Jewish environmental engagement is characterized by a consciousness of the universal human responsibility to care for creation and the distinctive ways in which the Jewish community has historically embodied a special relationship with God the Creator. Central to that relationship is the divine gift of the Torah, and the whole body of divine wisdom and law handed down from generation to generation. Jewish communities today have found a rich variety of ways to weave care and appreciation for creation into the religious life of families, individuals, congregations, and communities. Whether through worship, service projects, education programs, advocacy, or the design and operation of their facilities, the Jewish community has found ways to bring to light the significance of traditional teachings, celebrations, and practices in regard to creation care.
In recent decades, Jewish rabbis and scholars have shown that traditional Jewish teachings about God, humanity, and nature contain wisdom that can inform a spiritual and ethical response to present-day environmental concerns, particularly the principles of tzedakah (justice) and tikkun olam (repairing the world). Serious and careful study of both Torah and environmental degradation has informed recent initiatives, programs, and scholarship.
Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life
The Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL) deepens and broadens the Jewish community's commitment to stewardship and protection of the Earth through outreach, activism, and Jewish learning. Through a network of Jewish leaders, institutions, COEJL is mobilizing the Jewish community to conserve energy, increase sustainability, and advocate for policies that increase energy efficiency and security while building core Jewish environmental knowledge and serving as a Jewish voice in the broader interfaith community.
Jewish Energy Guide: Taking Action
COEJL's Jewish Energy Guide presents a comprehensive Jewish approach to the challenges of energy security and climate change. The Guide offers a blueprint for the Jewish engagement on energy issues.
Hebrew for 'vision', Hazon seeks to foster a vision of a renewed, inclusive, passionate, and creative Jewish community rooted in tradition and engaged with the world through outdoor and environmental education programs. Much of Hazon's work focuses on food justice; their library of resources related to the Jewish food movement can be found here.
Dayenu: A Jewish Call for Climate Action launched in 2020 and is mobilizing Jewish support for critical federal and state climate policies that create the structural change we need, including clean energy and transportation initiatives that cut emissions, create jobs, and prioritize vulnerable communities.
- Teva, a part of Hazon, has programs that combine ecology, Jewish environmental ethics, and environmental activism.
- Shalom Institute Camp and Conference Center is an interactive hands-on learning center that teaches about the history and ecology of Israel as well as organic gardening and farming and the relationship between Judaism and the environment.
- Jewish nature retreats include the Isabella Freedman Center and the Pearlstone Center, a retreat and conference center in Maryland.
- Torah Treks explores the connections between Jewish spirituality and the experience of wilderness through a variety of backcountry adventures.
- Jewcology collects resources and links activists together to build a multi-denominational, diverse coalition of Jewish environmentalists.