This guide provides information and links to various organizations, businesses, projects, and the like that are dedicated to connecting Judaism and the natural world.
Information & Action
Big Green Jewish is a website dedicated to raising awareness about environmental issues in the Jewish community, with a specific focus on climate change.
Partnering with national Jewish organizatons, COEJL’s mission is to integrate Jewish stewardship values into Jewish life. Working with rabbis, educators, scholars, synagogues, and other organizations, COEJL distributes educational materials on a range of topics such as environmental justice and sustainability. COEJL also supports and works with programs and organizations around the country to protect the environment, public health, and the common future shared by all.
The Green Zionist Alliance (GZA) is a place for Jews and non-Jews, who believe in environmental stewardship and preserving the ecology of Israel, to work together to build a peaceful and sustainable future for Israel and the Middle East. Through education and action, the GZA works to protect, improve, and support Israel’s environment as well as improve environmental practices within the World Zionist Organization and its constituent agencies.
Based in New York, Hazon is the largest dedicated environmental organization in the American Jewish community and is working to create healthier and more sustainable communities in the Jewish world and beyond. Through transformative experiences, thought-leadership, and capacity-building, Hazon encourages Jewish people to make a real difference in the world and shift what it means to be a Jewish person in the 21st century. Incorporating environmental awareness with Jewish philosophy and social justice, Hazon offers many successful and transformative programs such as the Isabella Freedmand Retreat Center, the Teva Learning Center (which was created with Surprise Lake Camp) and the Adamah Fellowship. Hazon also provides grants to non-profit organizations that are connecting Judaism with the environment, transportation alternatives to driving, climate change, food justice, sustainable food, farming, and/or gardening (http://www.hazon.org/partners/).
Sponsored by Canfei Nesharim, Jewcology serves as a resource network for Jewish environmentalism. Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life acts as a “content partner,” providing resources and supporting Jewcology’s Internet-based approach to share Jewish-environmental ideas.
A thorough resource for information on the national activities of the Reform Jewish Movement in relation to the environment.
Bikkurim is an incubator for innovative Jewish ideas that will “contribute meaningfully to Jewish life and expand the nature of Jewish community.” Bikkurim helps entrepreneurs achieve organizational sustainability, and since its founding in 2000, Bikkurim has provided over a half million dollars to 29 new Jewish organizations.
Canfei Nesharim is working to inspire a Torah-based environmental movement by offering services to support Jewish communities and individuals in environmental learning, programs, and action. Using the teaching of the Torah and halacha, the organization empowers leaders to educate their own schools and communities about the importance of protecting the environment.
Canfei Nesharim offers “holiday programs, parsha materials, and sample lesson plans” to help participants engage their school in Canfei Nesharim’s work. Canfei Nesharim hosts periodic calls with Jewish environmental educators to share opportunities, resources, and challenges about teaching about the environment in Jewish schools and developing programs for synagogues.
The Green Hevra is a network of Jewish environmental organizations. Their goal is to, “harnesses the power of our members, and the unique wisdom of Jewish tradition, to change the consciousness of our communities, so that the Jewish people becomes a force that creates a more sustainable world.”
The Jewish Farm School teaches about food, environmental, and social issues using Jewish agricultural education. The school addresses the inequalities of the current food system as well as how food and agriculture are tools to be used to promote social justice, increase access to sustainably grown foods, and raise spiritual mindfulness.
The ROI Community is an international organization bringing activists from around the world together to advance “ideas and partnerships that will strengthen Jewish communities and improve society.” In addition to conferences, social media, and information sharing, ROI Community provides micro grants and other funding opportunities to young Jewish innovative leaders, which transforms ideas into action.
A part of the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, the Adva Network is a website for transformative Jewish environmental leaders. The site has links to 29 alumni organizations as well as articles and updates on current social and environmental activity across the Jewish community.
In the pursuit of social and environmental justice, the Gan Project works with a variety of organizations throughout Chicago to provide Jewish environmental education. Though projects such as food preservation workshops, facilitating discussions, and gardening, The Gan Project has made a difference in the community through actions such as donating food grown in the education garden to area food pantries and kitchens. Recently, The Gan Project has expanded its farming and is focusing on adding a positive Jewish presence to local and regional food movements.
A Forward and Hazon partnership, this blog focuses Jews, food, and contemporary issues.
A link to the 1991 URJ-approved comprehensive resolution on the environment.
Farms, Camps and Retreat Centers
Part of Hazon, Isabella Freddman Jewish Retreat Center is the primary retreat center for over 30 Jewish communities and organizations in New York and New England.
Shalom Institute is a center for experiential Jewish education serving all demoninations. Examples of programs and services include residential summer camps for all ages, community-wide Jewish celebrations, retreats, educational programs for various audiences, leadership trainings, service projects, and social justice programs. Focused on eco-friendly practices and sustainability, the Shalom Institute runs the Shemesh Organic Farm, from which produce is used in cooking workshops, as ingredients in meals at the Institute, and for donations to SOVA, a kosher food pantry.
