0918_Kiddish_PennWOW! IT’S ALREADY Rosh Hashana. Another start to a fresh new year. Really? How can it be? It’s still so hot. In fact, it continues to feel like summer. Don’t the High Holidays normally come in the Fall?

In Bereishit, Genesis, The Torah tells us that, “The Lord took man and put him in the Garden of Eden, to tend and guard it.” We need to pay attention to this very early charge. We have to take care of our environment. It is up to us to ensure that we don’t wreak too much havoc on this planet, that we ensure it’s sustainability. We should “tend” the earth, not harm it. People need to take care not to destroy and abuse the natural resources, not to pollute and devastate the environment. Since we are here to “tend and guard” the world, we should leave it intact for future generations.

There is a contemporary Jewish concept – that of “Shomrei Adamah”
(Guardians of the Earth.) It refers to our responsibility to pay attention to the environment. What a wonderful new year’s resolution this would make. Can you imagine the world, if everyone cared about the future of our planet? If we, as parents, grandparents, teachers, and trusted adults, modeled environmental responsibility. Our younger generations would grow up, learning by example to incorporate it into their lives. This slight change would ensure that future generations have access to the beauty, splendor and wonderous gifts that the earth has to offer. After all, as it says in Kohelet (Ecclesiastes), “One generation goes and another comes; but the earth remains forever.”

Sue Penn, the Director of Congregational Learning at University Synagogue, is known for being an innovative and creative educator. Sue sits on the Board of Directors for JFFSOC and Someone Cares Soup Kitchen. Sue is committed to providing opportunities which allow every individual to learn and engage in community.

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