Religion & Beliefs

An Interview with Getzel Davis

This week on FaithHacker we're excited to welcome guest blogger Getzel Davis.  Getzel is, among other things, an environmental rock star, a former ADAMAH fellow, and pretty much the nicest guy I know.  To start things off I sent him … Read More

By / November 19, 2007

This week on FaithHacker we're excited to welcome guest blogger Getzel Davis.  Getzel is, among other things, an environmental rock star, a former ADAMAH fellow, and pretty much the nicest guy I know.  To start things off I sent him some tough questions, and to no one's surprised, he totally rocked them. -TF

 

 

What kind of work are you doing now, and how does it fit into your spiritual journey?

I work for the Teva Learning Center as a Jewish environmental educator. Every week I get a new batch of 6th grade day school students to try to inspire. We go off into the woods every day and practice feeling radical amazement in nature. After a week of group bonding and ecology lessons, I get to sit down with each child and school to help them brainstorm ways to make the world a healthier and happier place.

What's your favorite spiritual practice? Why?

My favorite spiritual practice at the moment is mikvah. It sounds a hokey, but time I get out of a mikvah, I physically feel spiritually cleansed (even if I am covered in muck from the lake). This year, to prepare for Yom Kippur, I dunked forty-nine times for the forty nine levels of spiritual impurity that people of capable of. When I got out, it felt like I was already at Neilah, the last service of Yom Kippur, when we are finally forgiven of our sins. I went through all the motions of Yom Kippur already knowing that I had been forgiven. It was incredibly powerful.

What's a Jewish ritual that really doesn't speak to you? Why?

Stoning gay people. I can’t imagine a compassionate G!d really wanted us to stone two consenting adults who love each other.

What's your favorite Jewish text to study and why?

My favorite text is the Mei Hashiloach by the Izbitzer Rebbe. Despite the fact that the Izbitzer was a leader of a chassidic ultra-orthodox Jews, half of his discourses are about the flawed nature of Jewish law. His radical theology allows for certain people at certain times to do perform acts contrary to normative Jewish law. This book is a great tool for anyone struggling personally with questions of halachic obligation.

What's a social justice issue that's really important to you and why?

I believe that the greatest issue facing humanity is global warming. Rising oceans and desertification of the land scare the shit of me. The solutions are not going to be easy things like recycling or buying hybrid cars (although both are great). The only way humanity will be able to avoid an incredibly ominous future is by radically changing how we consume things. We need to start holding producers responsible not only for the safety of a product while we own it, but also the impacts of its creation what happens to it after it has been thrown “away.”