by Judah Drelich
On Wednesday, Tivnu decided to go to the Columbia River Gorge for a group hike to Angel’s Rest, as part of the new hiking regime and in celebration of Tu B’shvat. It seemed like we had a real need for speed since we climbed the mountain really quickly, despite the high winds. After pushing for two hours, we were able to come upon some spectacular views looking over the Gorge into Washington state. Unfortunately, the wind was strongest at the top of mountain which was problematic because it felt like we were almost about to be blown off the summit. After that fast and furious hike we went to nearby Multnomah Falls to discuss the controversy of the spotted owl, as part of a greater discussion for Tu B’shvat on environmentalism and social justice.
The spotted owl was a major point of contention in the 1990’s for environmentalists and loggers. Over the years, the owl population had been dwindling and some conservationists wanted to keep put an end to that. Unfortunately, to do so would involve taking away land and consequently thousands of jobs from loggers who depend on the availability of trees for their livelihood. By using Jewish sources we were able to have an interesting debate on whether we thought that the spotted owl should be preserved or if the loggers have a legitimate case.
Later that day, PSU Professor of Urban Studies, Naomi Adiv, came by to give us the second lesson of a three part series on urban wealth and poverty. The homework for this session was a game called Spent which can be found at https://www.playspent.org/. This is a simulation of what it is like to live pay check to pay check with a minimum wage job, while still trying to take care of one’s self and one’s children. This, and the previous lessons, really gave us something to think about when it comes to poverty in America.