Tag Archives: Environment
front door of the RAC, our year in blogs

2014 at the RAC: Our Year in Blogs  

The (secular) New Year brings new opportunities and new challenges in the world of Jewish social justice. The 114th Congress will convene on January 3, 2015 at noon. As we look towards what 2015 will bring, let’s take a moment to look back at 2014 through 14 RACBlog highlights.

This list is a mix of our most popular blogs or the blogs that represent landmark moments in our programming or observances. Don’t see your favorite blog here? Let us know in the comments! Read more…

Green Tevet Challenge: Recycle Your Electronics

Welcome to the Jewish month of Tevet and of course to the secular new year! I am anticipating a whole new year of personal, local, national and international environmental initiatives. Watching friends and family unwrap new phones, computers, TVs and new battery-operated kids’ toys this Hanukkah inspired me to choose but for reducing our waste output by recycling electronics this Tevet.

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Shedding Light on Lima: The Recent Climate Talks and the Urgency of 2015

By the Rev. Fletcher Harper and Paul Kaufman

For most of us, understanding the United Nations climate change negotiations is like trying to read an unknown foreign language in the dark.  In an effort to shed light on the process, we’ll share brief reflections on last week’s UN meetings in Lima, where Fletcher represented OurVoices, the international, multi-faith campaign for a strong climate agreement.

See 8 short videos – one for each night of Hanukkah – linking climate change to the holiday.

UN Atmosphere and Local Color Read more…

Eight Hanukkah Wishes For Our Environment

This year, as Hanukkah began, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change conference of parties in Lima, Peru wrapped up two weeks of international negotiations with guidelines for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adaptation to the present and immanent facts of climate disruption for populations around the globe. The conference in Lima is a precursor to a more formal and final round of negotiations on adapting to and mitigating the causes of climate change in Paris, France over Hanukkah 5776.

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The Hanukkah Model of Sustainability

By Rabbi Kevin M. Kleinman

Hanukkah is the Festival of Lights, and yet it takes place during the darkest time of the year. The Hanukkah story told in the Babylonian Talmud and repeated from generation to generation centers on the great miracle of light. The oil used in the menorah to rededicate the Temple after the Maccabbees’ victory was supposed to last for only one night, but instead it lasted for eight nights.  I’ll rephrase it this way: one day’s worth of oil provided eight days of light. Halleluyah!  It was a miracle indeed. A miracle of conservation. Who knew that Hanukkah could provide us with a model of sustainability?  Move over Tu B’shvat, Hanukkah is joining you on the climate justice train.

Jewish environmental leaders have been using this teaching about Hanukkah for several years to encourage households to switch from incandescent to compact florescent light bulbs during Hanukkah. RAC legislative assistant Liya Rechtman wrote about this connection on this blog a few weeks ago. Looking for a last minute holiday gift? How about giving the gift of reducing carbon emissions, in the form of a light bulb?

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What Parashat Vayeishev Teaches Us About Going Green

By Cantor Ross Wolman

In this week’s parashah, Vayeishev, we read the story of Tamar’s struggle in the house of Judah (Genesis 38). Tamar marries Judah’s eldest son and he dies. Through the biblical law of levirate marriage, she is obligated to marry his younger brother so that his name may continue. When that brother dies, Tamar must marry another younger brother but Judah is reluctant to send her to him as two of his sons have died while married to her.

Time passes, Judah’s wife dies, and Tamar takes cunning action. She hears Judah is away from home and she dresses seductively as a prostitute, disguising her identity. Judah lays with Tamar and she becomes pregnant. He gives her his seal and cord (like an ID) as collateral until she receives payment.

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Thinking Climate in Winter

It’s easy to talk about global warming when it’s sweltering hot outside and everyone is sweating during the summer, especially in a summer like 2014, which was the hottest ever on record. Once we’re all bundled up in gloves and scarves, drinking hot tea, it’s a little harder to be heard when you’re talking about how global temperatures and rising quickly and dangerously. Just because it’s seasonally colder out doesn’t mean that climate change is less of a global disaster.

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The Faith Community Confronts Climate Change: It’s No Longer Debatable

By Paul Kaufman

And God said, “Let Us make man in Our image…and let them have dominion…over all the earth….” With these words in Genesis 1:27-28, God assigns to humankind the responsibility for caring for the planet. Genesis 2:15 also emphasizes our responsibility to protect the integrity of the environment so that its diverse species, including humans, can thrive: “The human being was placed in the Garden of Eden to till it and to tend it.” Similarly, Jewish tradition teaches us that human dominion over nature does not include a license to abuse the environment.

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