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Best. Year. Ever. (And How You Can Make Next Year Even Better!)

By David Krantz


NEW YORK (Dec. 25, 2014) — Growing up in the rural and largely gentile Pinelands of New Jersey, I was, to quote Adam Sandler, the only kid in town without a Christmas tree. And I didn't like Chinese food, the staple for Jews on Christmas, until I was older. But today, I enjoy how everything shuts down on Christmas like a Christian version of Shabbat. It gives me the time on a business day to reflect on the past secular year and look forward to the next one.

As an environmentalist, looking back often involves reflecting on frustration and loss. But this has been a year of tremendous growth and success for us. For starters, after years of campaigning and organizing, our work led to the rejection of hydrofracking in Israel's Elah Valley, where our tradition holds that David fought Goliath. In a modern-day version of that epic battle, our small grassroots organization formed a coalition and took on a multi-billion-dollar multinational oil company. And in defeating the Goliath of Big Oil, we not only helped Israel choose against investing even more in fossil fuels, but, perhaps more importantly, we protected the aquifer used by both Israelis and Palestinians for fresh, clean drinking water from being poisoned.

We also were part of a similar victory here in New York. For years we have worked with Jews Against Hydrofracking and Food and Water Watch to encourage New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to ban fracking in the state. Last week he did, protecting the drinking water for millions of New Yorkers.

We long have recognized our responsibility not just to Israel, and to each other as Jews, but to our neighbors, to the community of nations. That's why last year we joined with partners to file a friend-of-the-court brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in a case arguing that the government was in violation of the public-trust doctrine. In essence, the case was charging that the U.S. government has failed to protect our natural resources -- air, water and land -- that the generations of tomorrow will inherit from the generations of today. This year we followed up by joining again with our partners in filing a writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court. And although the court declined to accept the case, we will continue to work through the courts with our partners for an environmentally sustainable future for all.

This also has been a year of new projects for us. We entered this secular year as the Green Zionist Alliance; now that name for our Israel-focused work is just one of three projects we're running, under the umbrella name Aytzim: Ecological Judaism. This summer we adopted Jewcology and we are in the processing of improving both the aesthetics and the functionality of the site so it's better than ever. And this autumn, in partnership with GreenFaith, we launched Shomrei Breishit: Rabbis and Cantors for the Earth. Already, more than 120 Jewish clergy have joined and more than 100 have pledged to go carbon neutral in the next two years.

Everything we've done this year has been because of you. Thank you! Your support has enabled us, empowered us and inspired us. And we're just getting started. But our effectiveness is tied to your continued support. Please consider one more Chanukah gift and make a generous tax-deductible end-of-year donation to Aytzim.

This past year has been awesome. Join Aytzim and you have the opportunity to help make this coming year even better.


David Krantz is the president and chairperson of the Aytzim: Ecological Judaism.




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Did You Know?

Israel is the only country in the world to enter the 21st century with more trees than it had 100 years prior.

Mideast Green News

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