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Posts Tagged ‘agriculture’

Polish AG Looking into Ritual Slaughter’s Constitutionality

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

Poland’s attorney general has asked the country’s Constitutional Court to investigate the constitutionality of ritual slaughter.

Andrzej Seremet said that he believes the minister of agriculture, who allowed an exemption to Polish law to accommodate ritual slaughter, violated the constitution.

Under Polish law, animals must be stunned before slaughter; the only exception is ritual slaughter. Islamic and Jewish law require that animals be conscious at the time of slaughter.

The Polish Ministry of Agriculture authorized the use of ritual slaughter several years ago, but animal rights activists say that a Polish animal protection law does not allow it. Earlier this month, activists who have been protesting ritual slaughter for the last several weeks asked the country’s prosecutor to investigate whether the ministry is violating the law by allowing ritual slaughter.

Animal rights activists believe that allowing ritual slaughter in Poland is illegal because it is not regulated by government act but by the authorization of the minister of agriculture.

The chief rabbi of Poland, Rabbi Michael Schudrich, told JTA that he has trust in the Polish legal system.

“We are convinced that the Constitutional Court shall consider the matter also in the context of the freedom of religion, particularly the right to maintain customs and traditions of national minorities,” Schudrich said. “As a rabbi I must say that shechitah – Jewish ritual slaughter – is executed with the greatest care about the animals.”

Earlier this month, the Dutch government signed a deal with Jewish and Muslim leaders to allow ritual slaughter. A bill that had passed the Dutch parliament’s House would have forbidden it.

Israeli Scientist Wins World Food Prize for Drip Irrigation

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

An 81 year old Israeli scientist whose revolutionary irrigation methods have saved and improved the lives of millions of people throughout the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and South America, has received the prestigious World Food Prize, according to an announcement made by the foundation on Tuesday.

Daniel Hillel, Los Angeles native and father of Israel’s famous drip micro-irrigation method to conserve water while nourishing growing fruits and vegetables in the world’s most arid climates, was named the winner of this year’s $250,000 prize in a ceremony in Washington.  US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered the key note speech.  Hillel will be celebrated in an official ceremony at the World Food Prize Symposium in Des Moines, Iowa on October 18.

World Food Prize Foundation President Kenneth Quinn praised Hillel, not just for his system which carries water through narrow plastic tubing to drip sparingly above the roots of the growing plants, but for his contribution to bridging divides between diverse peoples.  Over  the past half century, Hillel has taken his agricultural know-how to over 30 countries around the world, including Jordan and Egypt.  Hillel has also shared his knowledge with leaders in Palestinian agriculture.  Quinn noted that several letters of support for Hillel came from institutions in Egypt, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates.

“He’s able to reach across the intercultural gap with this agricultural achievement in order to address that problem that they have in common about how to lift people out of poverty and reduce hunger by working together,” Quinn told the Associated Press. “In an area of the world and in lands where the divides — whether they be ethnic, political, religious, or diplomatic — seem so great, here is a man who by devoting his life to this peaceful development has sought to bridge those gaps.”

Hillel was born in Los Angeles, but moved in 1931 at the age of 1 to Palestine after his father died.

At age 9, Hillel was sent to live on a kibbutz, where he learned about agriculture and preserving resources in the difficult pre-state period.

Hillel returned to the United States for high school and university, and came back to Israel in 1951, at which time he joined the Ministry of Agriculture, mapping the new country’s soil and water resources. In 1952, Hillel joined a group of pioneers who developed a viable agricultural community in the Negev – the new community of Sde Boker – by fashioning small holes in cheap, small plastic piping readily available after World War II, and running water and fertilizer through them directly to plants.  The town so impressed Israel’s Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion, that he made it his home.

The World Food Prize, honoring people engaged in fighting world hunger, was created by Iowa native Norman Borlaug, the winner of the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize for his work in developing hybrid crops in order to increase food production in emerging nations.  He died in 2009.

Tomato Shortage Leads to Price Surge in Israel

Monday, May 7th, 2012

A tomato shortage has led to a surge in prices for the juicy Israeli staples, with prices estimated to reach NIS 16 per kilo on Monday ($1.90/lb).  Tomatoes are usually an inexpensive commodity, available at 45 – 75 cents a pound.

The shortage is a result of the conclusion of a growing season.  In a month, ripe tomatoes are estimated to be available again, bringing the price back down, according to the Vegetable Growers Association, cited by Globes online business news.

