Jubilee, Human Rights and Ecology

This essay by Rabbi David Seidenberg, first printed in Tikkun magazine in 2008, explores how the Jubilee and our connection to land, in particular, can help to reframe our human role in the ecology of life and our relationship to earth.

Why haven’t Jewish human rights and social justice organizations engaged with
environmental issues? Are human rights unconnected to ecology? Or are they
somehow in competition with ecology? The roots of human rights in Judaism—in
the idea of God’s image and in the Jubilee year—show us that human rights depend
on ecology. We cannot uphold human rights without understanding our connection
to the land.