In 2000, a small group of Jewish students at Emory University joined Rabbi Ed Rosenthal on a trip to Crystal River to learn about endangered manatees, and Scubi Jew® was born. The next year, they traveled to the Bahamas to learn about declining shark populations.
It wasn't until 2009, when Rabbi Rosenthal became the Hillel Director at Eckerd College, a small liberal arts school in St. Petersburg Florida, that the program began to really expand. Scubi Jew became a common name on campus, and Jewish and non-Jewish students alike joined the program. Occasional excursions became regular Alternative Fall and Spring Break trips, snorkelers were able to get their Open Water Certification through the program, and "Ally's Way" (the official service vessel of Scubi Jew) allowed students to adopt and clean the St. Petersburg Downtown Reef on a regular basis. And Yes...Eckerd Hillel is the only Hillel in the world that owns a boat.
Over time, the need for marine conservation awareness in the greater Jewish community, beyond college campuses, became apparent. Thus Tikkun HaYam became the first Jewish Marine Environmental organization