Is religious environmentalism new-age, post-modern and, essentially, incompatible with traditional Judaism? Or is it, rather, retro, a return to Biblical ideals, a re-wedding of the earth on which we live and the religion we all strive to observe on that land? In this biweekly course, we will do a close reading of central texts within Rav Kook’s own introduction of his seminal work שבת הארץ/Shabbat Ha’aretz, the very translation of which title will be an early focus of our study! Rav Kook (Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, 1865-1935) was the first Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of the Jewish community of pre-state Palestine. He was a mystic, scholar and communal leader who had the temperament and interest in straddling the two modern Jewish communities growing in the land of Israel: the piously observant Jew and the new secular “Israeli.” His words continue to confound, illuminate and inspire us nearly 100 years after his death, and he has much to teach us about our relationship to this one, precious world that is our home.
The class is part of the Green Team initiative at Temple Beth Am Los Angeles. For more information go to https://www.tbala.org/get-involved/green-team. The class was conducted via Facebook and Zoom on November 4, 2021.