Archive for : Israel

Repair Interview: Eitan Press of the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development

For the last several decades, many of the world’s major religions have looked inward to explore what their ancient teachings and ethical systems have to say about people’s relationship with and responsibility to the environment.

Now, an organization called the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development in Israel is bringing these conversations together for a cross-cultural, interfaith look on environmental protection. The reasoning? If two minds are better than one, then many minds (and hearts) are even stronger – especially when it comes to something as important as climate change and a healthy environment.

Today ICSD works to promote “the cooperation and training of religious leaders, teachers, and seminary students for environmental sustainability.” Over email, ICSD’s Social Media and Blog Director, Eitan Press, told Repair the World, about the role the world’s religions can play in the environmental movement, what it means to work together across differences, and how his own love of nature fuels his work.
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Yahel Participant Featured as a Service Star

Check out this video of Rachel Zieleniec. Rachel is a participant of Repair the World grantee-partner, Yahel – an innovative social action and service learning program in Israel. She was recently featured on a Jewish Federations of North America/Jewish Agency’s Masa Israel Journey activism video. Find out more below:

Monday Link Roundup

Happy Monday! Hopefully the soggy weather, which left much of the East Coast water-logged over the last couple of days, didn’t cramp your weekend style. To inject a little sunshine into the beginning of the week, here’s your weekly dose of inspiration from around the web.

  • The New York Times published an article by the inimitable Samuel Freedman about a Jewish summer camp focused on young Jews of color.
  • The JTA posted the latest news about the tens of thousands of peaceful protesters crowding the streets – and not just in Tel Aviv.
  • Meanwhile, The Forward offered an op-ed by J.J. Goldberg which recounted Israeli novelist, David Grossman’s thoughts on the protests and his experiences from the front line.
  • GOOD offers a bit of fascinating (and comparatively hopeful) environmental news about how humans are helping animal populations around the world adapt to a changing global climate.
  • The San Francisco Chronicle to end on a bright note, shares how a seven year old kid decided to donate his piggybank money to a local environmental nonprofit.

Recycling in Israel is On the Rise

According to a recent article in JTA, recycling of plastic bottles is on the rise in Israel – thanks to a public awareness campaign, and an increase of collection bins spread throughout the country.

Recycling, of course, is not the cure-all for environmental issues. Wherever possible it’s best to not consume something new or unnecessary (ahem, plastic water bottles) in the first place. Still, it’s an important first step to raising people’s consciousness about environmental responsibility.

Work to increase recycling in:

    • Your home. Recycling at home is easy with a bit of planning. Find out what types of recyclables (glass, paper, tin, plastic) are collected in your neighborhood and purchase or make bins to make sorting super easy. If you happen to live in San Francisco or Toronto, your local government collects food and yard waste to be composted too, so be sure to set aside your food scraps!
    • Your neighborhood. Contact your local representatives to let them know you support increased recycling facilities in your hometown. Or write an op-ed for a local newspaper to help garner support for better neighborhood recycling. Best yet, teach one person how to sort their recyclables. It’s not always as intuitive as it seems!
    • Your school. It can be difficult to convince a high school or college administration to take on recycling. Up your chances of success by holding an awareness campaign amongst the students to raise support. Find out how here.
    • Your office. Like school, the office can be a tough sell for recycling. Before proposing that your coworkers start sorting bottles and cans, find out what type of recycling pick up (via your building or a private company) is available to your office. You’ll have a better chance of convincing your boss to go green if you’ve done a bit of the legwork.

 

Check out more ideas on how to raise awareness about recycling in your neighborhood here.

Serving on Tisha B’Av by Helping To Feed Hungry People

Today is Tisha B’Av, one of the most solemn days on the Jewish calendar. It marks several tragedies that befell the Jewish people over the course of history – in particular the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Israel, as well as many other disasters.

On the night of Tisha B’Av, Jews read the book of Eicha / Lamentations – a mournful text rich with imagery of despair, loss and great regret. Images and statements of intense hunger are common throughout the text, like this one from chapter 4:

Those that are killed with the sword are better than those that are killed with hunger; for they pine away, stricken through, for want of the fruits of the field.

In commemoration of Tisha B’Av, many Jews fast from sunset to nightfall the following day. Fasting is a way to tap into both physical and spiritual hunger, as well as a sense of feeling out of control of one’s life and future.

Unfortunately, as we know, there are many people who feel the pain of physical hunger every day – holiday or not. So in honor of the holiday, here are some great organizations to support that are working to combat hunger nationally and globally. Learn more about and consider a donation to:

  • Mazon – a Jewish organization working to fight hunger worldwide.
  • Action Against Hunger – which provides innovative solutions to global hunger.
  • Feeding America – working to feed America’s 37 million hungry citizens.
  • Hazon Yeshaya – a humanitarian organization that provides food and services to hungry people in Israel.

Join the Ma’ase Olam Israel Teaching Fellows

Do you have a love of teaching, and a desire to help promote and foster equal rights to education? Now MASA Israel and Israel’s Ministry of Education have teamed up to create a 10-month service-learning program, called Ma’ase Olam – Israel Teaching Fellows, which invites American and Israeli young adults to teach English in schools and disadvantaged communities.

Ma’ase Olam, will launch for the first time this coming September and serve as a platform for developing Jewish leadership with a focus on promoting social change and local community responsibility. Located in Rehovot, an academic research hub located 12 miles south of Tel Aviv and home to a diverse community of 114,000 people, the Israel Teaching Fellow program offers meaningful opportunities to make a difference.
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