Going Green Jewishly

The Jewish Farm School

Mon, 05/23/2016 - 7:00am
A Sustainable Organization Rooted in Jewish Traditions
The Jewish Farm School teaches about contemporary food and environmental issues through innovative trainings and skill-based Jewish agricultural education. 

We are driven by traditions of using food and agriculture as tools for social justice and spiritual mindfulness. Through our programs, we address the injustices embedded in today’s mainstream food systems and work to create greater access to sustainably grown foods, produced from a consciousness of both ecological and social well being.

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Israeli car engine could halve fuel costs, emissions

Mon, 05/16/2016 - 7:00am
By David Shamah for The Times of Israel

Aquarius’s new take on internal combustion engines will be the big leap forward that vehicles need, says company founder

The notoriously conservative car business – autos, after all, are still largely powered by the internal combustion engine, developed nearly 150 years ago – is in for big changes, according to Gal Fridman, chief marketing officer and co-founder of Aquarius Engines.

“Our enhanced engine design uses energy much more efficiently, and eliminates the valves and rods that cause energy loss,” he said. “If a car equipped with a modern standard internal combustion engine can go about 600 kilometers on a tank of gas, ours can more than double that.”

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How One Jewish Mother Inspired a Global Eco-Revolution

Mon, 05/09/2016 - 7:00am
By Aron Hirt-Manheimer for ReformJudaism.org

When I first visited Lotan, a Reform kibbutz in the Negev Desert, and witnessed the community’s artful integration of ancient and modern building methods, I asked founding member Alex Cicelsky how Lotan had become an internationally recognized center for ecological experimentation and training.

It all started 20 years ago, he said, when one kibbutz member’s mother came to visit him from a town north of London, where she grew organic vegetables in her small backyard. Dismayed by the sight of food scraps discarded into trash bins in the kibbutz communal kitchen, she complained: How can an intentional community built on Jewish values not be composting?

Lotan’s members took the complaint to heart and decided to recycle all of their waste.

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Eurovision Contestants Plant Trees in Israel

Mon, 05/02/2016 - 7:00am
By KKL-JNF for JPost.com

 Twenty young singers from different countries in Europe, who are taking part in Eurovision 2016, arrived in Israel for a short visit. On Tuesday, April 12, they enjoyed the experience of planting trees at the KKL-JNF Tree Planting Center in The President's-Tzora Forest.

“It was a thrilling sensation to feel the earth in my hands and plant a tree,” said Rykka from Switzerland. “I was surprised to see how green Israel is. I was expecting to see a desert, and here we are, standing in a forest.”

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Phresh Organics

Mon, 04/25/2016 - 7:00am

Phresh is a company that produces and sells strictly organic, non-toxic preservatives by means of micro encapsulation of essential oils. We use technology that was developed for over 12 years in Ben Gurion University and the University of Florida.

Currently, we focus on organic preservatives for fruits and vegetables, hoping to drastically reduce food wastes at home. Together, we can make the world greener, more sustainable, and enjoy more yummy fruits and vegetables!

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Tips for an Eco-Friendly Passover

Mon, 04/18/2016 - 7:00am
Tips from the Chicago Botanic Garden
Enriching Your Holidays
Each year more families “go green” by incorporating environmentally sound practices into their Passover celebration. Here at the Chicago Botanic Garden, we have some tips for making your holiday eco-friendly. We hope one of ways you’ll commemorate this season of renewal is to visit the Garden with your family, to see how the earth is gloriously rejuvenating itself within our 24 individual gardens and four natural areas.

Spring’s promise of renewal fits in with the Passover theme, as the story of Exodus tells how Jews were released from slavery and left Egypt, determined to renew themselves as a people. The Passover seder, centered around food and rich with symbols, is a special time for families to gather and remember by retelling the story in a traditional format (seder means “order”). But, as with so many other holidays, commercialism has encroached upon the sacred nature of Passover, which can also involve a fair amount of junk!

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Passover is just about here, check out our Passover Holiday Spotlight Kit

Life After Brisket

Mon, 04/11/2016 - 7:00am
Veganism in Israel is taking hold among the Orthodox, who use textual sources to argue against all meat consumption
By Sara Toth Stub for Tablet Magazine   

A little more than two years ago, 36-year-old Jeremy Gimpel, a Modern Orthodox Israeli rabbi, political activist, and radio and television host, finally watched a YouTube video taken in a kosher-certified chicken slaughtering plant. A vegan friend had encouraged him for months to take a look at various videos about the ugly side of industrial food production. But Gimpel, who back then found vegans annoying, had dismissed his friend, pointing out that halakha not only allows for eating meat, but also prohibits the sort of animal torture that such slaughterhouse videos purported to show.

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After long haul, Knesset okays 10 agorot charge for plastic bags

Mon, 04/04/2016 - 7:00am
Lawmakers unanimously pass law after two-year slog, but environmental activists warn tiny charge, down from original 40 agorot, won’t be enough to dissuade use
By Melanie Lidman and Raoul Wootliff for The Times of Israel

More than two years after giving an initial go-ahead, the Knesset passed a bill late Monday night imposing a charge on plastic bags at supermarkets and convenience stores, a move aimed at significantly reducing municipal waste and pollution.

The law, which will come into effect on January 1, 2017, will require customers to pay 10 agorot (approximately $0.03) per plastic bag and will ban the distribution of certain types of polymer bags.

