Seekers of Meaning 6/23/2023: Rabbi Andrue Kahn, editor of “The Sacred Earth: Jewish Perspectives on Our Planet”

On this week’s episode of the Seekers of Meaning TV Show and Podcast, Rabbi Andrue Kahn, associate rabbi at Congregation Emanu-El, New York, discusses the book, The Sacred Earth: Jewish Perspectives on Our Planet, which he edited.

The Torah begins by setting forth the heavens and the Earth as God’s creation, impelling humanity to steward our planet for its own sake and for its ability to nurture our lives. Yet the human-Divine-environment relationship seems to be in perpetual crisis. The Sacred Earth is a contemporary Jewish response to the looming threat of climate change, the widespread desire for experiential spirituality rooted in nature, and the continually changing relationship between humanity, nature, technology, and the Divine. The leading thinkers in this collection reflect on human vulnerability in the face of forces of nature, examine conceptions of our place in cosmology, and grapple with environmental destruction. Ultimately, with hope, they creatively explore ways to redeem this sacred Earth.

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About the Guest

Rabbi Andrue Kahn

Rabbi Andrue (Andy) Kahn grew up primarily in Tacoma, Washington, and was educated at Kenyon College in Ohio, Hebrew University and Ben Gurion University in Israel, Queen’s University in Canada, Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, and HUC-JIR in Jerusalem and New York. He is currently serving as associate rabbi at Congregation Emanu-El, New York.

Study, ritual, and action are the three pillars that define his rabbinate,  blossoming out of love for academic study and writing.

His passion  for finding new forms for traditional modes of Jewish practice and thought, and living an integrally Jewish life, inherently involves working with others on the ground. Both individually and communally, Rabbi Andy is energized by mobilizing and revealing the transformational potential of Jewish traditions. Whether it be in conversion studies with individual students, group Torah study, cultivated group spiritual practice in Jewish guided meditation, tikkun middot (spiritual ethics) groups, tikkun olam (striving for social justice) or meaningful prayer services, he is most inspired when guiding people of all ages and life stages to connect with Jewish texts, practices, and behaviors that meet them where they are.

His end goal is not only cultivating strong, connected, and deep Jewish community. Ultimately, fostering rich engagement with the Jewish tradition prepares individuals to show up in their wider community as proud and secure representatives of the Jewish people. Interfaith relationships, social action, and devotion to collective liberation in the communities in and with which each person dwells are all inherent outcomes of our inner-communal development. 

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