Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Rabbi Min on Shmirat haAdamah

Guard the Earth - Basic Jewish Value #2:  The mission statement of Jewish Family Service of New Mexico reads: “Guided by Jewish values, we offer targeted social services that help preserve and improve the quality of life for New Mexicans.” What are these Jewish values? How do they help guide the day-to-day work that we do at JFS? When new employees join the staff of JFS, they are introduced to eighteen of these basic Jewish values.

This refers to the idea that we all have the responsibility to take care of the earth and all within it; it's the ultimate ecological message, recognizing the deep interrelationship among plants and animals, soil and air, people and mountains.

The impact of industrial activity in one part of the world on the agricultural productivity in another part of the world demonstrates how each of us is connected, whether directly or indirectly.

In Jewish tradition, all things are on loan to us, for safekeeping, for nurturing, and for improving the world into which we were born.

For the staff, partners and donors who sustain Jewish Family Service of New Mexico, this implies a commitment to sharing the bounty with which we've been blessed-- economic resources, expertise or energetic commitment (or, in many cases, all of the above!).

Sharing food, providing transportation, volunteering, giving hope, extending quality of life, improving social opportunities, and helping sustain some of these activities through generous contributions are all specific examples of acting in accordance with this value.

When we appreciate all we have, and act to share that bounty, we are choosing to be responsible guardians of this amazing world in which we are blessed to live.

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