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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day, Happy Birthday Charles Mingus

Today is the 40th Anniversary of "Earth Day," and it seems like just yesterday we were sitting on the lawn of Hale Junior High in our embroidered blue jeans, tie-dyed T-shirts and long hair, strumming guitars and singing "They Paved Paradise and Put Up a Parking Lot" (Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi").

OK, so that particular scene was actually set in 1971 (the SECOND Annual Earth Day) - but still, the memory lingers. Is Planet Earth a better place, a cleaner place, a healthier place than it was 40 years ago? Opinions vary. On one hand, there are many instances in TaNaCH where HaShem seems to promise us that "The Earth is fixed and will not be moved" (we sing this multiple times during Kabbalat Shabbat) and in Genesis we are told to be caretakers of the Earth and to cause it to be subject to us and bring forth bounty.

On the other hand, that's no excuse for behaving irresponsibly with our Natural Resources and acting like they'll be there forever no matter what we do. A personal and subjective observation (by me, Lorelai)  is that it's almost always the most "religious" communities (Evangelical Christians and, very sadly, Haredi Jews) who seem to disregard common decency when it comes to trash (witness picnic areas after either of the aforementioned groups use a public park), use of plastic (which by the way was NOT created on the evening of the 6th Day and there's really no excuse for the amount of it used every Shabbos in Jerusalem in general and Mea Shearim in particular), and recycling (they generally don't).

On the other hand - there's great hope as well. The Eco-Activist Beit HaMidrash Program at Yeshiva Simchat Shlomo is thriving. Rabbi Shaul Judelman continues his work both in Israel and abroad raising Torah-based environmental consciousness. In the North of Israel, Moshe-Tov Krepps and Tzfat's "HaLevav" - the Center for Healthy Living continue regular programs and initiatives centered around practical consciousness of the Earth and hands-on outreach and education activities.

Everyone needs to do their part. Love your Mother Earth and she'll love you back. Rinse out that plastic cup and use it again!

It's also the birthday of jazz musician and human rights activist Charles Mingus. We'll hear Joni Mitchell's Mingus album later today ... but first ...

Today's Torah Schedule:
  • 1pm, 5:45pm - Rabbi Betzalel Phillip Edwards is back with a special and timely Tzibur Moment
  • 2pm - Rabbi Chaim Richman and Yitzchak Reuven's Temple Talk
  • 3pm, 6:45pm - Rabbi Chaim Richman's Parsha Shavua (Acharei-Mot-Kedoshim)
  • 4pm - Rabbi Chaim Richman's Series on the Garments of the High Priest continues with "The Meaning of the Stones" (NOT the Rolling Stones, the stones in the breastplate of the High Priest!)

Today's Music Schedule:
  • 8am - 1pm: Lorelai's Morning Dew for the Morning Jew Show features as many Earth and Ecologically-themed songs as she can find in addition to lots of California-themed songs, as California was and is the leader in Ecological Consciousness for the United States and the World (like it or not, it's true).
  • 1pm - 6pm: "Israeli Soul" Afternoon features new music from Seth Breitman, Shasha Rose, Oren Levi and "Earthbeat stylings" from In Lakesh. Seth Breitman and Oren Levi are artists featured on the Kabbalah Channel (Channel 66 in Israel) and we think you'll really like their music.
  • 6pm - The Blues Project - Projections 1966 - because singing the blues is like a preemptive strike against having the blues!
  • 7pm - Joni Mitchell's controversial (at least for Joni fans) Jazz Masterpiece "Mingus" in it's entirety.
Tonight after Joni - if you're very good and patient, Steve Levine will be back after 9pm for his weekly "Cookin' for Erev Shabbos" Show and there's no telling what will come out of Steve's kitchen tonight, we only know it will be both Kosher AND tasty!
"They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique
And a swinging hot spot
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
Till it's gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

They took all the trees
Put 'em in a tree museum
And they charged the people
A dollar and a half just to see 'em
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
Till it's gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

Hey farmer farmer
Put away the D.D.T. now
Give me spots on my apples
But leave me the birds and the bees
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
Till it's gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot..."

- Joni Mitchell "Big Yellow Taxi" 1970