Vital, Ecological and Jewish

Sharon November 4th, 2008

A while back I mentioned the fall Kallah, my synagogue’s annual scholar-in-residence weekend.  We’re bringing Rabbi Everett Gendler, the father of Environmental Judaism, who will be delivering a Dvar Torah, and three lectures during the course of the weekend.  I would invite anyone interested in attending to consider joining us.  There is a charge for the meals (and advance reservations are needed, so if you’d like to join us, please reserve ASAP), but all the lectures and religious services are free and open to the public.

That said, the food will definitely be worth it.  It is a local meal, showcasing the best of local and kosher vegetarian cooking.  All events will take place at my shul, Congregation Agudat Achim in Niskayuna, NY.  This project is going to take up a lot of my time in the next few days, and I’m really excited about it - this marriage of my faith and my principles is something really exciting.

All the details are here: http://www.agudatachim.org/gpage18.html - and yes, you can still reserve for the meals by emailing.

 On Friday night, we’ll have services at 7:30 pm, with Rabbi Gendler delivering a Dvar Torah (sermon) on the parsha, Lech Lecha (the journey of Abraham and Sarah). 

On Saturday there will be morning services, followed by a local foods luncheon (and the food will be totally amazing) at 12:30 and Rabbi Gendler’s first talk “Eating Green, Eating Jewishly” - addressing the questions of how our ecological and theological concerns about food are to be addressed.

On Saturday night we’ll have a special Havdalah service (which marks the end of the Sabbath) at 7pm, and then Rabbi Gendler’s second talk, “Teaching Shalom in the Shadow of Tibet: Exploring the Links between Two Diaspora Faiths” building in part on his work helping Tibetan refugees find ways to resist non-violently. Rabbi Gendler recently returned from Ladakh, where among other things, he led Rosh Hashanah services in what he jokingly calls “The Dalai Lama’s Shul” - ie, the monastary in which the Dalai Lama (who attended) lives.  The Saturday night talk will be followed by a dessert table, featuring more local foods - again, reservations are required for that.

Sunday morning, Rabbi Gendler will give his final talk, after a 10am brunch hosted by our synagogue Men’s Club.  The talk, “Let the Sun Shine In: The Eternal Light, Solar Power and the Sun Ceremony” will explore links between how we power our religious institutions and homes and the forthcoming, every-28 years ritual of blessing the sun (to be done this April) - Rabbi Gendler argues that we have a halachic (ie, following Jewish law) obligation not to power the eternal light that burns in each synagogue with fossil fuels.  This is a question he’s lived - when he was Rabbi in Lowell, MA in the 1980s, his was the first synagogue in the US to put solar panels on their roof.  Again, there’s a fee for the meal, but the talk is free and open to the public.

 If you wish to join us for any of the food, please send an email ASAP to [email protected] - when space runs out, it runs out, so make your reservation now.  And remember, all the lectures are free - we’d love to have you join us.   Directions to the synagogue are here: http://www.agudatachim.org/directions.html.  I hope to meet some of you there!

Sharon

7 Responses to “Vital, Ecological and Jewish”

  1. homebrewlibrarianon 04 Nov 2008 at 1:20 pm

    Dang. This sounds like such a great series of talks and events. I’d love to attend but the commute is just a bit much even for a weekend. Alaska is just a teensy bit far away for this to work for me.

    Nonetheless, I hope you have an enormous turnout from your local community!

    Kerri in AK

  2. Sarahon 04 Nov 2008 at 1:58 pm

    Why are you in upstate New York?! Though our synagogue is actually also doing a discussion series on food ethics.

  3. Ailsa Ekon 04 Nov 2008 at 3:42 pm

    I wish I could be there. Although, I did a goggle maps route to it from our place just out of curiosity and found out that Schenectady is actually significantly closer to us than my mom’s house is Maine, and way closer than Adam’s parents’ place, and we do weekend trips up there all the time. I’m still a bit weirded out by that. How can someplace in New York be closer than Maine? That’s Just Wrong ™.

  4. […] Casaubon’s Book » Blog Archive » Vital, Ecological and Jewish A while back I mentioned the fall Kallah, my synagogue’s annual scholar-in-residence weekend. We’re bringing Rabbi Everett Gendler, the father of Environmental Judaism, who will be delivering a Dvar Torah, and three lectures during the course of the weekend. I would invite anyone interested in attending to consider joining us. There is a charge for the meals (and advance reservations are needed, so if you’d like to join us, please reserve ASAP), but all the lectures and religious services are free and open to the public. […]

  5. suze_ozon 04 Nov 2008 at 8:03 pm

    How I wish I loved close to you. However I would have to cross the Pacific ocean and the whole country.

    I am totally fascinated by Judiasm and these talks sound terrific. People seem to bypass the fact that Christianity has roots in Judiasm and I am sure that if Christ was around we would be squirming. I pray that this event brings much to you all.

  6. nikaon 05 Nov 2008 at 9:12 am

    I echo the other comments, sounds like a fantastic event! I congratulate all of you for making this happen. I was especially struck by the solar power talk and how its the Rabbi’s position that it is a religious obligation to not use fossil fuels in the synagogue.

    While I am exactly 0% religious, your congregation is very attractive to me :-) Fantastic bunch of people!

  7. Skippyon 05 Nov 2008 at 1:59 pm

    Kerri in AK,

    I feel the same way–Alaska is just a little too far away from all the great happenings!
    I’m in Homer, where there is no shul…hopefully you feel in touch with your community!

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