NRDCSwitchboard Eiffel 1200Photo credit: Natural Resources Defense Council Staff Blog, Switchboard. Accessed December 13, 2015.


“Deep Ecology” as  2016 Program
Theme and Permanent Covenant 

As we conclude Chanukah, the Jewish Festival of Lights that honors re-dedicating the ancient Temple in Jerusalem, ALEPH and all humanity stand at an environmental crossroads. This weekend, 195 nations concluded the historic Paris Climate Agreement that, for the first time in human history, proposes to reduce global greenhouse emissions and evolve human economics beyond the Industrial Age.

Today and from now on, the entire planet must be our Temple.  Jewish mystical tradition holds that the ancient Temple in Jerusalem once represented a single place that our ancient forebears associated with holiness, but now we must find and make holiness everywhere.  So taught the Hasidic mystic Sfat Emet (1847-1905), and the Paris Climate Agreement proves that it is possible for our whole planet.

In that spirit, on this last day of Chanukah, the festival of light and dedication, ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal announces Deep Ecology as ALEPH’s program theme for 2016 and a permanent covenant of Jewish Renewal.  Deep Ecology is more than environmental protection: it views and feels the whole Earth as a living Temple and casts our Judaism as a servant of that living Temple.  Deep Ecology draws from the deep world wisdom that all true spiritual paths share this common commitment to co-spiritualizing all life.  Environmental protection becomes a natural and necessary result of this spiritual commitment.

Jewish Renewal pioneered eco-kashrut and an environmental halacha of tikkun olam (repairing the world).  Our pathfinders are setting the standard for Shmitta, Shabbat and Climate Change.  We stand at the balance of Kabbalah and Ecology.  Now we must bring these commitments forward.  In the year ahead, ALEPH will hold an environmentally conscientious Kallah (July 11-17 in Colorado) with carbon offsets, partner with allied Jewish environmental organizations, and deepen Jewish Renewal’s R&D (research and development) work of evolving Jewish life – both spiritual and practical – in ways that are living testaments to our living planet.

We look forward to working with you as we re-dedicate ourselves, and our organization, to a renewed Judaism that heals our planet.


Rabbi Rachel Barenblat

Rabbi David Evan Markus


Shoshanna R. Schechter-Shaffin, Executive DirectorALEPH Donate Now button