AOP Earth-Based Judaism Track



ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal is excited to have launched the second cohort of our Earth-Based Judaism Certification Program through our virtual seminary. Meet the cohort here!

Earth-Based Judaism is a vital approach to Torah for our age, imbuing Judaism with a “Gaian consciousness” as Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi z”l taught us, to see ourselves as cells within the living body of the earth. We awaken an earth-based perspective to Judaism through a four-worlds approach that emphasizes integration of body, emotions, thought and spirit. Our approach fosters a relational way of being that brings ancient wisdom to bear on our modern world, learning oriented to Judaism’s earth-based traditions, and earth-based Jewish ceremony that awakens the spirit through the elements.


We are thrilled to announce the beginning of a public webinar series sponsored by ALEPH's Earth-Based Judaism program. These programs, led by ALEPH Earth-Based Judaism faculty, are open to the public! Come learn with us!


EBJ WEBINAR SERIES

 
Date: Thursday, April 22 
Time: 7:30-9 pm ET (4:30-6 pm PT) 
Cost: Suggested donation $10. Free of charge to EBJ Students. 
Led by: Rabbi Arthur Waskow 

Description: Reb Arthur’s newest book addresses the climate and extinction crises among other earthquakes of our time. He explores what Torah teaches about effective action to heal the broken relationship between adamah and adam, and the importance of an old/new way of understanding God in order to transform our relationship with Earth. 

The webinar will begin with a 15-minute unfolding of the theme by Reb Arthur, followed by breakout sessions for conversation in groups of two to four people, followed by general conversation with the whole class. 

Participants are encouraged to purchase a copy of Rabbi Arthur’s book prior to the session. “Dancing in God’s Earthquake” can be purchased by sending a check for $32 (includes tax and shipping, price applies to those in the U.S) to the Shalom Center at 6711 Lincoln Drive, Philadelphia, PA, 19119 with “Dancing” in the memo line. Books purchased directly from the Shalom Center will be personally inscribed. 

Rabbi Arthur’s book can also be purchased from Orbis Books, or from any online vendor.  

Rabbi Arthur Waskow is the author of 27 books, including “Seasons of Our Joy,” “Torah of the Earth,” & “Down-to-Earth Judaism,” in addition to “Dancing in God’s Earthquake.”


GOALS OF THE EARTH-BASED JUDAISM PROGRAM

  1. Learn Jewish tradition through an organic, relational perspective in order to inspire deep connection to all life on earth and action in today’s ecological crisis.
  2. Enliven Torah and ritual with ancient approaches that are rooted in deep ecology, feminism, and a relationship with the elements.
  3. Activate our human nature through nature connection and our relationship to cyclical time, seasonal festivals & human life cycle rites.
  4. Inspire ecological Tikkun Olam, and gain tools to become active in the work to protect our beautiful world.

PROGRAM STRUCTURE AND COST

The earth-based track is completed over a three year period. Please stay tuned for more information about how to apply to the second cohort of the EBJ program. 

  • 6 semester length ALEPH courses (fulfilling AOP course areas)
  • 3 four-day retreats in late summer or fall
  • Monthly cohort community building Zoom sessions with faculty
  • Optional mentoring or spiritual direction sessions with EBJ faculty
  • Occasional webinars and classes with faculty and guest teachers
Tuition for the Earth-Based Judaism Certification costs $3,475 per year. This sum includes a 3% obligatory T’rumah (offering) to support the AOP student scholarship fund. Tuition includes two EBJ courses and one retreat per year. This tuition structure is highly subsidized by ALEPH and grants from the Lasko Family Foundation and the Jews of Color Initiative. Thanks to a grant from the Jews of Color Initiative, we have up to five (5) spots available that would reduce the program fee to $1175 for Jews of Color. In addition, Jews of Color will be provided with a spiritual director at no cost.  A limited amount of other scholarship funds are available.
                                               
                                            Required Coursework (*also fulfills AOP credit in course areas) 

To successfully complete the EBJ Certificate, one must complete 6 courses in earth-based approaches to Tanakh, Rabbinic Texts, History, Mysticism (2 semesters) and Thought. One equivalent course may be substituted by approval of core faculty.  

The titles and instructors are subject to change. For detailed course descriptions,  please see this document. 

