Going Green with Composting Temple Beth Israel expands its work
For the past 10 years, Temple Beth Israel has teamed with Uncommon Good, a local nonprofit that provides organic produce to the underserved in our community. Uncommon Good has used a section of the Temple’s property to grow organic vegetables, and when harvested, this produce is donated to food pantries in our area.
Now Temple Beth Israel is expanding its role to include a composting operation.
This site, adjacent to the farm, works with the Composting for Green Spaces Program and will help to keep food waste out of landfills while also providing Uncommon Good farms with fresh compost to support their efforts. In addition, this program will enable Temple Beth Israel to assist local restaurants in recycling their food waste into fresh compost.
During the week of Jan. 30, the U.S. Composting Council Annual National Conference was held in Ontario. Temple Beth Israel was one of the community composting sites that was showcased. Almost 50 conference participants from across the United States visited Temple Beth Israel to see the operation and were enthusiastic about the tour.
This composting effort builds on the Temple’s ongoing partnership with Uncommon Good and establishes new partnerships between Temple Beth Israel and the Pomona-based Food Cycle Collective (FCC) and the Pomona-based nonprofit Integrative Development Initiative. As of this date, the food scrap diversion comes to just over 7,219 pounds diverted from the landfill.
The work is supported by funding through CalRecycle’s Community Composting for Green Spaces Grant Program. Most importantly, this program, approved by the Board of Trustees, supports the Temple’s mission of Tikkun Olam, or Repairing the World.
Zionist Revolutionary Poetry Comes Alive
By Moshe Phillips
It’s not too often that the release of a new book of poems that are over 80 years old can be seen as a transformative moment in the American Jewish community. It can be argued that this happened with The Complete and Translated Poetic Works of Avraham Stern published by Yishai Edberg. It is the first book of English translations of history’s key Zionist revolutionary.
For decades Israel’s left-leaning academic establishment, as well as Jewish educators in the United States, successfully fought to minimize the impact the Stern’s LEHI group, and the Irgun underground Stern had originally fought in, had on London’s decision to end the British Mandate. It’s only in the last 20 years or so that English speaking readers have been able to really learn the details about LEHI’s story.
Avraham Stern (Yair) was the founder and leader of the Stern Group (maligned by the British as the Stern Gang). After Stern’s 1942 assassination by British detectives in Tel Aviv his soldiers later formed the LEHI (Fighters for the Freedom of Israel.)
Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir was a member of the LEHI’s three-man high command after Stern’s assassination. In 1998, Stern wrote in Haaretz about Stern stating:
“Those who revere his memory know a great deal about Yair Avraham Stern, who in the 1940s established the underground LEHI movement to fight against the British regime in Palestine. Yair—as his friends knew him—believed that only the expulsion of the British from the Land of Israel would enable the Jewish People to establish an independent Jewish state, and he foresaw that this goal could only be achieved by force. However, his admirers knew little about the “other” Yair: Yair the poet.”
Edberg’s translation brings Stern’s distinctive poetic voice to English. No easy task.
The book has a nearly 20-page introduction that provides an overview of Stern’s story and that of the LEHI. This section is not without superficial flaws but is engaging and thought-provoking.
The balance of the book contains over 50 poems with extensive explanatory footnotes. In his footnotes Edberg demonstrates how Stern repurposed lines from Jewish liturgy and verses from Tanach to inspire young Jews to take action on behalf of the cause of Zionism. What’s more the footnotes also offer historic background and other information that shed light on Stern’s ideas. Before this publication, only one of Stern’s poems was readily available in a complete translation.
The Complete and Translated Poetic Works of Avraham Stern is available in softcover through Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Complete-Translated-Poetic-Works-Avraham/dp/B0B4JT2GH7/.
[Moshe Phillips is a commentator on Jewish affairs. He was a U.S. delegate to the 38th World Zionist Congress in 2020. The views expressed are his own.]