What’s Jewish about caring for your animals? A lot! Whether you’re a Jewish educator looking to integrate teachings about companion animals into your class on Jewish values, or a young person seeking ways to support homeless animals in your community, JIFA has educational materials and advocacy projects for you. We even have examples of Jewish rituals that help you include companion animals in your Jewish practice!
- In JIFA’s service-learning workbook, students will find everything they need to design a service-learning project that helps companion animals in honor of their bar/bat mitzvah.
- Compassion for animals should include all non-human creatures, not just the ones with whom we have personal relationships. Check out this preview page from the 2016 Amir Sourcebook on Jewish Compassion for animals for a preview of JIFA’s new curricular resources.
Advocacy & Ritual
A house of worship is a perfect place to bring people together around helping and honoring animals. Here are a few suggestions of programs that support and celebrate animals as part of a religious and ethical life:
- Including Animals in Jewish Communal Life
- Check out how this community in Westchester included animals as part of a 9/11 memorial event, “Honoring Four Legged friends.”
- Collect pet food at your next food drive
- The Humane Society of the United States provides ways for faith communities, including Jewish community members, to create and publicize a companion animal welfare project with Fill the Bowl, which has resources for adding pet food to your synagogue’s food drive.
- Keep families and companion animals together by donating pet food to food-insecure families, or connect your community to the larger issue of pet homelessness and organize a donation to your local shelter.
- Check out how this group gathered pet food and distributed it to the elderly in the community as part of “Meals on Wheels” home visits.
- Rosh Hashanah Lab’heima (“Birthday” for Animals)
- You’ve probably celebrated Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year that we call the birthday of the world, and you may have also heard of Tu Bishvat, or the “birthday” of the trees. But did you know that there’s a Rosh Hashanah for animals? This holiday was created as part of the Jewish calendar over 2000 years ago and has recently been revived. Check out our suggested resources for celebrating Rosh Hashanah Lab’heima.