Jews tackle environmental concerns at Hillel workshop

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Smart will lead one of the workshops, which begin at 11:30 a.m., titled "Humanity's Role in the Cosmos."

Others include:

"Growing Communities," with Melanie Mintz, docent coordinator at U.C. Santa Cruz Farm and Garden and project coordinator for a homeless garden, who will explore using urban gardens to reconnect cities to the source of their food.

"Plowing the Fields of Halacha or Halachic Gardening," with Jewish history doctoral candidate Jonathan Schorsch, will examine Jewish law as it pertains to gardening.

"Eco-Zionism," with Aliza Kline, coordinator for Student Activists Program at Jewish National Fund, will ask the question "What do environmental justice issues, water conservation and recycling have to do with Judaism?"

"Into the Wilderness," with Rabbi Rona Shapiro, director of Berkeley Hillel, will address whether Judaism sees the natural world as a source of spiritual connection.

"The Journey of Ruth and Naomi," with Rachel Haverlock, author of "Women on the Biblical Road: Ruth, Naomi, and the Female Journey," will follow the footsteps of Ruth and her mother-in-law from Jordan to the fields of Bethlehem.

"Eco-Kashrut," with Jonathan Seidel, U.C. Santa Cruz teacher, will take a look at the parameters of the word "kosher."

"Mount Sinai to Zion: Spiritual Heights of Judaism," with Edwin Bernbaum, author of Sacred Mountains of the World," will speak on the role that sacred mountains have played in Jewish history and religion.

"Living a Sustainable Lifestyle," with city and regional planning authority Josh Langenthal will look at ways to make the environment more spiritually healthy.

"Art and Earth Healing," with Liza Silver, an artist and designer, will delve into herbal healing from ancient Jewish sources.

"Environment and Social Justice," with Henry Clark, executive director of West County Toxic Coalition, will discuss fighting corporate polluters.

Workshops on campus and community organizing and other topics will focus on taking action in the community after the event is over.

Cost for workshop without lunch is $8 for students, $10 for non-students; costs with kosher vegetarian lunch are $15 for students, $18 non-students. In addition to COEJL, sponsors include Northern California Hillel Council, Jewish National Fund and Center for Jewish Living and Learning, an agency of the Jewish Federation of the Greater East Bay. Berkeley Hillel is at the Reutlinger Center, 2736 Bancroft Way. For information, call (510) 845-7793, extension 23.