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Posts Tagged ‘Heschel Center’

Hopefully I’ll have a better idea when I’m there in – let’s see here – just about three weeks! After graduating college, I have one day to pack up my apartment and drive 4 hours back to Nashville, where I will be leaving the next morning for New York City. A bunch of college buddies are joining my brother and I on a Birthright Israel trip; since 2000, this organization has been sponsoring free, 10-day trips to Israel for Jewish adolescents.

My brother and I extended our trip home and plan to spend a few extra days visiting a friend on a kibbutz between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. When I started doing research on the area, I was interested to come across a TreeHugger article that discusses the sustainability of Tel Aviv as a city.

Back in 2006, David Pearlman of the Heschel Center addressed 50 American and Canadian citizens in a 10-day tour of the city that was sponsored by North American philanthropists eager to promote awareness for environmental issues in Israel. Yet while the article discusses environmental concerns (air pollution, for example), I was reminded yet again how ubiquitous the term sustainability can be. Sustainability, as I recently have come to understand, is a vague and often misunderstood term that spans a wide variety of disciplines and philosophies. In this case, the question is posed – What makes a city sustainable?

Did you know, for example, that – according to Pearlman in 2006 – Tel Aviv is the only city where a Starbucks opened and then closed? I wonder how important the coffee business is to Tel Aviv’s overall sustainability, but an interesting fact nonetheless. Also, I found it intriguing that although there are plenty of bicycle lanes, few bikers exists due to a lack of suitable road signs.

There are a number of considerations involved in assessing a city’s (or project’s or product’s, etc.) sustainability, aside from the oft-quoted environmental consequences. Throughout his tour, Pearlman makes sure to incorporate social issues with his environmental-based teachings in an effort to illustrate that sustainability is more than a one dimensional, environmental concept.

A well written article indeed. I look forward to getting a firsthand glimpse of Tel Aviv in the near future; I’ll post a follow-up upon my return.

(picture courtesy of Two Thumbs on flickr)

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