Archive for November 4th, 2008

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: - 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:  I hope to meet some of you there!