What if the central purpose of the Torah is to ensure was to ensure that people live in harmony with the environment and other living things? That is exactly what Rabbi David Seidenberg teaches, and he believes that Jews have strayed from the Torah’s message for thousands of years. Seidenberg also believes Jews can return to the Torah’s teaching and play a key role in combating climate change – before it is too late.
Seidenberg spoke with podcast host Bryan Schwartzman live from B’Yachad: Reconstructing Judaism together, the movement-wide convention, in late March in Northern Virginia. This is the first Evolve podcast episode in front of a live audience. We took questions from the audience, had some sound interference from the next room but, through technical marvel, managed to record a crisp episode. And we delved deeply into Judaism and the environment, addressing questions like: does the Torah view animals as people? Is there any way to summon optimism regarding the state of a natural world confronting climate change caused by humans? Have humans always wrecked the environment and are we capable of change?
Theme song, “Ilu Finu” by Rabbi Miriam Margles. Her album This is the Day is available for purchase at CDBaby: https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/miriammarglesandthehadarensemb
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This podcast is produced by Reconstructing Judaism. Visit us at ReconstructingJudaism.org.Support Evolve
- Read the Evolve essay, "Renewing the Face of the Earth: Addressing Global Climate Disruption Through Torah"
- Purchase Rabbi David Seidenberg's book, "Kabbalah and Ecology: God's Image in the More-Than-Human World"
- Neohasid.org, Rabbi Seidenberg's website
- Mentioned in the interview: 16th Century Kabbalist Moses ben Jacob Cordovero
- Also mentioned: The New Yorker article, "The Elephant in the Courtroom"
- Our most frequently linked book, "Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind" by Yuval Harari