Rabbi Ellen Bernstein, Who Saw Ecology as God’s Work, Dies at 70

By Sam Roberts
New York Times
March 5, 2024

She linked her passion for the natural environment to the precepts of the Hebrew Bible, beginning with the Garden of Eden.

Ellen Bernstein, a river guide turned rabbi who blazed a spiritual trail in the environmental movement by undergirding it with the Hebrew Bible’s veneration of nature, died on Feb. 27 in Philadelphia. She was 70.

Her husband, Steven J. Tenenbaum, said the cause of her death, in a hospital, was colon cancer.

In 1988, when she was 34, Rabbi Bernstein founded Shomrei Adamah — the name is Hebrew for Keepers of the Earth — which she described as the first national Jewish environmental organization.

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