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The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument was created in 1996. It was long overdue. The monument (And it should be a full-fledged National Park, IMHO.), preserves the most single significant block of Cretaceous strata in the world, numerous exquisite arches and slot canyons of exceptional size and beauty, tremendous geological faults, colorful, spectacular rock formations, fossilized animals and plants, and irreplaceable Native American relics and structures. The area is still being explored and more of these and other wonders are being located each year.
This excellent book covers all of these matters and more in considerable written detail. Magnificent color photography follows the text and lays open this wonderful country for all to see. The text is carefully drafted, and the photos follow the text very well.
If you never have the good fortune to visit this area, this book will give a very fine glimpse into the need for its preservation. If you have visited it, as I have, the book will evoke countless pleasant memories. IF YOU ARE GOING TO VISIT IT, for the first time, or on a repeat basis, read this book thoroughly to make intelligent decision about what to see and do, since you can't possibly see it all in one trip.
This book receives the highest recommendation.
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Along with Russell Blaylock's book Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills, this book is very useful to read for you to decide if you want to consume this artificial sweetner. There is even some evidence afloat that substituting diet sweetners doesn't actually lead to any appreciable weight loss, and that the mere taste of sweetness is interpreted by the brain as having EATEN a real sweet, and weight gain can occur. There are other concerns that aspartame and MSG have neurological effects.
Aspartame has crept into so many commercially prepared foods; even foods with sucrose sometimes have added aspartame. It's also found in vitamin drinks, gums and many other products. In fact it is getting darn hard to avoid.
In any case, there are fine alternatives to aspartame: if you are diabetic, you of course must limit carbohydrates, especially sweets. If you just substituting something for sugar because you are dieting, try substituting stevia extract (a sweet tasting herb found in some healthfood stores) or using a small amount of raw sugar or honey and just limiting your sweet intake. The less sweets you eat, the less you'll want, and you'll start to notice and enjoy the natural sweetness of fruits and even vegetables.
If you read this book, you'll also get a lot out of Blaylock's book on Excitotoxins. Both are essential reading to anyone who is concerned about their diet.
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My 8 year old was very curious about this book. I could let her read some of it, but since she has not yet learned division and multiplication, the section on probability would be completely lost on her, which is a shame, since the probability theory so well explains unusual events. This is important, since so many superstitious people would attribute the unusual events to something superstitious; using probability to explain these events defuses their so-called "proofs".
My daughter will have to wait for a while, but she will definitely read it when she is older (and so will my other - younger - daughters). This is a must for every schoolkid 10 or older (actually, it's a must for just about anybody with any superstitious tendencies, including those who believe in horoscopes).
If you use self-injury in your life, you will find yourself saying "She's just like me!" countless times. Being able to do this is a great relief.
I learned that self-injury is in fact a creative method of dealing with intolerable situations, and I realized that it in fact served a valuable, LIFE SAVING purpose in my life. I know this sounds absurd to people who cannot imagine self-injury at all, but believe me, please, it is true. I also learned that its value to me properly diminished as I acquired new, safer ways to deal with the overwhelming memories of my past. This book, in combination with therapy, gave me ideas and tools for retiring my old, dangerous, yet valuable ways of dealing with my feelings.
Thanks to Jane Wegscheider Hyman and the fifteen women she interviewed.
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This book is invaluable when your nonprofit is going through any form of strategic restructuing, up to and including mergers. As someone who has participated in nonprofit merger negotiations--both as a consultant and a board member representing a nonprofit--I believe this book can make the difference between success and failure.
Not only does David La Piana talk the talk in this book, he has also walked the walk. As an Executive Director of a nonprofit for many years--and having successfully led that organization through several mergers--La Piana understands the realities facing nonprofit managers and board members. His approach to strategic restructuring is pragmatic, and has enabled his consulting firm to become THE experts on nonprofit mergers in the country.
Even if you're just thinking about restructuring your nonprofit, buy this book!! You will save your nonprofit time, money, and energy, as well as protect your own sanity during the process.
Shawn Reifsteck (Masters in Nonprofit Administration)
CEO, Philanthropy Associates
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Waskow's essay becomes the framework for arranging the rest of the book like a growing tree. After all, the Torah is called a "Tree of Life"! The "roots" of Tu B'Shevat are found in biblical Judaism, the strong "trunk" was formed in rabbinical Judaism, and the "branches" are various post-Talmudic movements such as Kabbalah and Hasidism, Zionism and the Land of Israel, modern Eco-Judaism, etc. Finally, there is a section on the Festival itself, which includes a variety of essays, songs, and other resources for celebrating the holiday.