Currently these are course being offered:
 1. Leviticus: Pathways to an Earth-Based Perspective on Tanakh (*Tanach) Rabbi Natan Margalit 
 2. Sefer Yetzira: Renewing Creation (*Mysticism) Rabbi Jill Hammer 
3. Kabbalah and Ecology (*Mysticism) Rabbi David Seidenberg 
4. Modern and Jewish Eco-Theology (*Thought) instructor TBA 
5. Jewish Earth-Based History: From Goddess Worship to JOFEE Movement (*History) Rabbi Zelig Golden 
6. Organic Torah of Rabbinic Texts: (*Rabbinic) Rabbi Natan Margalit 

To learn more about which courses will be offered over the coming semesters, please see the Earth-Based Judaism Course Grid.

WHO SHOULD APPLY

This certificate program is offered at a rabbinic school academic level, and open to anyone who aims to teach and lead earth-based Jewish approaches, including ALEPH ordination program students, ordination students from other seminaries, Jewish clergy as well as non-clergy educators, leaders and activists.

In considering applicants for admission to the EBJ program we will take into account criteria including: 

 1. Potential for becoming or growing into your role as a leader, teacher, or advocate for an earth-based approach to Judaism. 
 2. Ability and preparedness to study in classes together with rabbinical students. 
 3. Contribution to a balanced and diverse cohort of students 
 4. Comfort with learning in nature, learning on a spiritual as well as intellectual level, and in learning together with a group.

FACULTY

Rabbi Dr. Tirzah Firestone is an author, Jungian psychotherapist, and Rabbi Emerita of Congregation Nevei Kodesh in Boulder, Colorado. She received her smicha from Reb Zalman z”l in 1992, and was instrumental in bringing our beloved Rebbe to Colorado for the last 20 years of his life. She is widely known for her groundbreaking work in Kabbalah, Depth Psychology, and the re-integration of the feminine principle in Judaism.

Rabbi Zelig Golden is the Executive Director of Wilderness Torah. He received rabbinic ordination from ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal, supported by the Wexner Graduate Fellowship, and was previously ordained Maggid by Rabbi Zalman Schacter-Shalomi z”l. Rabbi Zelig holds a Masters in Jewish Studies from the Graduate Theological Union. He previously worked as an environmental lawyer protecting food and farms and has long guided groups into the wilderness. Zelig lives in Occidental, CA, with his wife, Rachel, and his kids, Emma and Ilana.

Rabbi Jill Hammer, Ph.D., is the co-founder of the Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute and the Director of Spiritual Education at the Academy for Jewish Religion. She is the author of essays, poems, rituals and stories, and of seven books including Sisters at Sinai: New Tales of Biblical Women, The Jewish Book of Days: A Companion for All Seasons, The Omer Calendar of Biblical Women, The Hebrew Priestess (with Taya Shere), Siddur haKohanot: A Hebrew Priestess Prayerbook (with Taya Shere) and The Book of Earth and Other Mysteries. She lives in Manhattan with her wife and daughter.

Rabbi Natan Margalit, Ph.D was raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. He received rabbinic ordination at The Jerusalem Seminary in 1990 and a Ph.D. in Talmud from U.C. Berkeley in 2001. He has taught at Bard College, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College. Rabbi Natan is Founder of Organic Torah, a non-profit which fosters holistic thinking about Judaism, environment and society. Natan is a member of the Va’ad (steering committee and core faculty) of the ALEPH Ordination Program. He lives in Newton, MA, with his wife, Ilana, and their two sons.

Rabbi David Seidenberg is the creator of neohasid.org and the author of Kabbalah and Ecology: God's Image in the More-Than-Human World. One of the foremost scholars in the world on Jewish ecotheology, David teaches on ecology, animal rights, the Torah of dance, astronomy, and Chasidic song, and leads rituals adapted from the "work that reconnects" and the ecospirituality movement. David has smicha from both the Jewish Theological Seminary and from Reb Zalman. 

Please direct any questions about the Earth-Based Judaism application process to Jake Sapon at jake@aleph.org. For questions about program content and structure, please email Rabbi Natan Margalit at nmargalit@aleph-ordination.org.

The Earth-Based Judaism Certification Program is made possible thanks to  grants from the Lasko Family Foundation and the Jews of Color Initiative.