Rabbi Glazer Reviews Kabbalah and Ecology

Kabbalah&EcologyIt's Earth Day! What better time to highlight Rabbi Glazer's review of Rabbi David Seidenberg‘s book Kabbalah and Ecology: God’s Image In The More-Than-Human World (Cambridge University Press, 2015)? The book review was published in the March 2016 of the journal Theological Studies, but can read it in full by clicking here.

In the write-up, Rabbi Glazer suggests that Pope Francis’s 2015 Papal encyclical Laudato si’ (“On the Care for Our Common Home”), while a laudable "watershed," includes one "potential shortcoming." Pope Francis focuses on reassessing the relationship and differences between "dominion" and "stewardship," but Rabbi Glazer and Rabbi Seidenberg worry that casting humanity as Earth's stewards is too limiting an understanding of the human place in things. From the review's conclusion:

"Rabbi Seidenberg brings a bold eco-theology of the more-than-human world of nature that seeks to 'be directed toward the future,' one that must 'not only push us to evolve theology, but also to illuminate for us, in critical ways, the meaning of ancient texts and ideas, and the history of those ideas and texts.' While Laudato si’ should be captivating our theological attention, Rabbi Seidenberg’s theology contributes to the emergence of eco-theologies that reach beyond stewardship into a robust, devotional engagement with a more Gaian spiritual activism emerging from Jewish mystical sources."

USY Ocean Beach Cleanup

SFUSY 2015 Beach CleanupThis Veterans Day, CBS Youth Advisor David Herrera and eight SFUSY teens spent the school holiday morning collecting litter at Ocean Beach.

Good stewardship and citizenship are universal values, but our Jewish texts teach us to prioritize sh’mirat ha'teva, meaning protecting or taking care of the Earth.

According to Jewish tradition, a critical part of humankind’s purpose is to take care of the world in which we live. In B'reshit, the first chapter of Genesis, it is written that G-d created man to “have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” (Genesis 1:26)

"Dominion" can be interpreted in different ways, but most Jewish sages explain that along with the gift of human intelligence, which gives us the power to lord over all other species, comes the responsibility to preserve the Earth’s resources. In other words, we Jews are called upon to choose thoughtful stewardship over domination.

So, yeah, that's a rather formal way of saying, "Hooo yeah! Kol hakavod to David and the USY crew!"