Heavy Weekend Rains Raise Kinneret Water Level by Half a Foot

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

The Kinneret, Israel’s Sea of Galilee, has long been a steady source of concern for locals, with the need for water for drinking and agriculture scoring the highest points for anxiety, followed closely by tourism.

The lowest level was reached in 2001, at 214.87 meters (704.95 feet) below sea level. At that point the ecological damage to the beautiful lake was considered critical, as the water receded to as much as a thousand feet from where the beaches used to be.

Happily, the current rainy winter has elevated the Kinneret’s water level by 2.21 meters (7.25 feet), compared with that driest of seasons, 11 years ago. Altogether, this rainy season has contributed 1.4 meters (4.59 feet) to the water level, putting it at 212.66 meters (697.70 feet) below sea level.

This weekend alone brought up the lake’s level by 19 cm, or a little over half a foot.

The Kinneret needs to rise 3.86 meters (12.66 feet) to reach its optimal water level, which experts suggest could possibly happen after the end of the rainy season. They point out that record snow on the mountains north of the lake will result in record thawing come spring.

Israeli Innovations: Helping the High-Tech and the Under-Privileged

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

A slew of new Israeli innovations are set to make life more convenient – and more viable – all over the world.

Israeli company Lumus has created a set of translucent television glasses which allow the wearer to see high-quality, full-color images such as e-mail, images, and text documents while walking or performing other tasks.

According to a report in Britain’s Daily Mail, the new PD-18-2 capitalizes on Lumus’s special cutting-edge visual technology called Light-guide Optical Element (LOE), which is already in use in professional and military products for soldiers, surgeons and pilots, projecting images into the eye from a micro-display.

Helping the multi-tasker keep up with his various to-dos is the goal of Any.DO, an Israeli social to-do app voted best Android application of 2011 by the Techcrunch blog, Lightbox, and Amazon MP3.

Any.DO has the basic features of a calendar, while also allowing users to add tasks through auto-complete and voice commands, manage them through gestures such as swiping and dragging-and-dropping, and sync with Google tasks, according to Israel innovations website NoCamels.

Israeli technology is also coming to the aid of those who do not yet enjoy the luxury of high-tech gadgets.  Agro-biotech company Rosetta Green, based in Rehovot, has genetically modified plants to grow under ocean water irrigation and to withstand long and severe droughts.  According to No Camels, the company hopes to produce plants which will stand up to harsh climates while maintaining bountiful yields by modifying short RNA molecules associated with a plant’s genetic ability to withstand drought or salty water.

Po-Lin

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

Dynow


 


      Cleaning works are underway on the grounds of the Jewish cemetery in Dynow. The works are being carried out by the members of the local Town Sport Club “Dynovia” in cooperation with the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland.

 

 



Dynow - Cleaning the undergrowth in the Dynow cemetery


 

 

Jewish Calendar For The Year 5770


 


     We are happy to inform you that a new Jewish calendar for the year 5770 is available at the Foundation’s office. Richly illustrated, the calendar gives the hours of beginning and ending of Shabbat and Festivals for Warsaw, Krakow, Lodz, Wroclaw and Budapest. All interested parties are invited to contact us at fodz@fodz.pl.

 

 


Calendar - The cover of the newly published calendar for 5770

 

 

 

Zuromin


 


    On July 15, 2009, a ceremony commemorating the Jewish community of Zuromin took place at the local Jewish cemetery on Zeromskiego St. Participating were over 100 guests, among them representatives of the Jewish community, local authorities, descendants of the Jews from Zuromin and inhabitants of the town. The ceremony, related to the recent renovation of the cemetery, was organized by the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland.

 

 


Zuromin - Ceremony in front of the gate of the restored cemetery in Zuromin

 

 

 

Galicia Jewish Museum Receives Mezuzot


 


     During the Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow, on Friday 3 July 2009 a Chanukat HaBayit ceremony took place at the Galicia Jewish Museum to affix mezuzot to the museum entrances. The mezuzot were donated by the Fundusz Michaela H. Traisona dla Polski, and affixed by Michael Traison and Jonathan Webber, Chairman of the Museum’s Board of Trustees. Chief Rabbi of Krakow, Rabbi Boaz Pash, also attended the ceremony.

