Jewish Tradition

Our Approach to Jewish Tradition

Urban Adamah takes an expansive approach to Jewish tradition. There are no do’s or don’ts, no shoulds or shouldn’ts. There is no empty ritual, rote prayer or confounding rules. We aim to use the ancient tools of our tradition to better understand ourselves, our relationships, and our world, today. With this intention, we explore: holidays and rituals rooted in agricultural and natural cycles, texts that speak of an ancient relationship between humans and the earth, and laws designed to protect land, resources, and community. We explore perspectives—old and new—on Judaism’s core values of kindness (chesed), justice (tzedek) and love (ahava).

Shabbat at Urban Adamah

Shabbat is fellows’ time off. The work-week ends on Friday a few hours before sunset, and begins again on Sunday at 1 p.m. or, on alternating weeks, on Monday at 7 a.m.

After an intense week of learning and growing, Shabbat can be an experience of rest, reflection, and rejuvenation. Each group of fellows decides what “keeping” Shabbat will consist of, and which Shabbat observances, if any, to keep in the shared spaces of the house.

Judaism and the Environment

Adamah means Earth in Hebrew. It contains the word adam, which means human being. Earth and earthling. It suggests we are made of the same stuff as the earth.  Industrialization’s negative impact on the natural world grows with each passing year. Ancient commandments like bal tashchit (do not waste), shmita (let the land rest) and tzaar baalei chayim (prevent cruelty to animals) make extra sense in the context of current ecological degradation.  Practices like Shabbat and kashrut invite mindfulness around time and food in an era of high-speed access and instant gratification.  For more in-depth learning about the connection between Judaism and the environment, please visit the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life.