Bal Tashchit בל תשחית (literally “Do Not Destroy”) is a fundamental ethical principle in Judaism. It is based on the Mitzvah in Deuteronomy 20:19–20 which says it is forbidden to cut down fruit trees. The Talmud expanded the concept of Bal Tashchit to include all forms of senseless damage or waste. It has become a central aspect of the ethical character of the Jewish people. Today, the destruction of the ocean and waterways of the world through pollution, single use plastic products and simple carelessness, represent a blatant violation of the ethical principle of Bal Tashchit.
As we dive, snorkel, boat, kayak, or just stroll the beach enjoying the beauty of the sea, all too often we are accosted by human garbage. Our oceans, rivers, and lakes are littered with the cast off rubbish of humans.
What We Are Doing
Tikkun HaYam Fights Against Marine Debris
Kayak Clean ups
Tikkun HaYam uses kayaks, paddle boards, and snorkels to get deep into mangrove roots to remove trapped debris which harms the juvenile species that use mangroves as their homes.
The first annual Reverse Tashlich will take place September 16th. Congregations across Florida will pull sins from the water in beach and shore-front clean ups. You can sign up to participate here
We are currently working on a line of "Re-Jews-Able" products, made from recycled materials. Stay tuned to purchase your very own set to limit your waste footprint.
What You Can Do
The number one thing we can do to keep trash from our ocean, is reduce the debris we create. We can very easily say no to single use plastics, such as straws, plastic water bottles, and plastic utensils. You can easily bring your own mug and bottle with you, take shopping bags with you, or use reusable containers to store food. As consumers we can make change by not buying items in plastic, and instead opting for glass, cardboard, or other reusable or compostable options.
Additionally, we can make sure the debris we do make is properly disposed of. Ensure that you’re recycling when possible, to keep plastic out of the ocean, and limit the amount of new debris made. You can find a recycling station here.