Sova Project

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"Sova (“Enough-ness”) is a collaborative effort of the Baltimore Jewish Environmental Network, the Heschel Sustainability Center in Israel, and the Center for Global Judaism at Hebrew College in Boston.

The goal of this shared endeavor is to help raise awareness across the international Jewish community and beyond about issues of sustainability—with a particular focus on economic justice—by engendering a multi-disciplinary conversation about such fundamental issues as responsible land usage, wealth and debt, work and rest, fair labor practices, private and public (commons) property ownership, and physical and spiritual revitalization.

The recent economic crises in North America and the European Union emphasize the need for renewed collaborative thinking across disciplines and communities that promotes sufficiency over excess, and leads us to prosperity without crashing. We need to develop structures and habits that blend doing well with doing good, for humanity and for the rest of life.

Among other things, this involves honest reflection about the strengths and weaknesses of our financial and political systems, as well as our communal and individual values and priorities. Why do so many people go to bed hungry every night throughout the world when we have the resources to feed them? Why do corporations that pollute our air and water continue to grow unchecked? What do our personal purchasing and lifestyle choices have to do with these issues? What are some examples of inspiring thinking and effective action in the business, activist, educational, and religious sectors? How can we create mutually enriching networks of creativity, support, and transformation?

The timing of the launch of the Sova Project is intentional. We begin during Sefirat ha-Omer, a traditional time of focused reflection on personal and communal transformation, rooted in ancient Jewish agricultural practices.

Further, we are inspired in our efforts by the biblical institution of Shmita, the Sabbatical Year of Release, which begins this week’s Torah portion of Behar. The next Sabbatical Year will commence in the fall of 2014 (immediately after Rosh Hashanah). We believe that this provides our community with an evocative ritual context and a set of thought-provoking teachings through which to reflect meaningfully on issues of economic and environmental sustainability.

We have chosen to explore these issues through the lens of Shmita because, as Jewish educators and activists, it offers us a timely and rich field of language, symbolism, and praxis in which to discuss the creation of a more equitable and healthy society." (

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