Portugal participates in Global Day of Jewish Learning
In 2010, Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, who is best known for the translated version of the Talmud that bears his name, established a now annual event: The Global Day of Jewish Learning. Since 2013, the small Bnei Anousim community in Belmonte, Portugal, led by Shavei Israel’s emissary Rabbi Elisha Salas, has participated.
This year’s event will focus on the environment with the topic “Under the Same Sky – The Earth is Full of Your Creations.”
“The earth is full of Your creations” comes from the Psalms (104:24) and is one of many references in Jewish texts to the beauty and vastness of the world and nature.
Jews participating in The Global Day of Jewish Learning will “explore nurturing and nourishment, ecology and the environment, cycles and seasons,” Rabbi Steinsaltz explains on his website, which includes curriculum materials in English, Spanish, Russian and Hebrew.
Rabbi Salas has divided the day into 30-minute sessions led by his students in the Portuguese town of Seixal. Among the topics to be covered and their presenters (links are to their Facebook pages):
- Green Torah wisdom – Rabbi Elisha Salas
- Healing: a natural practice? – Pedro Turner
- Planting for the future – André Tavares Mariano
- Loving the trees – Sonia Mota Faria
- The power of planting: appreciating seeds and saplings – Paulo Levy
- Ruler, steward, servant: humanity’s relationship with nature – De Souza Ildefonso.
- Shmita: a cycle of rest, release and ownership – Luis Morao
- A time for rain – Christophe Costa
2015’s topic for the Global Day of Jewish Learning was “Love,” while 2014 looked at Jewish “Heroes and Villains.”
“We speak about ‘humanity’ and ‘nature’ as if we exist in one way, and the rest of the world exists in a different way,” Rabbi Steinsaltz writes about 2016’s focus on the environment. But “this dichotomy between man and nature is neither simple nor accurate. Granted, nature without the presence of man would be very different; yet humanity, although unique and distinct, is still part of nature. Whether we define nature as the totality of existence or as the set of laws that govern it – we are included in it.”
The Global Day of Jewish Learning will take place this coming weekend, on Sunday November 20, 2016. You can read more about it – and how to participate in your own community, here.