Welcome to the new blog and website of Organic Torah. I’m very excited to start Organic Torah as a non-profit educational organization, but more importantly, as a gathering together of voices and visions for a new direction in Jewish life, our human communities and the planet. As you’ll read in the posts and material on the site, I’m setting forth an idea, one that I’ve been pondering for at least the last 30 years, of a different way of seeing ourselves in the world. It’s a way that feels more alive, more integrated and creative than the ways that I was taught I was supposed to see and think. I’ve followed the traces when I could find them, found teachers, modern and ancient, Jewish and not. I started working with this approach to Jewish texts in my 20s and more recently, in the last fifteen years I’ve been connecting with issues of the environment and the food movement. In the last couple of years the ideas have started to merge into a clear synthesis. Organic Torah is about the masektot, the weavings or patterns that make up our natural world and are embedded in Jewish life ways and texts. It is a way of seeing that brings things alive whether we’re looking at a mishnah, a synagogue community, a farm or at our own inner lives. It has many facets, and many languages for describing it but the simplest way I can say it is that when we look for how things fit together instead of how to take them apart, the world comes alive.
I hope that you’ll be excited and intrigued by what you find here. If you are, please subscribe to the blog, add your comments or observations. Tell about examples from your life or your profession. Argue or agree, but jump in. I want to create a conversation that will deepen and refine our thinking and form a community of learning and discovery. Please share this blog with your friends, colleagues, and communities. If you are interested in a workshop, teacher training, scholar in residence, classes or retreats for yourself or for your synagogue, school, Hillel or other organization please contact me. Monetary donations are welcome. We are a non-profit organization and most of our activities, from workshops to retreats to this website depend on the generosity of our supporters. If you are a student and want to gain some great experience with Jewish education, environmental education, research and activism, as well as a great item to build your resume, we are looking for an intern or two. Whether you share this blog with a friend, make a comment, make a donation large or small, invite me to speak in your community, or volunteer your time, all forms of participation and support add so much energy and life to Organic Torah. They all help build momentum to shift our world out of despair and toward hope, wonder and delight.
I will be writing a new post every week or two. Sometimes we’ll have guest bloggers. Some posts will be general Organic Torah, exploring ideas, connections to contemporary thinkers, events, areas of relevance. Some will be “Diving Deeper” posts which will explore Jewish texts in a little more depth, not out of the range of the general reader, but maybe a little slower going, a little more to chew on; some will be Community posts having to do either with events and activities of Organic Torah or announcements of important events in the community that I think will be of interest to readers of Organic Torah.
Welcome. Enjoy. Connect.—Many Blessings, Natan