 

Israel Artist Builds Mock Kibbutz In Heart Of Polish Capital


 


      Construction of a mock Israeli kibbutz began last week in the heart of the Polish capital, Warsaw. The unprecedented art installation is the brainchild of Israeli video artist Yael Bartana and is to serve as the set of the second in her trilogy of films focused on the symbolic revival of Jewish life in Poland after the Holocaust.

 

    While Bartana usually focuses on Israeli-Palestinian issues, the current project uses imagery from the Middle East to address the history of Polish Jews.  “In this film we are concentrating on the moment when Jews are coming actually back to Poland,” Bartana said.

 

    Kibbutzim are collective communities based on agriculture, originally built by Jewish settlers from Europe in the land of Israel in the early 20th century, well before the May 1948 Declaration of Independence by the modern-day state of Israel.

 

     Before the Shoah there were Kibbutzim set up in Poland by Zionist youth groups to train young Jews to work in agriculture, preparing them to move to Israel.

 

    Bartana’s grandparents, as Jewish immigrants to pre-state Israel prior to World War II, had no direct experience of the Holocaust. But the idea for the kibbutz installation arose after a visit to Poland in 2006.

 

    “I went to different cities and communities where Jews used to live and I came up with the idea that it would be really fantastic to revive the Jewish spirit,” she said.

 

     “What does it bring to the collective memory? What does it mean for the Israelis, what does it mean for Jews, what does it mean to the Poles? And I wanted to kind of cross over emotional elements.”

Happy New Year …Trees!

Wednesday, February 8th, 2006

Until Jews began to return to Eretz Israel in 1948, noone thought of them as farmers. For nearly 2,000 years, we had been dispersed throughout the world, and in many places were not permitted to own land or engage in agriculture. But in ancient Palestine, we were an agricultural people. We treasured the olive tree, the grape vine and the date palm. The Bible encouraged us to plant “all manner of trees” and forbade the destruction of trees of a conquered land.

On the first day of the seventh month, Rosh Hashanah we are judged and our fate for the coming year is inscribed in the Book of Life. So we are taught that trees are similarly judged on the New Year of the trees, which occurs on 15th day of Shevat (this year February 13), called Tu b’Shevat, considered the first day of spring in Israel.

This semi-holiday has always been associated with tree planting. In ancient times, one planted a tree at the birth of a child cedar for a boy; cypress for a girl. Special care was given to these trees on Tu bShevat, and when the children married, branches of their own trees were cut for the chupah (wedding canopy).

It is said that on 15th day of Shevat, the sap begins to rise in the fruit trees in Israel. So we partake of the fruits of the Land  apples, almonds, carobs, figs, nuts, dates and pomegranates. The pious among us stay up very late on the eve of the holiday reciting passages from the Bible that deal with trees and the fertility of the earth. We read the

story of how trees and plants were created (Gen. 1:11-13); the Divine promise of abundance as a reward for keeping the Commandments (Lev. 26: 3-18; Deut. 8:10-13) and the parable of the spreading vine, which symbolizes the people of Israel (Ezek. 17).

Sephardic Jews have their own special manual entitled “The Fruit of the Goodly Tree.” It was first published in the Judeo-Spanish language,  Ladino, in Salonica, composed  by Judah Kala’i. Each verse is recited as the relevant fruits are eaten, and some of the verses translate as follows:

“G-d increase our worldly goods,
And guard us soon and late,
And multiply our bliss like seeds
Of the POMEGRANATE.
 
For our Redeemer do we wait
All the long night through,
To bring a dawn as roseate
As the APPLE’s hue.

Sin, like a stubborn shell and hard
Is wrapped around our soul;
Lord, break the husk and let the NUT
Come out whole.

Etc.

Each of the fruits has its own symbolic meaning. The rosy apple stands for G-d’s glowing splendor; thenut represents the three kinds of Jews  hard, medium and soft. The almond stands for swift divine retribution, for it blossoms more quickly than other trees. The fig means peace and prosperity, and the humble carob stands for humility, a necessary element of penitence.

No religion has closer ties to agriculture and ecology than Judaism. In fact, Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakai once declared: “If you hold a sapling in your hand and hear that the Messiah has arrived, plant the sapling first and only then go and greet the Messiah.”

Dvora Waysman is an Australian-born writer living in Jerusalem. She is the author of nine books, including Woman of Jerusalem; The Pomegranat Pendant and Esther. She can be reached at ways@netvision.net.ilor.  Her website is: www.dvorawaysman.com

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/devora-waysman/happy-new-year-trees/2006/02/08/

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