Friday, February 2, 2007

Shabbat Ideas - February 2, 2007

As Joe Bidden removes his foot from his mouth, Sunday promises a boring game and Jews begin to see the light on Iraq, here are my Shabbat thoughts for February 2, 2007.

It is about time!
I am not a Jew I just play one on TV
Yo Yenta and Football

As a child I wanted to be Itzhak Pearlman after one day of violin lessons. I have for the last few years tried many times to wear a beard. Yet after one lesson I was no virtuoso so I stopped liking the violin and it seems I always shave my face after a week of growth.

I have no patience.

Yet after years of working with Jewish groups I have found that there are some things for which I am willing to wait. After years of caring but not being able to find much footing, I am pleased to see lots of mainstream Jewish groups taking on environmentalism. We have the Reform Movement, JCPA, COEJL (well duh), the Conservative Movement and plethora of Israeli groups are working to address the needs of our environment.

In Genesis 1.29 -30 God says to Adam [and Eve], “Look, I have given you all the seed-bearing plants on the face of the earth …and to every land animal, and to every bird of the sky, and to all that creeps on the earth in which the breath of life, I give all green vegetation for food.” Kinda a big responsibility there. The text goes on in Chapter 2.15 and says that “God took the man, placing him in the Garden of Eden to work it and keep it.” I am no biblical scholar but to me the message is clear, we have a tacit and explicit responsibility for the earth.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am no veggy and I do like a hot shower. But the responsibility as Jews goes back to the first page of the first book of the fist days on earth. So why did I have to wait so long to see action from the mainstream?

I understand that most Jewish families will be taking their kinderlach to religious school in an SUV and will end up using plastic or paper plates for a get together with friends. But why not take a few extra kids in your Ford Emissions or at least don’t use multiple plates.

I understand that major changes in the community need to take time and can’t happen over-night, but really? How can you live with yourself when you are teaching a conformation class about the environment while eating your pizza off the Styrofoam? It might cost a few extra dollars a year but what is the message we are sending? I have just as much patience for this type of hypocrisy as I do for my full beard to take shape on my face.

So it seems I shall keep waiting for the main stream to take on this responsibility in action as well as intentions. At least I have Itzhak Pearlman to listen to while I wait.

We celebrate Tu Bi’Shvat this weekend. Let us celebrate our trees and take some time to remember, that even if we live in cities green is to be honored and “kept.” And let me remember as we celebrate the trees that I must continue to wait and work with this community, because like the earth it is the only Jewish community we have.

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sema’ach

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