Tag Archives: Environment
scales of justice

From Fighting Climate Change to Fighting for Climate Justice

We often talk about climate change and environmental initiatives to combat the human-made disruption of our earth’s systems and exhaustion of its resources. However, while climate change is a threat that affects us all as sea levels rise and we experience more frequent extreme weather events, people of color and low-income people across the United States and the world will be disproportionately burdened by the most damaging impacts of a changing and less habitable climate. Less economically stable communities are unable to bounce back from the devastation to infrastructure caused by extreme weather events like Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy. Similarly, communities of color are significantly more likely to live near toxic waste facilities and to unequally come into contact with polluted air and water. Read more…

drawing of four sons of Passover

The Four Children of Climate Change

We often talk at the Seder about the Four Children: the Wise, Wicked, Simple, and Silent (or, as the last is often called, the One Who Does Not Know How To Ask). We see a little of ourselves in each child as we discuss their place in the Seder and how we explain to them the story of Passover. Do we tell them that we were there together at Sinai, including them in their legacy, or do we exclude them and criticize their apathy?

This year, as we consider Passover’s Four Children as we sit around the Seder table, let us discover and discuss the tension between our Jewish community’s obligation to “till and tend” the earth as God told humankind in the Garden of Eden, and the spectrum of beliefs that many may hold about climate change. Read more…

Anticipating Pope Francis’ Encyclical

It is difficult to find a person within the faith community who is not aware that Pope Francis is writing an encyclical letter (a high level of papal teaching) on the environment. Given his popularity, his choosing the name of Francis – the patron saint of those who promote ecology – and the fact that there has never been such a document in the history of the Catholic Church, it is not surprising that the anticipation is building.

But what might he say? Pope Francis has offered some ideas, and he will undoubtedly build on what has been said before, particularly on statements made by Pope Benedict XVI and Pope John Paul II. Read more…

Snowballs Aside: Climate Change Update

This past week Senator Inhofe, the chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, brought a snowball to the Senate floor to demonstrate that climate change was not real. As Jews, we believe in the importance of caring for our earth and passing it on from generation to generation as we pass on our tradition. We also know that just because winter is cold does not mean climate change is not real, happening now and effecting vulnerable communities and animals around the world.

Here are three things happening now that we should focus on instead of climate change denial: Read more…

Lighting Our Lamps With Oil

“You shall further instruct the Israelites to bring you clear oil of beaten olives for lighting, for kindling lamps regularly” reads the first sentence of this week’s Torah portion, Tetzaveh (Exodus 27:20). While immersed in teaching high school students at NFTY Convention and during L’Taken Social Justice Seminars about the connection between Judaism and environmentalism, reading this sentence struck me. This week’s parshah, which mostly focuses on priestly vestments and making the mishkan, or the Tabernacle, begins with a description of sacred oil. To my contemporary mind, oil translates as a non-renewable energy source that when burned in our cars and power plants produces greenhouse gases and accelerate climate disruption. Read more…

Education, Action, and Advocacy at NFTY Convention 2015!

Last week I joined the Religious Action Center’s programming team at NFTY Convention 2015 in Atlanta, GA to help lead a social justice track.

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This Passover: A Season of Justice for the Environment

Passover is my favorite time of year. More than exchanging presents on Hanukkah or blowing shofar by on the beaches of the Atlantic on Rosh Hashanah (my family’s tradition), Passover is when I am most able to connect with my family and my own Jewish values. While the extended meal and Seder lend themselves easily to close interpersonal and spiritual renewal, it’s the central concepts of Passover that make me return to this time of year again and again with excitement and energy; Passover is a holiday about social justice and freedom from oppression. It is an opportunity, among family and friends, to dig deeper into the issues of our time.

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Celebrate Purim with the Green Adar Challenge: Eco-Mishloach Manot!

Welcome to the Jewish Month of Adar! This month in the Jewish year we celebrate Purim by reading Megillat Esther, dressing up in costumes and sending our friends and families mishloach manot gift baskets. There are many ways to incorporate environmental themes into every holiday, from reading prayers for our earth in services to using recycled materials to make our costumes. Read more…

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