Fireside Chat with Rabbi Yonatan Neril

Occurred on Tuesday, March 8, 2022

On Tuesday, March 8, Rev. Allen Ewing-Merrill, Executive Director of The BTS Center, shared a lunchtime Fireside Chat with Rabbi Yonatan Neril, co-author of the bestselling book Eco Bible, and founder and Executive Director of The Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development, based in Jerusalem. 

Recognizing the sobering truth that humanity faces unprecedented challenges to sustainable life on the planet, the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development (ICSD) works to catalyze a transition to a sustainable, thriving, and spiritually-aware society through the leadership of faith communities. Based in Jerusalem, ICSD unites faith communities, teachers, and leaders to promote co-existence, peace, and sustainability through advocacy, education, and action. 

Among others, ICSD projects include The Seminary Faith and Ecology Project, which promotes Christian, Muslim, and Jewish seminary education on faith and ecology, focusing on the formation of the education and values of emerging clergy and faith leaders; and The Women’s Interfaith Ecology Project, which brings together young Christian, Muslim, and Jewish women in Jerusalem through workshops and events aimed at promoting environmental sustainability, strengthening trans-community relations, and overcoming religious differences.

Rabbi Neril has spoken internationally on the connections between religious values and ecology, including at the Fez Climate Summit, at the Parliament of World Religions, and in numerous congregations and conferences. Over the past 15 years, he has co-organized twelve interfaith ecology conferences in Israel and the United States, has spoken at over 50 institutions on four continents, and has authored several books.

Rabbi Neril’s groundbreaking Eco Bible, now available in two volumes, offers an ecological commentary on the Torah — the first five books of the Hebrew Bible — drawing on 3,500 years of religious ethics and teaching to show how the Bible itself and its great scholars embrace right relationship with God’s creation as a fundamental and living message.

View the Fireside Chat with Rabbi Yonatan Neril below, recorded on March 8, 2022.

Meet Rabbi Yonatan Neril

Rabbi Yonatan Neril is the founder and Executive Director of The Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development based in Jerusalem. Raised in California, Yonatan completed an M.A. and B.A. from Stanford University with a focus on global environmental issues, and received rabbinical ordination in Israel. Yonatan is co-author of the bestselling book Eco Bible, now published in two volumes, which shines new light on how the Hebrew Bible and great religious thinkers have urged human care and faithful stewardship of the natural world for thousands of years as a central message of spiritual wisdom. He has spoken internationally on religion and the environment, including at the UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi, the Fez Climate Conscience Summit, and the Parliament of World Religions, and has helped to organize environmental conferences in Jerusalem, New York City, Washington D.C., and Atlanta. He is the lead author of three books on Jewish environmental ethics and co-author of several important reports on faith and ecology in theological education. He lives with his wife Shana and their two children in Jerusalem.