Jewcology – no, it’s not the study of Jewish environmental practices. It’s a new Jewish environmental website that aims to connect activists and educators online to provide community, feedback and educational materials.

Launched about a month and a half ago, the site (www.jewcology.com) has been drawing registered members and bloggers at a good clip, Evonne Marzouk, executive director of Canfei Nesharim: Sustainable Living Inspired by Torah, told The Jerusalem Post this week by phone from Maryland.

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Marzouk and a group of other ROI Community alumni founded the site to help Jewish educators collaborate and share materials.

“The Jewish environmental movement is really growing, but it is still sometimes hard to collaborate or find materials online. So we thought there needed to be a common space to meet, share ideas and resources,” Marzouk said.

“The idea is to bring the Jewish environmental movement to the next level through enhanced collaboration and networking,” she added."



The site has been produced in partnership with the leaders of the Jewish environmental movement around the world, Marzouk said, “but one of the values of this site and this project is that some of the users are heavily involved in the movement and some are individual activists in their own communities.

“We need to be able to accommodate organized Jewish life as well as lone activists active in their community,” she said.

The site has three main components.

The first is a space for blogging. There have been 90 blog posts since the launch a month and a half ago, Marzouk said.

There are also community groups where people can come and discuss issues. Groups can be public or private depending on their needs.

The third feature is the Ideas Box, where people can upload materials. Four hundred and fifty resources have already been posted, according to Marzouk.

So far, 250 people have registered with a commitment to ongoing interaction, users from 45 different countries have visited and the site has recorded 3,000 unique hits, she said.

“I’m quite excited,” Marzouk said, “While there were prearranged bloggers from among the ROI alumni, I’m starting to see some interesting new people start posting.”

Marzouk said Jewcology has just launched a three-minute clip of words of wisdom from 25 Jewish environmentalists from Israel, Canada and the US.

“The idea is to show the diversity and the heartfelt commitment of the Jewish environmental community,” she said.

Baruch Rock, another of the founding ROI alumni, told the Post the site was meant for both educators sharing materials and “regular folk who want to learn more.”

Rock is one of the regular bloggers and is finishing rabbinic ordination at Ohr Torah Stone in Israel. He has a master’s degree in desert studies from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheba.

“According to the news, the world is heading towards a dismal end. There’s a shortage of good news out there. This site, though, is about appreciation and inspiration,” he told the Post.

Noga Zohar, executive director of Earth’s Promise in Beersheba, praised ROI for showing them the power of a network of people.

“Part of what we saw through ROI was a network of people and how they were coming together and doing wonderful things. So we thought, ‘Let’s connect all the people and see what we can do together.’ “Through the blogging, I can share the day to day. To talk about the little things, the dilemmas and the successes. It’s fun,” she said.

Zohar said people had already posted event listings and holiday- specific material.

“Before I use the materials I’m already familiar with, I can now check out a much broader range of materials,” she said.

Thursday is Tu Bishvat, the Jewish new year for the trees.

Jewish environmentalists have turned it into a Jewish ecological holiday to raise awareness.

Founded in Jerusalem in the summer of 2006 by American Jewish philanthropist Lynn Schusterman, ROI is a worldwide community of young Jewish leaders. It offers international gatherings, professional development and financial support to its 500-strong network of innovators and activists in more than 40 countries.

ROI provided a grant to help establish Jewcology.



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