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Eco Kosher Network


Abstract

Seeking to connect the Jewish idea of tikkun olam (repair of the world) with consumer practices, the Eco Kosher Network promotes socially and environmentally responsible lifestyle choices. Sponsored by the Santa Cruz Hillel Foundation, a Jewish nonprofit organization, the Eco Kosher Network works with other Jewish and secular organizations to foster an ethic of responsible consumerism. This ethic is based on Jewish kosher laws, which sanctify the practice of eating, and Jewish mitzvot (commandments) about maintaining the body through healthful eating (shmirat haguf); preventing waste (bal tashchit); and the humane treatment of animals (tzaar baalei chayyim). The Network also draws on Jewish labor practices to promote fair trade, just working conditions, and sustainable local economies. Through the development of its education and product labeling projects, the Network hopes to increase both supply and demand for products that are kosher, organic, fairly traded, GMO-free, and ecologically benign. Although still in the formative stage, the Eco Kosher Network seeks to reach out to Jewish schools, camps, Community Centers, campus organizations, and synagogues through presentations, workshops, and a variety of publications on organic agriculture, genetic engineering, consumption, and waste. The Network is also working with kosher, organic, Fair Trade, GMO-free, and eco-label certification agencies to define Eco Kashrut standards and create an Eco Kosher certification logo for products that meet its standards. Although it bases its ethic of responsible consumerism on Jewish kosher laws and mitzvot, the Eco Kosher Network promotes values that appeal to a wide variety of people, including Muslims, Seventh Day Adventists, vegetarians, and health-conscious individuals.

Religion

Judaism

Geographic Location

United States of America

Duration of Project

2000–Present

History

The Eco Kosher Network was started by Ramona Rubin, currently West Coast Director, in the spring of 2000 as a project of Santa Cruz Hillel. While the idea for the Eco Kosher Network originated in the Jewish Renewal Movement, the project focuses on the observance of halacha and aims to reach an observant audience. Although it is currently working on some joint projects with Santa Cruz COEJL, the Eco Kosher Network is still in the formative stage. In addition to establishing its programs and organizational structure, the Eco Kosher Network is presently creating an on-line database for people to submit, search, and comment upon consumer products that are kosher as well as environmentally and socially sound. The Network also intends to develop nutrition and health education programs based on Jewish religious and cultural values for students in Jewish schools.

Mission Statement

"The Eco Kosher Network promotes responsible consumerism by working to incorporate Jewish teachings about the human responsibility to honor and protect the physical world into daily life decisions and practices. It seeks to align consumer practices with spiritual values order to create a more balanced and sustainable global ecosystem."

Partner Organizations

Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL), Santa Cruz
EcoJew.com
The Green Restaurant Association
The United Farm Workers
The Organic Consumers Association

Long-Term Goals

None Listed

Bibliography

None Listed

Additional Research Resources

None Listed

Contact Information

Eco Kosher Network
Ramona M. Rubin, West Coast Director
Ph:       831.566.0926
Email: (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)