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Archive for : Environment

PB&J Summit: Poverty, Bread & Justice with BBYO

Volunteering at a soup kitchen or food pantry has long been a popular service activity for teens – easy to organize and meaningful. Now, BBYO is helping teens take the next step with PB&J: Poverty, Bread & Justice: A Jewish Teen Summit on Hunger.

Jewish teens from around the country will convene in Washington, D.C., for five days this summer (Thurs., June 24-Mon., June 28) to discuss today’s most pressing food-related questions. (Hint: There’s more to it than “What’s for dinner?”)
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Repair Hero: Osher Perry

Osher Perry probably does not sleep, or if he does he must be one heck of a multi-tasker. Service – to his home country of Israel, and to the people in it – has always been a priority for Perry. After 8 years of service in the Navy, he is now an MBA student at Tel Aviv University’s Soafer International Business school. This year, he organized a program called MBA Cares, which promotes ethical business practices and service amongst his fellow business students. And in his “spare time,” he is part of the Nets of Peace initiative, which looks to build economic opportunity for Palestinians in Gaza through aquaculture. Perry took a few minutes to speak about growing up in Gaza, the year he spent sailing around the world, and why peace must grow from the bottom up.
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NYC Hillels Join Together for Social Action Sunday

Last Sunday, more than 80 students from seven New York City Hillels joined together in a day of service and study in the Big Apple.

Social Action Sunday offered a wide array of service projects throughout the five boroughs in the morning (partnering with local Jewish and non-Jewish organizations), then drew the students together for an afternoon program at Columbia/Barnard Hillel, which included a speaker and a service fair where they met with organizations that offer further opportunities for social action and service.
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Photo Journal: In the Forest with BINA and JNF

Just about every Jewish kid (and many non-Jewish kids too) has had a tree planted in their honor in Israel. Far fewer have ever actually seen said tree…or even visited a forest in Israel. But on a recent service trip with BINA and the Jewish National Fund (JNF), participants found themselves up close and personal with a bona fide Galilean grove.

BINA was founded in 1996 with the goal of being a “vibrant center [in Israel] for Jewish learning and Tikkun Olam.” Their programs for young adults include study, social action/justice work, and community leadership, including a 5-10 month program that engages 22-28 year olds in both service and Jewish learning. (Participants choose between a coexistence track and a community service track.) The organization also runs a secular yeshiva in Tel Aviv, along with a wide variety of other programs.
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On Tap: Earth Day Turns 40

Tomorrow (April 22), Earth Day will celebrate its 40th birthday.

The environmental movement has changed a lot since 1970 when Senator Nelson decided to throw an annual awareness party for the earth. (Fun fact: Earth Day was founded not by a bunch of hippies, but by a straight-laced Senator from Wisconsin.)

In many ways, the threats of polluted air and water, species extinction, global warming and environmental injustice are just as dire as they were 40 years ago. Meanwhile, some activists suggest that Earth Day has lost its initial power and relevancy, and that focusing the ideas of conservation and care of the planet on one day makes them easier to forget the rest of the year. The very fact that the holiday is reaching middle age while humans’ consumption of fossil fuels remains sky-high is perhaps a case in point.

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Photo Journal: In the Fields with Jewish Farm School and Hillel

As promised, here is a photo diary of the Jewish Farm School/Hillel’s organic farming alternative spring breaks.

These pictures, which were taken by NYU student Amalyah Oren, highlight her group’s 6-day food and farming adventure at Tierra Miguel, an 85-acre, non-profit educational farm and foundation in Pauma Valley, California. Like all of the trips co-organized by the Jewish Farm School and Hillel, the group at Tierra Miguel volunteered in the fields, learning valuable skills in sustainable agriculture, and also engaged in text studies and discussion about everything from Jewish agricultural laws, to medicinal herbs, to global food security.

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On Tap: Alternative Breaks with The Jewish Farm School

Calling all Jewish farmers, farmers-to-be, and food enthusiasts: The Jewish Farm School, in partnership with Hillel, is offering two sustainable agriculture-based alternative break programs this summer:

May 23-30: Urban Agriculture and Food Justice break in Philadelphia
June 15-22: Sustainable Agriculture break at Oz Farm in Northern, California

Since 2006, The Jewish Farm School has, “fostered opportunities for Jews to reconnect with the process of working the land and growing food…[while staying] rooted in justice and Jewish traditions.” They teach and speak about agriculture in communities across the country, run multi-day, land-based workshops on organic gardening, Jewish sustainability, permaculture, and food access, and organize alternative break programs that leave participants ecologically and Jewishly empowered and inspired.

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Tuesday Link Roundup

In the week leading up to Passover, here are a few inspiring bits and stories from around the blogosphere…

  • SF Chronicle Vegetable gardens sprout around San Francisco – from the library to the police department, thanks to support and legislation from Mayor Gavin Newsome, and the work of many of the city residents and organizations who are determined to create a greener and healthier city.
  • Yes Magazine Rabbi Ted Falcon makes the connection between Passover and living a more conscious, aware, and free lives.
  • New York Times Sunday’s inspiring immigration rally on Washington draws tens of thousands of supporters and activists.
  • Huffington Post First Lady Michelle Obama makes a cartoon appearance on the Simpsons, standing up for high achieving students. “I got A’s back when A’s were hard to get,” she said. She also plugs organic gardening.
  • Jerusalem Post Hillel and City Year get a major shout out in the Jerusalem Post for their alternative spring break programs, and inspiring college kids to make a difference.
  • JTA Hear Sara Hurwitz talk in her own words about the growing role of women as spiritual leaders in the Orthodox movement. (See the video at the bottom of the post.)

A Community Garden Grows in Israel — with JDC

For the past 95 years, JDC has established itself as a leader in Jewish service – organizing vital rescue, relief, and renewal-based programs in more than 80 Jewish communities throughout the world. JDC offers a variety of ways to get involved including short-term (10-day) service trips and the year-long Jewish Service Corps program.

Back in January, a group of short-term service volunteers spent time working in Gedera, Israel helping to build a vegetable garden with and for the Ethiopian-Israeli community. The community is comprised of like-minded individuals (both native Israelis and Ethiopian-Israelis) who choose to live and work together on a traditional or urban kibbutz. Community action, empowerment and volunteer service are a central part of the neighborhood’s vision – including keeping a garden that provides food for residents and beautifies the area.

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