PROGRAM: TU B'SHVAT - THE ENVIRONMENT AND THE JEWISH PERSPECTIVE
A program that is designed to introduce the students to the issues of environment. A good activity to start a discussion.
What you will need:
1. Create (by drawing or describing in words) the participants' image of "Gan Eden" (heaven) or an island upon which they would be happy living alone. Hang this picture or description on the wall.
2. Discuss the following points:
3. Discuss with the participants how the world would have looked 2000 years ago, compared to the way it looks today. Which "world" would they prefer and why? How was the world in better condition before, and what has caused it to change?
4. Divide the group into sub-groups and distribute copies of Appendix 5 - Jewish texts regarding "bal tashchit" (the prohibition against destroying or wasting).
(a) Discuss the following points regarding the Biblical texts (#1):
(b) Discuss the following points regarding the Talmud interpretations of the Biblical texts (#2).
(c) Discuss the following points regarding the Rabbinical interpretations (#3).
5. Reunite the group and discuss the sub-groups' answers to questions 5 - 7 Refer to Appendix 6 for a facilitator's aid in leading the discussion. Optional: complete the above table as a group (- see no. 4 above). Focus on the relevance of the texts to today's situation. For example, today we have products that are non-recyclable - how would "bal tashchit" relate to them?
6. Discuss ways to protect and heal the environment today. Below are some examples:
Use recycled paper; avoid disposable paper cups and plates; share a newspaper or magazine subscription with a friend; use e-mail rather than sending memos; set the default switch on your photocopier to double-sided, or attach a friendly reminder to the machine, conduct research online and at libraries rather than printing and ordering piles of written materials, use copier paper, paper towels, tissues and toilet paper with at least 50% post-consumer recycled content.
*why not Campaign in your campus (or wider community) over a particular environmental issue?
Also on the WUJS site:
The very basics on Tu B'Shvat - The New Year for Trees
Tu B'Shvat Activities
More Tu B'Shvat Resources
This year's dates for Tu B'Shvat can be found in the WUJS Year Mapper