Back when we first launched our blog, we explored the possibility of individuals connecting to Judaism through non-traditional avenues, such as literature or music. Our recent survey on kashrut (along with the follow-up posts and comments) led us into a different train of thought. Everyone’s talking about a “green revolution” and “carbon footprints.” Can being passionate about the environment tie into having a strong Jewish identity?
A recent comment posted on the blog tuned us into Hazon, and the world of eco-Judaism. According to its mission statement, Hazon’s “vision is to create a healthier and more sustainable Jewish community – as a step towards a healthier and more sustainable world for all.” This is achieved partially through organizing outdoor educational events, such as a cross-country cycling trip, that allows like-minded Jews to meet, thus creating a new community in its own right. Our imagination of a Jewish community is generally constructed in terms of religious ritual and spiritual belief. Groups such as Hazon, however, create communities based on shared values: most notably, that of responsibility to humanity and toward the world God created.
Under the auspices of Hazon is The Jew and the Carrot, a blog dedicated to contemporary food issues and how they relate to Judaism. It’s a mix of essays (current events) and recipes (classics like homemade bagels as well as more contemporary cuisine). As mentioned in an earlier posting, “First Survey, First Thoughts,” keeping kosher did once mean eating fewer processed foods, making more food from scratch. In other words, having more awareness of where our food comes from. Our world has become so highly industrialized that there is very little knowledge as to where our food originates.
It’s a common misconception that kosher food is somehow of better quality or more natural. Recent events such as the Agriprocessors scandal have shown us that the Jewish community is not immune from the problems facing the food industry today.
While the intent of the laws of kashrut may not be environmental, the very nature of kashrut forces food into a central position in Judaism. That long-standing relationship is ripe for a re-examination.
Check these sites out and see what you think about this burgeoning Jewish movement.