…there are precedents in Jewish law for environmental regulation. The most polluting industry in the time of the Talmud, for example, was that of leather tanning, which creates what we now call air pollution and water pollution, both of which were known even in Talmudic times to cause health problems. And, we find, the rabbis set forth all manner of regulations, regulating where tanneries can be sited and how damages are to be apportioned. Many Jews logically extend these ethical norms to other pollution-causing activities, be they individual (wasting energy, generating greenhouse gases) or collective. .. this is not novel; it is how halacha has progressed for centuries.
Con:Yeah, get a Prius, but Israel and Jewish survival trumps all
… the environment is a problem, but it is not a Jewish problem and therefore it does not belong on a Jewish agenda. Eco-Judaism and its ideational and organizational offshoots are irrelevant to the Jewish community. They are irrelevant because Jews in America are totally free to operate within other groups. Since even the Jews, as wealthy as they may be, have finite fiscal and human resources, it is unnecessary and unwise to create another “branch” of Judaism; and to establish, staff and fund – and add still another entity to – what the late Dr. Nahum Goldmann, president of the World Jewish Congress, used to call “our over-organized Jewish chaos.” Instead, since life is always a matter of priorities, Jews – as Jews – should turn their energies to areas that are existentially crucial to the Jewish people.
Jewschoolers – we ask you! Open thread…