CAJE 33

The Conference on Alternatives in Jewish Education

Jewish Identity = Ecological Identity

Posted by shomreiadamah on August 15, 2008

Dear CAJEniks,

On behalf of the whole Ecotrack, I want to say THANK YOU for helping us to bring our message that “Jewish identity=Ecological identity” to the wonderful world of Jewish educators. I’m attaching a link to the story that just came out in the Jewish Advocate in Boston–and we are so thrilled. And we heard that this summer 20% of CAJEniks were newcomers… and that many of these folks came just for the ecotrack. Truly, most of our 60+ sessions were overflowing; many with 20 and 30 somethings.

(Read the Jewish Advocate article…)

This summer is the 20th anniversary of Shomrei Adamah, the first Jewish environmental organization. In the early days, it was very hard to convince Jews of the importance of the work of ecology — that an ecological vision and practice is authentic to Judaism and can only be good for the Jews (and good for the world). For years, Shomrei Adamah was seen as somewhat fringe, outside of what is generally considered authentic Jewish thought and practice — certainly “alternative.” Likewise for many of the other Jewish environmental and farm and wilderness groups that have sprouted wildly in the past 5 years. Its been tricky for all of us to secure the funding that we need to thrive, expand and grow.

BUT NOW with the support and network of CAJE, we believe we can take a giant leap forward and really integrate ecological identity and practices into Jewish life. We believe we can both enhance Jewish life and perform great mitzvot for the world.

A couple of us are hoping to launch a new venture, inspired by the success we felt at the CAJE conference — I don’t want to jinx it, by spilling the beans before it’s time… but I hope to be back to you in September with something concrete.

In the meantime, we’d be happy to work with you in various capacities, from scholar-in-residencies to program development. Hazon, Teva, the Shalom Center (Green Menorah), Jewish Farm School, COEJL, Canfei Nesharim, Arava, JNF, Kaya Farms all have publications and materials that can help you and we’re hoping to have more material for next year’s CAJE. My website has a bunch of free downloads (in addition to books) that I invite you to explore: www.ellenbernstein.org.

Finally, I’m interested to know if you think that a CAJE track with “certification” as a CAJE Jewish ecoeducator would be a good idea?

Thanks again for your generous hospitality and strong support. I’m not much of a blogger (this is my first!) so feel free to email me directly if you want a quick response.

Shabbat Shalom,

Ellen

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5 Responses to “Jewish Identity = Ecological Identity”

  1. Yes, I think a CAJE Jewish ecoeducator certification would be a good thing.

    Please contact our program director, Randi Brokman for her thoughts.

    We are at Agudath Israel of West Essex, in Caldwell, NJ.

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