For everyone who wants to understand how Jews view the natural world and the responsibilities of environmental stewardship, this book provides the way into an essential aspect of Judaism and allows you to interact directly with the sacred texts of the Jewish tradition.
At a time of growing concern about environmental issues, Jeremy Benstein, PhD--a founder and associate director of the Heschel Center for Environmental Learning and Leadership--explores the relationship Jews have with the natural world and the ways in which Judaism contributes to contemporary social-environmental issues. He also shows us the extent to which Judaism is part of the problem and how it can be part of the solution.
Benstein offers both an environmental interpretation of Judaism and a Jewish approach to environmentalism, examining the dilemmas and questions we face when evaluating Judaism's role in the care of creation:
What environmentalism is. What do we mean by a "sustainable society"? What in our lives and our society needs to change in order to achieve it? How can we best apply Jewish ethics of caring for the land in all our lands and in the Land--the Land of Israel?
What the creation stories can teach us about who we are and what nature is. Are we essentially a part of the natural world--or crucially apart from it? Are we masters of creation--or its servants? Are we creatures or creators? What dreams and responsibilities flow from these roles?
The relevance of Torah and traditional sources. What contemporary insights can be gleaned from ancient teachings? What role should the material world play in our spiritual lives? How can bringing Judaism and environmentalism into creative dialogue enrich our understanding of ourselves and our world, and contribute to tikkun olam, our repair of that world?