Are you a Jewish environmental activist looking to join a community of like-minded individuals?
Or maybe you’re a Jewish educator searching for classroom activities that highlight the Jewish attitude toward protecting the environment?
Either way, you’ll find resources by logging onto Jewcology.com. The web portal for the global Jewish environmental community was launched this week by 19 Jewish environmentalists living in New York, California, Israel and beyond.
To date, more than 50 Jewish organizations, including Jewish Farm School, Jewish Reconstructionist Federation and Teva Learning Center, have uploaded approximately 300 lesson plans, videos and other resources focused on the environment.
Users can browse Jewish environmental resources by Torah portion, holiday or other themes, as well as upload their own. They can also create and maintain their own blogs and search for other Jewish environmentalists.
The project got its start at the 2008 ROI Summit, an annual gathering of young Jewish leaders founded by Lynn Schusterman. After two years of planning, in May 2010, Jewcology received a $50,000 ROI Innovation Fund, also funded by The Schusterman Family Foundation.
The project is led by Evonne Marzouk, a 2009 Jewish Week “36 Under 36” and executive director of Canfei Nesharim, a “Torah-based” environmental group.
Jewcology aims to be “the go-to place for anything Jewish and environmental,” says Justin Korda, director of ROI. One of the site’s biggest draws is its “Idea Box” — a collection of “all the best resources the Jewish environmentalism field has to offer,” Marzouk says.
Such a project may not have gotten off the ground in other fields within the Jewish community, as organizations tend to act proprietarily when it comes to the content of their programming. However, the Jewish environmental world is a relatively collaborative place, says Marzouk. “And it’s ready to become more collaborative.”
The collaboration crosses not only continents, but also denominational lines. Marzouk’s organization, Canfei Nesharim, attracts mainly Orthodox Jews, while other environmental groups sharing resources — including Eden Village, a co-ed Jewish environmental overnight summer camp in Putnam County — reach a more pluralistic group of Jews. “Ultimately, this will help all of us grow,” says Vivian Lehrer, the New York-based program director of Eden Village Camp and a blogger on Jewcology.com.
Jewcology aims to be a global meeting point for the Jewish environmental movement and is partnering with On1Foot, the American Jewish World Service’s online database of Jewish texts pertaining to social justice, to create source sheets and discussion starters for environmental texts. It will also team up with local environmental organizations to organize leadership-training conferences for Jewish environmentalists.
The site aims to create a global community of activists who will push the issue of the environment to the forefront of the Jewish communal agenda.
“Jewish environmentalism is a growing movement — and Jewcology will be our garden, where we can work together to plant new ideas, nurture each other and share the fruits of our labor,” says David Krantz, president of the Green Zionist Alliance.