Shana Tova From Teva Ivri

published on: 16-03-2011

Teva Ivri's harvest this year and planting seeds for the future...

Shana Tova from Teva Ivri!  We hope your holiday season has been wonderful thus far.

Around the world, Jews are celebrating Sukkot – the Festival of Ingathering.  Here in Israel, we mark the end of the harvest season for grapes and late-summer fruits and the beginning of the harvest of olives, dates, and other fall fruits.  It was a dry year, but still we see the Divine blessings of the Land of Israel expressed in storehouses filled with the produce of the orchard, field, and vineyard

For many of us not participating directly in the agricultural harvest, Sukkot is an opportunity for spiritual and communal ingathering.  It is a time to gather and store all the inspiration of this time of renewal, so that we may draw upon it during the year.  Also, when we bundle together the Four Species under the shelter of the sukkah, we gather the entire Jewish people, focusing on what unites us – shared history, common values, and hope for a sustainable future in Israel and throughout the world.

Teva Ivri’s mission for this season is as follows:  Rejoice.  Be grateful.  Turn the harvest into useful products that will sustain us for another year.  Prepare the ground for another season of growing.  And, last but not least, pray for rain – blessing – to transform the incubating seeds into fruit.

Thank you for helping Teva Ivri to prepare the ground for the past year of inspiration, growth, and rewarding work.  Please see the following list of the “fruits” of our labor and our “seeds” for the upcoming year. 

Blessings for all things good,

Einat Kramer

Director, Teva Ivri

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The Year that Was:

  • Teva Ivri became a recognized NGO.  The first part of the year was spent fine-tuning our vision and assembling our dedicated staff and advisory board.
  • Teva Ivri launched its one-of-a-kind website, www.tevaivri.org.il. It features a database of Jewish environmental source material, news, speakers’ bureau, and other resources to bring Jewish environmental awareness to the Israeli public.  We are constantly adding new material in both English and Hebrew.  Our newsletter, which is written by different educators and activists each month, reaches several thousand readers with articles and updates from the Jewish environmental field. 
  • Teva Ivri held its first annual Israeli Sustainability Conference at the Ein Yael Living Museum in Jerusalem.  Over 150 participants – environmental professionals, government officials, community leaders, educators, and laypeople – explored ways to incorporate Judaism and the environment into the educational system, tourist industry, and local communities.  Photographs of the event can be viewed here.
  • Teva Ivri’s first Course for Informal Educators was a resounding success.  It covered topics such as consumer culture, Jewish environmental education, Zionism and the environment, and more.  Twenty five men and women from across Israel and from all denominations participated, and the majority of them will be engaged in environmental education during the upcoming year.  View photographs of the course here.  View photos from the field experience (Sustainability in the Countryside) here.
  • Teva Ivri created a unique program for the Efrata Teacher’s College in Jerusalem.  Over 250 young teachers-in-training learned how values of environmental responsibility are reflected in Jewish thought and practice.  Through workshops such “Turning Garbage into Gold – Compost Basics” and “Choosing Life – Making Non-Toxic Cleaning Products,” they acquired practical tools for creating change in schools.  Through lectures and study groups on various topics, they explored ways to incorporate principles of sustainability into their teaching.

The Year to Come:

  • Teva Ivri has initiated “Shabbat Noach” as an annual "Sustainability Shabbat" in Israel, Cheshvan 5-6, October 23-24.  Teva Ivri joins Jewish leaders around the world in the observance of Shabbat Noach as a time to raise awareness about environmental challenges and to inspire effective change in Jewish communities.  We have encouraged educators and leaders from all points on the Jewish spectrum in Israel to plan Shabbat Noach programs that encourage the preservation of the web of life, G-d’s Creation.  We hope that the opportunity to work together as one nation to build a better world will generate new conversations between Jews from different streams, and that it will lead to a unified Jewish response to global climate change in anticipation of the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen.  Our activities here in Israel will parallel the "Global Climate Healing Shabbat" called for by Jewish leaders abroad, as well as other global warming-related events planned for 10/24 as part of the international "350" initiative.  A central event is planned for Jerusalem on October 23 at the Jerusalem Nature Museum in the German Colony; it will include lectures, urban nature tours, workshops, information booths, activities for families, and music.  View a schedule of events here.
  • Teva Ivri plans to pilot several Community and Rabbinic Leadership Courses in the coming year, in partnership with Beit Midrash Halichot Olam, Beit Midrash Elul, and SPNI.  The courses will cover topics of environmental and social justice from a place of connection to Jewish tradition and will include practical tools for environmental change in the community as well as traditional Beit Midrash learning.
  • Teva Ivri is working with Makor Rishon to create a double page “Sustainable Shabbat” insert which will be added monthly to the newspaper’s Shabbat edition.  The insert will contain informative articles, reports on events and activities, philosophical essays, and more, covering topics relevant to Jewish environmental responsibility.  It will also promote the writing and activities of Jewish environmentalists in Israel and abroad.
  • During the upcoming academic year, the Amit school network will run a national program called “Connections.”  The program, written by Teva Ivri staff, establishes in each Amit school a team comprised of student leaders, support teachers, and members of the student council to promote social-environmental projects.