The Course

Originally developed for the Guides Track Leadership Training Program, the TorahTrek Course offers students an in-depth introduction to eco-Judaism and Jewish Wilderness Spirituality.  Rabbi Dr. Natan Margalit teaches "eco-Torah," covering the basic concepts and texts that Jewish environmental educators and those concerned with Judaism and ecology need to know. Rabbi Comins presents an eclectic range of subjects - drawing on traditional jewish texts, Judaica scholarship, contemporary philosophy and nature writing - to ground the spiritual practice of Judaism in nature.  While the Course is in development, the working syllabus is found below.

The Course will be presented through weekly on-demand video presentations and readings through the TorahTrek website.  Students process the material and interact with the teachers and fellow students on a conversation page similar to a Facebook Wall, and on bi-weekly conference calls.  The calls are recorded and available to students in case they cannot attend at the designated time.

The Course will begin after the Jewish Holidays in the Fall of 2013. If you would like to be notified when further information and registration become available, please fill in the below form. 

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Syllabus

Rabbi Dr. Natan Margalit

  • Genesis, Chapters 1, 2 and 3: The Doubleness of Humanity: Adam One and Adam Two; humans as creatures and as creator
  • Noah and the Covenant: Laws of nature or miracle?; bio-diversity
  • No Waste Bal Tashchit: Rain versus irrigation economies; the waste culture and the no-waste culture
  • The Bible as an Agrarian Book: Ellen Davis, Wendel Berry and the biblical argument for small farming
  • The Rabbis and the Organic Torah: How the rabbis took an indigenous world view and translated it into Diaspora
  • Kashrut and Eco-Kashrut: The ethical and ecological basis for kashrut
  • Mitzvah and the Tipping Point: How to make a difference Jewishly and ecologically; the way of Torah and the way of natural systems
  • The Holiness of Israel, the Holiness of the Earth
  • The New Science and Religion - Emergence and God: paradigm shift to re-approachment of science and religion

Rabbi Mike Comins

  • Biblical Theology: Nature in the Worldviews of J, P and D
  • Desert in the Torah; Torah in the Desert
  • Judaism as a Spiritual Practice: A Spiritual Dynamics Approach to God, Torah and Mitzvot
  • Putting Heart into Words: Cultivating one's Personal Prayer Voice
  • Blessings and Liturgical Prayer in Nature
  • Nature as Metaphor; Nature as Thou: The Place of Nature in Classic Western Theology and Different Approaches to Spiritual Practice in the Natural World
  • Finding God in Nature 1: Martin Buber's I and Thou
  • Finding God in Nature 2: Awe and Wonder in the Thought of Abraham Joshua Heschel
  • Finding God in Nature 3: Recovering and updating Biblical views on God and the world. (Lessons from Benjamin Sommer's The Bodies of God, Theodore Hiebert's The Yahwist's Landscape and Hames Kugel's The God of Old)
  • Creation and Evolution in the theology of Arthur Green
  • Bradley Artson and Jewish Process Theology
  • Robert Gordis and the Role of Nature in the Book of Job
  • The Spell of the Sensuous and Becoming Animal: the Jewish roots and sensibilities of eco-philosopher David Abram