Week Five, Day 5
Hod of Hod
Today is the strange, poorly understood festival we call Lag Ba’Omer (Day 33 of the Omer). Today, all around Israel, people go outdoors, run around have fun and light bonfires. Thousands of these beautiful fires are lit, dotting the entire map with dancing light. (Last year I flew on Lag Ba’Omer, it was one of the most amazing flights I have ever taken.) The only problem is that Israel is known as the land of millk and honey, not firewood. So, scavenging kids, and adults, go looking for anything at all that will burn. Construction pallates disappear, trees are uprooted, furniture destroyed, and all of that destruction goes up into the air. For an entire day, the country is covered in disgusting smog. It is difficult to breath, and there isa massive spike in emergency room asthma visits. The released carbon dioxide and toxic chemicals from burnt plastics spread all over the country, and settle down back all across the entire region. A Knesset committee decided to act, yesterday. So, it’s too late to help out this year, but maybe in the future we can see a more moderate celebration.
Meanwhile, let’s give a little hat tip to some organizations that are working hard to keep outdoor revelry possible.

  • Green Prophet This is the English language environmental blog. Started by a couple of people to write up the news, this has become a popular and active blog which keeps you up to date on everything environmental in Israel. Whether you’re looking for a good hike, info on the most recent shonda, or looking to help out, stop by here.
  • Adam Teva V’Din Check them out for some hard-core activism in Israel. These people are out for change, and they are going to make it happen.
  • Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel The granddaddy of environmentalism in Israel. Around since 1953, these people can pull strings. From large boycotts, to building trails and nature reserves, SPNI is where it is at.
  • Green Zionist Alliance One year ago, Noam Dolgin left his job as director of Teva to move back to Vancouver and start this upstart zionist organization. Believing that an important way to support Israel is to support its environment, the GZA is dedicated to mobilizing and educating diaspora Jews to what’s going on in Israel’s land, sea and air.