown carrot) recently surfaced as a favorite chef’s trick. It is the centerpiece of menus at restaurants … [Shani’s] ‘baby cauliflower,’ now famous, blanched in salted water and then oiled and charred in a wood-fired oven, started the craze, which has been picked up by the likes of Jamie Oliver, Rachael Ray and Giada De Laurentiis,” according to the NYT report.  “It has also become one of the defining dishes of modern Israeli cooking.”

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The Environmentally Conscious Jewish Home

Mon, 01/18/2016 - 7:00am
For Jewish families, caring for the environment could be part of a wider consciousness of living in a world that is a divine gift.
By Deborah R. Fields for MyJewishLearning.com   
Alongside the obvious benefit of sustaining the planet, the environmentally conscious home provides its occupants with a sense of accomplishment and even pride in personally doing something that will maintain, even better, one’s world. For the believing Jew, this feeling of well-being should be all the more gratifying, for preserving the planet is not an end in itself, but part of a greater plan that encompasses the whole of one’s existence. This greater plan is laid out in Jewish law, based in the Torah. One may feel doubly rewarded by the overall satisfaction of living a life of mitzvot [commandments], and, within this context, living an environmentally sound existence.

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JNF - More than just the little blue Tzedaka boxes

Mon, 01/11/2016 - 7:00am
The Jewish National Fund has come a long way since is original mission of planting trees in Israel. Education, water conservation, leadership training and so much more. Check them out.

JNF in Numbers-2015 from Jewish National Fund on Vimeo.

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Furrows in the Desert in Turkana, Kenya

Mon, 12/28/2015 - 7:00am

 'Furrows in the Desert', a project in which KKL-JNF is partner in Kenya, is teaching the Turkana people how to support themselves through sustainable Israeli agriculture, enabling them to independently attain food security in a harsh semi-arid region.

Five Years after the Fire, the Carmel is Green Again

Mon, 12/21/2015 - 7:00am

The great Carmel fire in 2010 killed 44 people and destroyed 2,500 hectares worth of forested areas with millions of trees. Five years after the disaster, the color green has returned to the forest.

On November 29, 2015, KKL-JNF arranged a tour for journalists, so they could see how the color green has returned to the forest, hear about the rehabilitation projects led by KKL-JNF, observe the precautions undertaken for dealing with future wildfires, and meet the communities that live on the Carmel and the KKL-JNF representatives responsible for the forest.

“It’s amazing to see how the entire area has gone back to being green, especially in those areas managed by KKL-JNF,” said Yiftah Harhol, KKL-JNF Director of the Northern Region, in his opening greetings.

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Op-Ed: Israel, a ‘green’ pioneer, is now falling short

Mon, 12/14/2015 - 7:00am
By Yosef I. Abramowitz for JTA

LE BOURGET, France (JTA) — There is a Jewish blessing when one is in the rare presence of a national leader. But what is the blessing when the single largest gathering of world leaders in history — 150 in one day — come together outside Paris with soaring rhetoric and promises to fight the devastating effects of climate change?

Paris is guarded and mourning weeks after the deadly Nov. 13 terror attacks that killed 130, and yet the city was twinkling and alive as it plays host to this historic global climate summit. The gathering is a marathon negotiation against a ticking carbon clock, whose alarm went off a decade ago and yet only now the wary hand of humanity seeks to hit the pause button. Among the diverse crowd of tens of thousands, I am, as far as I can see, the only one wearing a kippah — knitted and green, proud to be on the official Israeli delegation of more than 50 people. Yet I’m ashamed that my instinct is to curse — not to bless — many of the leaders parading to the podium.

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Let it shine: Israel hypes solar at Paris talks

Mon, 12/07/2015 - 7:00am
50-strong Israeli delegation to UN Climate Change Conference in Paris to show how blue and white tech can lower emissions
By Melanie Lidman for The Times of Israel

Israel hopes to highlight its green technology expertise, with an emphasis on solar energy, as a major solution to global warming at the United Nations Climate Change talks in Paris on November 30, according to a member of the delegation.

The purpose of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) is to get all 166 UN member countries to sign a binding agreement that will keep global warming below an increase of two degrees Celsius over the next century. A global increase of two degrees is considered a tipping point that will lead to widespread environmental disasters. Hundreds of leaders will gather in Paris for the 11-day summit to try to hammer out a deal capping emissions for all countries and looking for creative solutions to halt the warming of the planet.

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Living an Environmentally Conscious Jewish Life

Mon, 11/30/2015 - 7:00am
By Rabbi Fred Dobb for MyJewishLearning.com    

The Jewish spiritual tradition offers ways to think and act in harmony with nature and for the benefit of the environment.

The created world is both bountiful and fragile. A Jewish environmental activist suggests that treating it with respect and care should be an integral part of our living out the Jewish concepts of Torah (instruction/learning), avodah (service/worship/work), and gemilut hasadim (acts of kindness).

“O child of Adam, when you return to Nature, on that day you shall open your eyes… You shall know that you have returned to yourself, for in hiding from Nature, you hid from yourself… And you will recognize on that day…you must renew everything: your food and your drink, your dress and your home, the character of your work and the way that you learn — everything.”

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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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