Through programs, training teachers, providing certifications, and alliance building, Teva Learning Alliance works to “fundamentally transform Jewish education through experiential learning that fosters Jewish and ecological sustainability.” Developed by Isabella Freedman Retreat Center and Surprise Lake Camp, Teva works with camp educators and leaders, farms, day schools, congregations, and others.
Tiyul B’Aretz is a study abroad program in Israel that gives participants the opportunity to live in Israeli ecological communities, blends academic and exeriential education, and promotes environmentally aware, peer-supported learning community.
The sister program to the Adamah Fellowship, Urban Adamah is based in Berekely, California, and centers its work for youth and families on urban organic agriculture with a focus on social justice and experiential Jewish environmental programming.
Yahel’s goals are to contribute to Israeli grassroot organizations, connect participants to Israel and its people, and to inspire participants to continue to work to make civic engagement and service in their respective home countries.
Through program and education initiatives, Organic Torah integrates ecological thinking into a new vision of the torah with the goal of creating a sustainable, just, and prosperous world.
The Adamah Fellowship is a 3-month environmental leadership training program for Jewish adults ages 20 to 32. A program of the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, the Fellowship is based on a 6-acre farm in Falls Village, CT, and “integrates organic agriculture, farm-to-table living, Jewish learning, community building, and spiritual practice,” with the goal of creating a sustainable business that models ecological design, financial viability, and social responsibility.
Co-founded by an Adamah Fellow, Cloud 9 is an urban rooftop farm located in Philadelphia, PA.
Eden Village Camp is a Jewish overnight camp in New York State devoted to environmental and social responsibility. Offering “immersive education in Jewish values,” Eden Village provides opportunities for campers to make choices and take action through activities, such as farming, hiking, art, contemplation, and service.
Co-founded by an Adamah fellow, Fresh Roots Urban Farm (FRUF), is based in Vancouver, British Columbia. FRUF is committed to enhancing “urban food sovereignty” and provides their organic food, which is grown in neighborhood market gardens, to the community via a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, at Farmer’s Markets, and in schools and restaurants throughout the city.
Beantown Jewish Gardens uses hand-on agriculture and sustainability education to build community. Activities include promoting Earth- and food-based programs, connecting agriculture and food traditions to Jewish holidays and political action, promoting sustainable food, and producing locally grown food.
Located on the Pearlstone Center and Camp Milldale campus, Kayam Farm is both an educational and working farm, promoting sustainable living centered on Judaism, agriculture, and ecology.
Located in Chicago, this farm offers hands-on farming experience through fellowships as well as high school, college, and adult programming. With Jewish philosophy and teachings as the underlying principles, they provide a range of courses, such as growing food, homesteading, managing farm stands, and canning and preserving food.
Ramah Outdoor Adventure provides outstanding outdoor adventure experiences with a strong environmental focus to youth age 8-17.
Through various educational programs and grassroots initiatives, Shoresh Jewish Environmental Programs is a leader in the Jewish environmental movement in the Greater Toronto Area. Kavanah Garden, an organic educational garden modeling Jewish agricultural laws and environmental ethics, serves as Shoresh’s flagship programming space for activities such as food conferences, school field trips, workshops, and camps.
Located in New York State, Surprise Lake Camp is a Jewish camp offering summer and year-round program opportunities. The camp promotes “Jewish identity building, environmental stewardship, and the development of values and skills that help people lead fulfilling lives and become assets to their communities.” Surprise Lake Camp is the parent organization of the Teva Learning Center, teaching kids the relationship between being Jewish and caring for the environment.
Through land-based festivals, rites of passage, and sustainable life skills education, Wilderness Torah seeks to facilitate spiritual growth for particiants. “Wilderness Torah awakens and celebrates the earth-based traditions of Judaism to nourish the connections between self, community, earth, and Spirit.”
Driven by the values of speaking Yiddish, building community, and living sustainably, this organic farm in New York State is a Yiddish education center working to bring unity and respect between Hasidic and non-Hasidic Jews.
Projects and Products
Co-founded by an Adamah fellow, Grow and Behold provides Glatt Kosher pastured meats, which can be shipped all over the U.S. Grow and Behold works with small family-run farms and follows the strictest standards of kashrut, animal welfare, worker treatment, and sustainable agriculture.
A program of the Isabella Freedman Retreat Center, the Jewish Greening Fellowship is an 18-month long program that provides training, grants, and organizational support to New York area JCCs, camps, synagogues, health and human service organizations, and day schools with the goal of making their facilities more efficient and sustainable while raising awareness of environmental issues. It is funded by UJA-Federation of New York.
The Network Greening Initiative (NGI) is a project within UJA-Federation of New York and offers grants, an educational program, and a guide to local greening resources and practical recommendations for environmentally sustainable choices. In partnership with the Isabella Freedman Retreat Center, the UJA-Federation of New York created the Jewish Greening Fellowship.
Founded by an Adamah Fellow, Eat with Eli offers clients “health-supportive nutrition” through primarily vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and kosher cuisine.
Located in the Jerusalem Corridor region, this is a family-run organic farm, offering food year-round to customers in Israel.
Founded by an Adamah Fellowship graduate, Brassica and Brine is a successful, sustainable business offering organic, Kosher, and bacteria-rich foods, such as kimchi and dill pickles.