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Barak Gale

A long-time Jewish environmentalist, Dr. Barak Gale worked with rabbinic institutions on environmental resolutions and with COEJL. Today he lives with his partner Joe in the Cascade Mountains of Washington, runs a small B&B, and continues to practice a little optometry at a low income clinic in the basement of a local Baptist Church. He currently serves as Board President of Washington Wilderness Coalition, and on the Steering Committee of WA Interfaith Power & Light.

📖 סֵדֶר ט״וּ בִּשְׁבָט | The Trees are Davvening, a Tu Bishvat Seder Haggadah by Barak Gale and Ami Goodman with excerpts from the P’ri Ets Hadar (1991 abridged)

Contributed on: 19 Jan 2011 by Barak Gale | Ami Goodman |

Tu biShvat, the 15th of the month of Shevat, was designated by the Talmud as the New Year for the Trees. It was tax time for HaShem, a time of tithing for the poor. This tithing has its origin in the following Torah verse: “Every year, you shall set aside a tenth part of the yield, so that you may learn to revere your God forever.” The Kabbalists of 17th century Safed developed the model of tikkun olam that we embrace today — healing the world by gathering the scattered holy sparks. To encourage the Divine flow — shefa — and to effect Tikkun Olam, the Kabbalists of Safed (16th century) created a Tu biShvat seder loosely modeled after the Passover seder. In recent decades we have learned how the well being of trees is intimately connected to the well being of all creation. This relationship is clearly stated in the following Midrash: “If not for the trees, human life could not exist.” (Midrsh Sifre to Deut. 20:19) Today the stakes of environmental stewardship have become very high. Tu biShvat calls upon us to cry out against the enormity of destruction and degradation being inflicted upon God’s world. This degradation includes global warming, massive deforestation, the extinction of species, poisonous deposits of toxic chemicals and nuclear wastes, and exponential population growth. We are also deeply concerned that the poor suffer disproportionately from environmental degradation. Rabbi Abraham Heschel wrote: “[Human beings have] indeed become primarily tool-making animal[s], and the world is now a gigantic tool box for the satisfaction of [their] needs…” . . .

📖 סֵדֶר ט״וּ בִּשְׁבָט | The Trees are Davvening: A Tu biShvat Seder Haggadah Celebrating our Kinship with the Trees and the Earth, by Barak Gale & Ami Goodman (1991, unabridged)

Contributed on: 18 Jan 2011 by Barak Gale | Ami Goodman |

The unabridged edition of the Tu biShvat seder haggadah, The Trees are Davvening. . . .