Jewish Environmental Ethics

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Powerpoint on Jewish Environmental Ethics

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Jewish Environmental Ethics

  1. 1. Jewish Environmental Ethics Describe and explain Jewish ethical teachings on environmental ethics
  2. 2. Introduction <ul><li>Jewish environmental ethics are </li></ul><ul><li>based primarily on the laws and </li></ul><ul><li>teachings that have been handed </li></ul><ul><li>down in the Torah and Tenak . </li></ul><ul><li>Religious truths bring knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>to the Jewish people that God is the </li></ul><ul><li>creator and as his created being, they </li></ul><ul><li>are responsible for stewardship of </li></ul><ul><li>God’s creation. Sharing in the caring </li></ul><ul><li>and nurturing of the earth that the </li></ul><ul><li>creator has given them has grounding </li></ul><ul><li>in the Torah which commands them </li></ul><ul><li>to abide by their covenantal </li></ul><ul><li>relationship with God to care for each </li></ul><ul><li>other and the earth. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Texts which Guide Jewish Environmental Ethics <ul><li>Jewish texts are very significant in their </li></ul><ul><li>understanding of what is ethical as the </li></ul><ul><li>writings are designed to guide them </li></ul><ul><li>through their lives in accordance with </li></ul><ul><li>God’s wishes. The Talmud is considered </li></ul><ul><li>the oral tradition of Jewish beliefs on </li></ul><ul><li>which many ethical views are founded as it </li></ul><ul><li>fills in the gaps and explains the laws of </li></ul><ul><li>the Torah . The two components of the oral </li></ul><ul><li>tradition are called the Halachah (living out </li></ul><ul><li>the Torah daily – ‘walking with God’) and </li></ul><ul><li>Aggada (inspiring people to God’s service </li></ul><ul><li>through stories, legends and wise sayings, </li></ul><ul><li>etc). Because of these to oral traditions </li></ul><ul><li>Jewish people learn how to incorporate </li></ul><ul><li>ethics into their daily lives and how to </li></ul><ul><li>inspire others. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Environmental ethics – the Basics <ul><li>Environmental ethics are very important to the Jewish </li></ul><ul><li>people as the duty of a good Jew is to love society and to respect the </li></ul><ul><li>world. Halachah helps them to do this. Therefore daily living must </li></ul><ul><li>embrace that covenant as an imperative of Jewish commitment. It also </li></ul><ul><li>entails a total respect and willingness to sustain and respect the earth </li></ul><ul><li>and its environment. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Bal Tashkit is a commandment for the Torah <ul><li>Bal Tashkit is a commandment of </li></ul><ul><li>the Torah which has its </li></ul><ul><li>foundations in Dueteronomy </li></ul><ul><li>20:19 – 20 and prohibits the </li></ul><ul><li>wanton destruction of crops. Bal </li></ul><ul><li>Tashkit has been extended to relate </li></ul><ul><li>to modern issues of excessive use of </li></ul><ul><li>resources, waste and wanton </li></ul><ul><li>destruction of the earth’s resources. </li></ul><ul><li>Maimonides also spoke out about </li></ul><ul><li>unnecessary waste and extreme </li></ul><ul><li>extravagance. In fact, the Jewish </li></ul><ul><li>tradition has always spoken out </li></ul><ul><li>against greed, human exploitation </li></ul><ul><li>and reckless use of resources. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Tikkun Olam – Repair of the World <ul><li>Jewish mysticism gives us the principle of </li></ul><ul><li>Tikkun Olam or ‘repair of the world’ from </li></ul><ul><li>the Kabalah . Therefore, Jews, by </li></ul><ul><li>performing the correct Mitzvot </li></ul><ul><li>(commandments) are each contributing to </li></ul><ul><li>the process. Modern Jewish thinking, such </li></ul><ul><li>as Manfredi , encourages conservation </li></ul><ul><li>within this framework and Jews are </li></ul><ul><li>recycling, conserving energy, and </li></ul><ul><li>collecting rainwater. The phrase “Tend </li></ul><ul><li>well to the earth, for there will be no one to </li></ul><ul><li>make it right after you” from the Midrash </li></ul><ul><li>( Tulmud ) shows how Tikkun Olam </li></ul><ul><li>together with Bal Tashkit brings the </li></ul><ul><li>fruition of B’tselem Adonai (ie. As Jews </li></ul><ul><li>are God’s creation, it is their job to fix up </li></ul><ul><li>the world and make it better) to </li></ul><ul><li>proactivism and stewardship. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Messianic themes in Environmental Ethics <ul><li>There are also many messianic themes in environmental ethics. Isaiah </li></ul><ul><li>11:1 – 9 and Joel 2:21 – 26 depict a healthy environment and the </li></ul><ul><li>harmony between humans and god’s creation. These Messianic texts </li></ul><ul><li>highlight a future time when humans will live according to the creator’s </li></ul><ul><li>will. It is thus essential that the preservation of a healthy environment </li></ul><ul><li>links to the messianic vision within the Torah . </li></ul>
  8. 8. Deforestation <ul><li>Deforestation is a major issue of </li></ul><ul><li>Jewish environmental ethics. It is their </li></ul><ul><li>duty to protect the earth as defined in </li></ul><ul><li>Genesis 2:15 which reminds them of </li></ul><ul><li>Their stewardship. Deuteronomy </li></ul><ul><li>20:19 – 20 has also been interpreted </li></ul><ul><li>to remind them of unnessesary </li></ul><ul><li>destruction of the Environment. In </li></ul><ul><li>Australia and overseas, Jews have </li></ul><ul><li>promoted tree planting ventures as </li></ul><ul><li>well as environmental projects in </li></ul><ul><li>schools. The B’nai Br’ith movement in </li></ul><ul><li>Australia was formed to raise </li></ul><ul><li>awareness and promote environmental </li></ul><ul><li>conservation as a commitment to </li></ul><ul><li>continuing Jewish stewardship here. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Air, Water and Soil Pollution <ul><li>Jews are also very concerned about the </li></ul><ul><li>environmental ethical issues surrounding </li></ul><ul><li>air, water and soil pollution. Today in </li></ul><ul><li>Australia we have very high levels of </li></ul><ul><li>pollution in the air and water and concrete </li></ul><ul><li>covers much of the ground in our cities. </li></ul><ul><li>Instead of forests and native bushland we </li></ul><ul><li>have erosion and salt pollution in the arid </li></ul><ul><li>or dry regions. This change is happening </li></ul><ul><li>even today at an ever increasing need for </li></ul><ul><li>energy, technology and resources. It also </li></ul><ul><li>means a rise in the production of waste </li></ul><ul><li>which causes the problem. Jews try to </li></ul><ul><li>correct these issues as they conflict with </li></ul><ul><li>the Jewish principles of preservation of life </li></ul><ul><li>as most important and that all life is equal </li></ul><ul><li>and has intrinsic value. </li></ul>
  10. 10. By Rachel and Ashleigh!!!

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