An accessible introduction to the Jewish understanding of the natural world and the key concepts central to Jewish environmentalism.
At a time of growing concern about environmental issues, this book explores the relationship Jews have with the natural world and the ways in which Judaism contributes to contemporary social/environmental issues. It also shows readers the extent to which Judaism is part of the problem and how it can be part of the solution.
Offering both an environmental interpretation of Judaism and a Jewish approach to environmentalism, this book examines:
What environmentalism is.
What the creation stories can teach us about who we are and what nature is.
The relevance of Torah and traditional sources.
Jeremy Benstein PhD
Brand: Jewish Lights Publishing
Used Book in Good Condition
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I cannot recommend this book highly enough!
It was written by my teacher Dr. Jeremy Benstein, one of the founders of the Heschel Center in Tel Aviv. Jeremy sent me the proofs to read during the summer, for a project that I am working on under his tutelage, and I read it like a novel. It is fantastic!
Written in an easy and flowing style, assuming little about the reader's knowledge of Jewish tradition, it is nevertheless rigorous enough for the scholarly reader. This would make an excellent textbook for an Adult Ed or college course.
Two sections particularly moved me: the fourth chapter, about contemporary issues, raises some fascinating hiddushim: here are the titles of two of its subsections: "Multiply and fill up the Earth: Are We There Yet?" and "Eat and Be Satisfied: How Much is Enough?" The other, the sixth and final chapter "Ha'am Ve'Ha'aretz: The Land of Israel and a Jewish Sense of Place", is the first piece I've read that deals with the...
Most discussions of what Judaism has to say about the environment involve quoting a few relatively well known verses from traditional Jewish sources (i.e. the bible) and expounding on how they demonstrate that Judaism is an environmentally friendly religion. While Jeremy's book quotes all these verses, it doesn't stop there. It goes much much further and creates a learned, sophisticated and nuanced connection between Judaism and pro-environmental policies and behaviors.
(Full disclosure: I recently met Jeremy for the first time when I participated in a multi-day hike in Israel to raise money for The Heschel Center, Jeremy's NGO, which works on environmental issues in Israel and for another environmental group. I've written these comments on my volition without Jeremy's knowledge).
Jeremy Benstein, Ph.D. applies his extensive studies and knowledge of rabbinic literature and environmental ethics in The Way Into Judaism and the Environment, a serious-minded discussion of the role Judaism needs to play in proper stewardship of creation, especially in today's modern era of global warming, climate change, pollution, and extinction. Chapters address everything from the question of global overpopulation to the dangers of overconsumption and the need to strike a balance between what is necessary or healthful with what is extravagant and wasteful, the role of Jewish holidays and observances in replenishing not only faith, but belief in the importance of careful stewardship and personal responsibility, to what different interpretations of the book of Genesis have to say about man's relationship to the environment. Written in plain terms accessible to readers of all backgrounds, The Way Into Judaism and the Environment is thought-provoking material offering invaluable...
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