Westchester Jewish Center

Tips for an Eco-Friendly Passover

Posted on March 27th, 2017
From Chicago Botanic Garden

With Passover less than a month away, it's time to start thinking sustainably about the holiday

Enriching Your Holidays

Each year more families “go green” by incorporating environmentally sound practices into their Passover celebration. Here at the Chicago Botanic Garden, we have some tips for making your holiday eco-friendly. We hope one of ways you’ll commemorate this season of renewal is to visit the Garden with your family, to see how the earth is gloriously rejuvenating itself within our 24 individual gardens and four natural areas.

Spring’s promise of renewal fits in with the Passover theme, as the story of Exodus tells how Jews were released from slavery and left Egypt, determined to renew themselves as a people. The Passover seder, centered around food and rich with symbols, is a special time for families to gather and remember by retelling the story in a traditional format (seder means “order”). But, as with so many other holidays, commercialism has encroached upon the sacred nature of Passover, which can also involve a fair amount of junk!

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For more great ideas, check out our Passover Resource Kit.


Is any meat today kosher?

Posted on March 20th, 2017
David Rosen for The Times of Israel    

When I served on the Cape Beth Din in South Africa, I had to join my colleagues in visiting the slaughterhouses and checking up on the shochtim. The kosher slaughterhouse in Cape Town was part of a general slaughterhouse complex enabling me to view the process of killing animals in both places. What I saw convinced me that while non-kosher slaughter was quicker and more “aesthetic” than kosher slaughter, it failed in its claim to be more compassionate in its methods.

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Science brings good old flavor back to tomatoes

Posted on March 13th, 2017
By ISRAEL21c Staff

Israeli researchers join international team mapping tomatoes’ chemistry and genetics to reintroduce taste traits lost over 50 years of breeding.

Supermarket tomatoes often look a lot better than they taste. That’s because modern commercial tomatoes have gradually lost their flavor as breeders tinker with their shelf life, firmness and disease resistance.

Now it seems that we can have our tomato and eat it, too.

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Purim and Vegetarianism

Posted on March 6th, 2017

There are many connections between vegetarianism and the Jewish festival of Purim:

1. According to the Talmud, Queen Esther, the heroine of the Purim story, was a vegetarian while she lived in the palace of King Achashverus. She was thus able to avoid violating the kosher dietary laws while keeping her Jewish identity secret.

2. During Purim it is a mitzvah to give "mat'not evyonim" (added charity to poor and hungry people). In contrast to these acts of sharing and compassion, animal-based diets involve the feeding of over 70 percent of the grain in the United States to animals, while an estimate 20 million people die of hunger and its effects annually.

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For more information about Purim, check out our Purim Resource Kit.

Could this new Sundance film be the next 'Blackfish'?

Posted on February 27th, 2017
by Benyamin Cohen for FromtheGrapevine 

'Trophy' will air on CNN to spotlight hunting and wildlife conservation in Africa.

From "An Inconvenient Truth" to "Blackfish," the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah has a reputation for introducing the public to important documentaries about our natural world. This year is no different.

The world premiere of "Trophy," took place on Friday, during the opening weekend of the festival. The documentary explores the intertwined issues of trophy hunting and conservation. The movie follows a handful of people – from breeders to anti-poaching activists.

The new film was co-directed by American filmmaker Christina Clusiau and Israeli documentarian Shaul Schwarz. "I think sometimes we believe that there's this utopian world in magical Africa that the animals just roam free and they live alone on these vast plains, but that's not the reality," said Clusiau. "This symbolism of what a trophy really is to different people I think is important. … One man's treasure is another man's trophy."