Parts of this book are heavy on the "Jewish Renewal" POV, which is not surprising, since the "eco-kosher" movement began in that circle. Some of the material, such as the "Olamama" love song to Mother Earth by Hannah Tiferet, is a bit too neo-pagan for my Orthodox tastes. And while "The Bear in Me" is a nice idea for a song about nature waking up in the spring, the words "There's a bear hibernating in the crook of a tree" are not true to life -- unless the tree is meant to be a metaphor for Tu B'Shevat. Real bears do not hibernate in trees!
On the other hand, there's quite a bit of traditional material, too -- some of it never before published in English. Of special interest to me are a translation of the Ari's 16th-century kabbalistic version of the Tu B'Shevat seder, and a translation of a "lost" medieval poem called "Shemona Esrei of the Trees." The latter was unknown in modern times until it was re-discovered among the manuscripts that Solomon Schechter brought back from the Cairo genizah in 1896. It continued to languish in the obscurity of academe until Joyce Galaski fell in love with it and did this translation. The poem, which is believed to date to around the 10th or 11th century, is the oldest known liturgical piece based on this festival. Not only that, it's beautiful! (The Hebrew text of the poem is also included.)
The rabbinical "trunk" section has two excellent pieces on the halachic principle of "bal taschit" ("you shall not destroy") and how it was expanded from a biblical prohibition against cutting down fruit trees in times of war (Deut. 20:19-20) into a general prohibition against vandalism, wastefulness, conspicuous consumption, and any unnecessary destruction of resources.
These examples are only a tiny nibble of the many gourmet tastes of Torah to be sampled in "Trees, Earth, and Torah." Like all such anthologies, it's definitely a mixed bowl of fruit, some sweeter than others. Taken as a whole, however, the book is a wonderful feast! It should be in every Jewish library.
Since Tu B'Shvat is arguably the most vegetarian of Jewish holidays because of its many connections to vegetarian themes and concepts, vegetarians should joyfully welcome the publication of this anthology with its abundance of material that should contribute to the increasing popularity of this mid-winter holiday. All who are looking for ways to apply new, creative approaches to ancient festivals should also be pleased.
Among the following valuable and interesting features the book contains are:
1) An introductory essay by Arthur Waskow that traces Tu B'Shvat's growth throughout history from its original status as a day that separated trees in terms of when tithings were due, through the establishment of the Tu B'Shvat seder by the kabbalists of Sefat in the sixteenth century, through the associations with tree-planting of nineteenth century Zionists, to recent adaptations by modern environmentalists;
2) Quotations related to trees and other Tu B'Shvat-related concepts from the Torah and other Jewish sources;
3) Material related to rabbinic dicussions related to Tu B'Shvat, including a recently discovered medieval prayer, "Shmoneh Esrei for the New Year for Trees," and insightful essays on bal tashchit, the mandate to not waste or unnecessarily destroy anything of value, based on a Torah verse not to destroy fruit-bearing trees in wartime, by Rabbi Norman Lamm, President of Yeshiva University, and by Eilon Schwartz, Director of the Heschel Center for Environmental Learning and Leadership in Israel.
4) Seven items relating kabbalah and hasidism to Tu B'Shvat, including a translation of "Peri Eitz Hadar," a kabbalistic Tu B'Shvat seder.
5) Five items relating Tu B'Shvat to Zionism and the land of Israel, including an extensive analysis of how the Jewish National Fund (Keren Kayemet le-Yisrael) used tree plantings on Tu B'Shvat to educate young Israelis on love of the land of Israel and nature.
6) Thirteen wide-ranging items on connections between Tu B'Shvat themes and "eco-Judaism' and current environmental problems, including essays relating the holiday to recent efforts to save the Redwood forests and an analysis of current environmental threats by Ismar Schorsch, Chancellor of the Jewish Theological seminaryt.
7) Much wonderful material to help celebrate Tu B'Shvat today, including blessings for the seder, suggestions for cooking up a Tu B'Shvat seder, suggestions to involve children in the Tu B'Shvat seder and other holiday-related activities, suggestions about planting and taking care of trees, suggestions about new Tu B'Shvat traditions, recipes, and songs.
8) An article co-authored by Jonathan Wolf and this author on "Judaism, Vegetarianism, and Tu B'Shvat," which discusses aspects of "the most vegetarian holiday".
9) Sources for Learning and Doing ("Seeds"), including a listing of "Environmental Organizations, Publications, and Videos," a discussion of several Tu B'Shvat seder Haggadot, and sources for information about tree planting.
This brief summary can only give a taste of the many "fruity" delights in this book, and I regret having to leave out mention of many significant themes and distinguished authors. Because of its many environmental and vegetarian connections, I hope that this wonderful anthology will be widely read and discussed so that it will meet its potential to play a major role in the expansion and enhancement of an increasingly popular Tu B'Shva
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