FW: Religion Today. The “Mosque” near Ground Zero: Thinking it Through

Response to an inquiry regarding Green Mosques and Synagogues:


Many synagogues are worried about the environment and similar issues, and many Jewish communities include environmental issues in their ritual calendar by discussing the divine imperative about not destroying trees (and by extension, wasting any resource), especialy when the relevant passage is read in the synagogue, and by an environmental approach incorporated in “seders” for 15th of Shevat (“Tu Bishevat”), a date about halfway between Winter Solstice and Spring equinox (late January, early February) that was used to mark the beginning of the year for certain types of agricultural purposes and temple offerings related to trees.


COEJL would be the place to look for Synagogues going Green



Here is an initiative from Baltimore:



If you are interested in the spadework, you can probably get Google or another computer search enginge to search synagogue bulletins for more “greening” info, or contact these and similar organizations.


I’ve heard about a number of Muslim organizations that are green oriented. I had not heard about “Green Ramadan” before looking into this: it is mentioned in a news release from January of this year at http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?c=Article_C&cid=1262372189305&pagename=Zone-English-News/NWELayout

This article delineates efforts in the Washington DC area and in Illinois.


The “Green Ramadan” idea ought to resonate well among those who are favorably disposed, seeing the role of green as an Islamic color. Of course those who are not favorably disposed could easily reject this as being unfavorable to Islam… Reading through the articles that come up from a Google Search, I found both Islamic groups that encourage it, and say Islam has taught it all along, and those who think it is counter to Islam or an attempt to impose Western ideals. It is true that to the extent that Google can mark what is most popular, the anti-environmentalist position came up at the top—in the context though of comments made by Syed Hussein Nasr, as reported in Cross Currents, that I would characterize on the whole as emphasizing human stewardship rather than dominance (to use religious terminology sometimes used in religious discussions that reflect Genesis).



Shared work on environmental issues are among the goals of a movement to “twin” mosques and synagogues. I see a lot of reports about such cooperation, but have tried to determine the degree to which there is real cooperation or just talk of cooperation.


What I cannot do is estimate the relative importance of the Green movement in the context of all the other issues facing the various Jewish and Islamic communities of the US today, the extent to which environmental issues are actually being addressed within either community, or the actual extent of cooperation between Muslim and Jewish communities resulting from environmental issues.


I have written a paper about Tu Bishevat which talks a little about environmentalism. In the process of editing and reediting it, I suspect that I do not have a really good copy of any version of the paper to share with you but I would be happy to discuss my findings if you are interested.


Please do not hesitate to contact me for any further info.


Seth Ward 





From: Paul V.M. Flesher
Sent: Monday, July 12, 2010 5:33 PM
To: Seth Ward
Subject: FW: Religion Today. The “Mosque” near Ground Zero: Thinking it Through

Dear Seth,
Do you know of any synagogues or mosques that are “going green”?

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