Brit Olam Environmental Justice Cohort: Jewish Texts and Values

Addressing Dangerous Climate Trends and Environmental Injustice Through Jewish Texts

Judaism is an earth-based tradition. Our origins as a Jewish people and the stories in the Hebrew Bible are inextricably connected with the natural world, especially the seasonal and lunar cycles and our relationship to the land. The earth’s beauty and power are celebrated in the Psalms, where mountains rejoice and trees clap their hands (Isaiah 55:12).

Our responsibility toward all species is regulated in Jewish law from the Bible through the Talmud and into modern Jewish philosophies and their applications in all streams of contemporary Judaism. For just one example, Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi is punished for his lack of compassion for a calf (Babylonian Talmud, Baba Metzia 85a).

This text study is meant to spark discussion of current climate and environmental realities and our obligations and opportunities to engage with these realities intellectually, spiritually and through action. Each text addresses an element of this effort and can be discussed on its own or alongside the others.

Download the text study here.