About This Video
"The land you are about to enter and settle is unlike the land of Egypt you have left, in which one could sow seeds and irrigate by foot, like a vegetable garden. The land you are going to settle is a land of mountains and valleys, which absorbs water as rain from heaven."
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 11: 10–12
Water plays a central role in Jewish tradition, both literally and metaphorically. The ancient Israelite agricultural system was dependent on rains coming in their proper times and in proper amounts. And throughout our liturgy, we are presented with the idea that rain is a blessing that reflects our societal balance and harmony.
Today, water continues to play a crucial role in our agricultural systems. And while we have developed advanced irrigation methods, ultimately, we are dependent on clean water and rains coming in their proper times.
During the High Holy Days we take stock not only of our own lives, but also on the state of the natural resources on which our lives depend. When we consider water, it has been quite a year indeed. We have witnessed a frightening series of droughts, forest fires, floods, ice melts, heat waves, and other extreme weather events. On top of these natural phenomena, hydro-fracking has emerged as one of the most significant environmental issues of our time.
"A Prayer for Rain" Jewish Farm School's first video in the Feast Forward series, includes a diverse cross-section of people reading an adaptation ofT'filat HaGeshem and the themes of the poem are connected to contemporary issues related to clean water, sustainable agriculture and climate change.
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Feast Forward Kitchen
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Resources to Learn More
"For their sake, do not withhold water." (from T'filat HaGeshem)
By Kyle Rabin of the Grace Communications Foundation
Water is at the core of who we are. Our bodies are 60 percent water and water covers 70 percent of the globe, yet only .007 percent of the Earth’s water is accessible for our use. Water is our most precious resource, and it is facing increasing threats in a time of changing climate, when normal patterns have begun to shift to extremes of flood and drought. Indeed, for our sake, a shortage of water, whether through drought or poor management, is of grave concern.
We must all learn to balance our water, food and energy resources. Water, food and energy are interconnected in ways that may not be obvious. This presents large-scale challenges that require global changes, but there are many ways that we as individuals can lessen our impact by becoming aware of how our energy and food choices affect invaluable water resources.
FACT: It takes 660 gallons of water to make a single hamburger. By comparison, the average family of four directly uses 400 gallons of water in their home every day.
ACTION: Shrink your water footprint by reducing your overall meat consumption. Why not try a Meatless Monday to see how you do? In general, if you eat lower on the food chain, you’ll shrink your water and overall environmental footprint.
FACT: Power plants are responsible for 41 percent of all freshwater withdrawals from U.S. waters – more than the amount withdrawn for irrigation or for public drinking water. The plants use the water to cool high-pressure steam that turns turbines, producing electricity. Fish and other aquatic life are injured and killed when they get sucked into power plants’ cooling systems. In New York State, power plants withdraw up to 15 billion gallons per day and kill up to 17 billion fish every year. Plants within New York City alone can withdraw about 3.5 billion gallons per day and kill more than 3.5 billion fish per year.
ACTION: The way electricity is generated today requires a lot of water, and has a real impact on aquatic life. It’s just one more reason why conserving energy and making your home or workplace more energy efficient is a smart move: saving energy saves money and water (while protecting fish and other aquatic life).
FACT: Energy and water are intertwined: It takes a lot of water to create energy, and it takes a lot of energy to treat and move water.
ACTION: When you cut down on your water use, you’re also cutting down on energy use, and vice-versa! Consider raising the temperature of your air conditioning on hot days and lowering the heat on cold days, even if it’s just by a few degrees; keeping your showers shorter to use less hot water; and lowering “phantom” electricity use by plugging your gadgets into power strips that can be easily set to ‘off’ when you’re not using them.