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Formation 2001
Legal status 501(c)(3) nonprofit NGO
Purpose Jewish environmentalism, Green Zionism
Headquarters New York City
Methods Education, Advocacy and Public-Policy Formation
Fields Sustainability, Nature, Conservation, Water, Energy, Biodiversity, Ecology, Climate Change, Judaism and Israel
Slogan Ecological Judaism
Website aytzim.org

Aytzim (meaning "trees" in Hebrew), formerly Green Zionist Alliance, is a New York-based secular, progressive and pluralistic Jewish environmental organization that is a U.S.-registered 501(c)(3) tax-deductible nonprofit charity. A grassroots all-volunteer organization,[1] Aytzim is active in the United States, Canada and Israel. The organization is a member of the American Zionist Movement,[2] and has worked in partnership with Ameinu, the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL), Hazon, Interfaith Moral Action on Climate, Interfaith Oceans, the Jewish National Fund, GreenFaith, Mercaz/Masorti (Conservative Judaism), and the National Religious Coalition on Creation Care.[3]


Aytzim has three projects:[4][5]

  • Green Zionist Alliance: The Grassroots Campaign for a Sustainable Israel (The organization's former name is now used as a project name.)[4][5]

The Green Zionist Alliance works to protect and educate about the environment of Israel and the Middle East.

  • Jewcology: Home of the Jewish Environmental Movement

With more than 1000 blog posts,[6] pedagogical materials, a job board, and an interactive map of Jewish-environmental initiatives, Jewcology.org is a large online resource for information on Jewish environmentalism.

  • Shomrei Breishit: Rabbis and Cantors for the Earth

An environmental-advocacy group that Aytzim runs in partnership with GreenFaith, Shomrei Breishit includes more than 100 Jewish clergy, including chief rabbis.[7]

Aytzim also runs an internship program;[8] hosts an English-language compilation of educational materials, research papers, academic papers, news articles, videos and books about Israel's environment;[9] and has student chapters, including "Yovel: Aytzim at NYU."[10]


The Green Zionist Alliance (GZA) was founded in 2001 by Alon Tal, Eilon Schwartz and Rabbi Michael Cohen,[11] with a large team of other volunteers, including Adam Werbach,[12][13] Devra Davis and current Aytzim leadership.[13] In 2002 it became the first environmental party at the World Zionist Congress,[14] where it has had elected representation since. Through this process, the organization succeeded in the appointment of environmental leaders, including Tal and Schwartz, to the board of the Keren Kayemet L'Yisrael (KKL / Jewish National Fund in Israel).[15] Today, Aytzim representation includes Tal and Orr Karassin.[11]

In 2006 the GZA incorporated as a 501(c)3 nonprofit.

In late Sept. 2014, the GZA acquired Jewcology.org from fellow Jewish-environmental group Canfei Nesharim and, in partnership with GreenFaith, launched a Jewish-clergical environmental advocacy group called Shomrei Breishit: Rabbis and Cantors for the Earth.[16] To better reflect the scope of the organization's work, the GZA rebranded itself as Aytzim, keeping the Green Zionist Alliance name both legally and for its Israel-focused work.[4]

Aytzim has had many prominent Jewish leaders serve on its Green Zionist Alliance slates for the World Zionist Congress, including Rabbi Ellen Bernstein,[17] Mirele Goldsmith,[17] Susannah Heschel,[18][19] Nigel Savage,[19] Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb,[17] Richard H. Schwartz,[20] Rabbi Marc Soloway,[21] Rabbi Lawrence Troster,[17] Rabbi Arthur Waskow,[18][19] and Laurie Zoloth.[17]

The Aytzim advisory board includes former Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Naomi Tsur and Daniel Orenstein, a faculty member at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology and the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies.[22]


Since its founding as the Green Zionist Alliance, Aytzim has been a key factor in the greening of Israeli policy, both internally and in its interactions with other countries. Aytzim's accomplishments include:

Activist and Educational Campaigns

Aytzim has been engaged in many campaigns to both protect and educate about the environment, including:


The organization has been criticized for its stance against hydrofracking,[26] with the New York Post labeling the GZA as "running against the tide of technology."[25] The organization also has been criticized merely for associating with Israel and Zionism,[48][49][50][51][52][53] and for its participation in a process that largely favors Israel's political status quo.[54] Politically centrist individuals have criticized the GZA for its promotion of community gardens, charging that making community gardens more widely available is patronizing to the public. Others see Zionism's mission as finished with the establishment of the modern state of Israel and they question the relevance of the entire system of legacy Zionist organizations formed by the World Zionist Organization and its constituent agencies.[55]


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  2. "The Member Organizations of the American Zionist Movement". American Zionist Movement.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Krantz, David (Sep 17, 2014). "Introducing Aytzim: Ecological Judaism". Aytzim.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 Udasin, Sharon (23 October 2015). "Zionist Congress passes two green resolutions". The Jerusalem Post.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  7. "Members of Shomrei Breishit: Rabbis and Cantors for the Earth". Aytzim.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Internships". Aytzim.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Resources". Aytzim.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 Berger, Paul (16 June 2010). "Enter the Green Zionists". The Forward.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  33. "BRIEF OF FAITH GROUPS AS AMICI CURIAE IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS SEEKING REVERSAL" (PDF). U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. 12 Nov 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  46. Seidenberg, David; Sanchez, Sybil (4 April 2013). "Jews should back clean energy, not dirty future". Jewish News of Greater Phoenix.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  48. Aguilar, Terrina (6 March 2014). "how is directing settlement sewage runoff into Palestinian villages 'green'?". Twitter.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  49. paiute023 (6 March 2014). "Monsters don't care bout land!". Twitter.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  50. Alfifi, Fahmi (6 March 2014). "Will I get to see the thousands of olive trees planted by Palestinian farmers that Zionist occupation have destroyed?". Twitter.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  51. Safadi, Rami (6 March 2014). "How is Zionism green when Israel has uprooted over 2.5 million olive trees since 1967?". Twitter.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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External links