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The Dead Sea: A dramatic look at Israel's endangered natural wonder

Mon, 03/28/2016 - 7:00am
by Nir Hasson for Haaretz

The Dead Sea is in danger of dying. Haaretz's stunning interactive project explains why
Fields of sinkholes instead of beaches, roads swept away by floods, large industrial ponds instead of a sea and one overarching question: What can be done so that things don’t get even worse in the next 20 years? Sometimes you need a new vantage point to understand an older picture. Two months ago a small camera-equipped, motorized glider took off close to a signpost that said “steps down to the Dead Sea 1984.” The location was the Einot Tzukim (Ein Feshkha) nature reserve in the northern Dead Sea area. Near the sign were some stone steps on which people had descended to the water’s edge 32 years ago. Behind them was an abandoned shower. As the glider took off, it showed the mountains of the Judean Desert, silent witnesses to the grim drama taking place nearby. When the glider turned eastward, the scene of the disaster came into view: the Dead Sea shoreline, to which bathers had descended on those stone steps, was barely visible. Now the shoreline merged with the Moab Mountains visible on the horizon and with the cloudy skies, two kilometers away from the steps that were built in the mid-1980s.

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How to Celebrate Purim Vegan-Style

Mon, 03/21/2016 - 7:00am
From One Green Planet

Purim is the Jewish holiday that celebrates the survival of the Jews in ancient Persia. We read the biblical Book of Esther, or the Megillah, which tells the story of how Esther saved the Jews from annihilation at the hands of the wicked Haman, an advisor to the king. Haman hated the Jews because Mordecai, Esther’s cousin, would not bow down to him. So Haman plotted to destroy the Jewish people by convincing the king that these people followed their own laws rather than the king’s and were therefore, a great threat. The king left the fate of the Jews to Haman who planned to exterminate them all. Esther became part of the king’s harem and he loved her so much, he made her queen. She was able to use his love for her to save her people from Haman’s evil plot. The Jewish people were saved and Haman was killed instead.

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For more great Purim ideas, check out our Purim Holiday Spotlight Kit

Kitchen Heroes to the rescue of limp lettuce, sad strawberries

Mon, 03/14/2016 - 7:00am
Israeli-developed powder preservative technology keeps fruits and vegetables fresh, without chemicals
By David Shamah for The Times of Israel

One minute, a piece of fruit or a growing vegetable is alive and growing, but the next — after it’s picked — the process of death and rot begins. Exposed to the atmosphere and the environment, it’s just a matter of time, sometimes days, before mold and decay set in and eventually render produce inedible.

t’s nature’s way, but it’s damned inconvenient for commercial distributors, supermarkets, and consumers. But the “essential oil” protection system developed by Israeli food-tech start-up Phresh Organics can help fruits and vegetables stay fresh for as long as a month and preserve their vitamins, according to company CEO Amit Gal-Or.

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In Yeruham, Israel’s smaller crater is big news

Mon, 03/07/2016 - 7:00am
This southern development town is home to the falsely named Big Crater, sand irises and culinary queens
By Jessica Steinberg for The Times of Israel   

When it comes to Israel’s craters, geological landforms created by a mountainous erosion millions of years ago, travelers think first of the Ramon Crater.

But there’s another major Negev crater, aka makhtesh (in addition to three smaller ones): the “Big” Crater just outside the southern development town of Yeruham. It got its misleading name in the days when the larger Ramon Crater was still uncharted.

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Medical marijuana company predicts profits boom

Mon, 02/29/2016 - 7:00am
Anticipating $84 million in sales in 2019, Israeli-founded Cannabics seeks investment as it touts treatment for cancer sufferers
By Sue Surkes for The Times of Israel
A company founded by Israelis that has developed a marijuana capsule for cancer sufferers predicts that the legal cannabis industry will outstrip both the US film and organic food industries within five years.

Cannabics Pharmaceuticals estimates that the medical marijuana market has the potential to reach $3.6 million in the US alone, the Globes newspaper reported Monday.

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Will Israel's Natural-Gas Fields Ever Get Developed?

Mon, 02/22/2016 - 7:00am
By Arthur Herman for Mosaic
Tens of trillions of cubic feet of gas lie waiting offshore, with the potential to transform the world’s energy map and perhaps even stabilize the Middle East.
What a difference a year makes.

A year ago, the Israeli government was at complete loggerheads with an American company and its Israeli partner over the future of “Leviathan,” Israel’s massive offshore natural-gas reserve. The question was whether either of the two companies, Noble Energy of Houston and the Delek Group of Israel, would be allowed to participate in actually developing the field they had discovered five years earlier. And then, in August, with negotiations stalled, and no other candidates in sight, the Italian energy giant ENI announced the discovery, in Egyptian waters, of an even larger and more easily accessible gas field. Some energy experts were beginning to wonder if Leviathan would ever be developed at all.

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Get to the roots of Israel’s historic trees

Mon, 02/15/2016 - 7:00am
By Aviva and Shmuel Bar-Am for The Times of Israel

When Russia took over Bukhara in 1868, it granted the Jewish population religious freedom as well as a monopoly in the silk and woven-goods trade. The more enterprising of them took excellent advantage of the opportunity and became wonderfully affluent. Indeed, when the first Bukharan immigrant reached Jerusalem in the early 1870s, he brought his wife, his children, and a servant to the Holy Land.

By the 1890’s about 200 Bukharan immigrants had reached Jerusalem and all of them lived inside the Old City. But they were crowded, and in 1891 they decided to put establish a neighborhood outside the Old City walls. Its design was unusual for Jerusalem: the plan called for spacious homes on tree-lined boulevards with main roads a generous width of 10.5 meters and side streets five meters wide. When it was complete, the Bukharim neighborhood boasted some of the grandest structures in the city.

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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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