Presentations on Judaism & Ecology


I am available for speaking engagements, teaching and scholar-in-residencies.  


  • How Religious (and Jewish) Communities can Help the Environmental Movement

  • Communicating the Environmental Message to Religious (and Jewish) Audiences

  • Finding God Outdoors: A Creator God and A Sense of Place

  • Infusing Jewish Life with an Ecological Vision and Practice

  • Shabbat as the Centerpiece for an Ecologically Sound Life

  • Reading the Bible Ecologically

  • The Ecotheology of the Song of Songs 

  • The Original Earth Day: Tu B'Sh'vat, the Jewish New Year of the Trees

Recent Presentations


Teaching & Courses

I teach a semester-length course entitled The Place of Nature in the Bible. 

Course Description

In light of climate change and a host of environmental dilemmas, many are turning to religious traditions in search of a spiritual and ethical framework by which to understand and grapple with these problems. This course addresses such questions as: How does the Bible understand nature?  What vocabulary does the Bible use to express ecological ideas and values?  What is the meaning of Dominion?  What is our place in nature—are we lords, servants, stewards, co-creatures? Does human “sin” yield environmental consequences? Does the Bible offer an inherent ecological theology?  If so, why are many Jews unaware of it?  We will be reading closely selections of Biblical texts including the Creation stories, Noah, other tales from Genesis, Exodus and psalms and will determine whether asking new questions might reveal new readings of ancient texts


Rabbi Ellen Bernstein is widely recognized as the pioneer thinker and activist who helped define modern "Jewish environmentalism." She is an inspirational speaker. It is a rare privilege to learn from someone who is at once knowledgeable about the environmental crisis and also completely conversant with Jewish perspectives on it. Her ability to merge scholarship with personal passion coupled with her activism and vision makes for particularly compelling presentations and classes.
— Alon Tal, Ph.d, Ben Gurion University, Founder, Arava Institute, Winner, Bronfman Prize, 2006

Rabbi Ellen Bernstein's work has provided the firm foundation on which contemporary Jewish environmentalism rests. She is an inspiring educator and scholar-in-residence who connects theory and practice in her teaching and in her own life's journey.
— Rabbi Leonard Gordon, Congregation Mishkan Tefila

A wise and passionate teacher, writer, and activist, Rabbi Ellen Bernstein is a brave pioneer in the field of Jewish environmentalism.
— Rabbi Or Rose, Director, Center for Global Judaism, Hebrew College Rabbinical School

Past Presentations

Conferences and Universities

Chautauqua Institution
Bioneers Conference
Brown University
C.A.J.E. Conference
Creighton University: Jews and Environment Symposium
Davidson College
DePaul University: Religion and Environment Conference
Dickenson College
Environmental Journalists Conference
Earth Day 1990, Philadelphia All Species Parade
General Assembly of Jewish Federations
Hadassah National Convention
Hampshire College
Hebrew College
Institute for Southern Jewish Life
Isabella Freedman Retreat: Adamah Fellowship
Jewish Funders Network
Jewish National Fund Conference
Lutheran School of Theology
Mount Allison University
Parliament of World Religions Conference
Religions for the Earth Conference
Reconstructionist Rabbinical School
Siegal College
Smith College
Society for Biblical Literature Conference
St. Michael's University: Religion and Environment Conference
Swathmore College
Teva Conference
Union Theological Seminary
University of Oregon
University of Pennsylvania
University of Vermont
United Jewish Communities: General Assembly
Women's League of Conservative Judaism International Convention
Yale University Divinity School


Adath Jeshurun, Elkins Park, PA.
Beth Israel Congregation, North Adams MA.  
Cape Cod Synagogue, Hyannis, MA.
Congregation B'nai Israel, Northampton, MA.
Congregation B'nai Jehudah, Kansas City, KS.
Congregation Emanu-el Witchita, Kansas
Germantown Jewish Centre, Philadelphia, PA.
Jewish Community of Amherst, Amherst, MA.
Jewish Theological Seminary of America, New York, NY.
Jewish Center of the Hamptons, East Hampton, NY.
Jews of Montana Conference, Bozeman, Montana
Kehillat Lev Shalom, Woodstock, NY.
Or Hadash, Fort Washington, PA.
Poughkeepsie Jewish Community Center, Poughkeepsie, NY. 
Rimon, Lenox, MA.
Steven Wise Free Synagogue, New York, NY.
Temple Emmanuel, Haverhill, MA. 
Temple Shalom, Medford, MA.