On September 25, Pope Francis will speak to the United Nations General Assembly in New York City as the members determine the new Sustainable Development Goals. These goals will guide global leaders in finding a way forward for international development. The Sustainable Development Goals are being finalized this September ahead of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change happening in Paris this December. Both UN gatherings are happening in the wake of global temperature rise, sea level rise, increased droughts and flooding, all due to climate change.
This past weekend, I attended the Religions for Peace USA Earth-Faith-Peace Teach In with a group of my fellow young faith leaders engaged in climate justice work. The group included participants from a wide array of religious traditions, from Franciscans to Zoroastrians, who flew in to the Teach-In from as far as Bombay and Brazil, as nearby as Boston and Washington, D.C. Together, our group explored sites of environmental degradation and pollution, learned about cap and trade and carbon tax models for mitigating climate change and shared environmental education and advocacy best practices from our communities.
By Jennifer Queen
Though Pope Francis may not know it, he and the ancient rabbis have a lot in common. As I participated in the Interfaith Update on the Papal Encyclical webinar yesterday, Rabbi Tarfon’s words, “it’s not your obligation to finish the work, but neither are you free to desist from it,” from Pirkei Avot (2:15-16), continually came to mind. The conversation between Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner and Rachel Laser from the Religious Action Center, founder of the Catholic Climate Covenant Dan Misleh, and Mark Rohlena from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, unfolded around Laudato Si: Sulla cura della casa commune (or Praised Be You: On the care of the common home), Pope Francis’ encyclical, released in June.
By Rabbi Judy Schindler
Two weeks ago, Charlotte’s Briar Creek Road Baptist Church was a victim of arson. It is less than three and half miles from my home. Their children’s choir sang at our Beth El MLK service three years ago and my kids were close friends with the kids of their former minister, Dennis Hall. I was moved to worship with them the first Sunday after the fire. Read more…
By Joey Rosen
On the plane back from my Year-In-Israel as part of my first year of rabbinical school at HUC-JIR, I had the privilege of sitting next to a man who had participated in a Christian mission trip in Israel. It was a pleasure sharing with him my journey that led me to rabbinical school, a conversation he might have never had before. I also got to enjoy a different perspective on seeing Israel for the first time, as I had no previous knowledge of how a Christian mission trip to Israel works. But before he said ‘God Bless’ and dozed off for the nine hour flight, he made a comment to me about how the Christians of America were cheering for us in our war against the Muslims, who are polluting the land with violence and treachery. Read more…
By Jenn Queen
Combating climate change is a moral imperative. Faith leaders have been calling for better policies and encouraging better personal practices to turn the tide of climate change for years. This week, the Vatican released Pope Francis’ latest encyclical (a papal letter sent to all bishops of the Roman Catholic Church stating the Vatican’s position on a particular issue), which details a strong connection between faith and environmental stewardship.
Today, the Vatican released Pope Francis’s encyclical titled Laudato Si, which roughly translates to Praised Be. The encyclical details a theology of “integrated ecology” – connecting care for the poor with environmental stewardship – leading many to call this an eco-encyclical, and Pope Francis the Green Pope. The document details specifically the human causes of climate change and our sacred obligation to care for our earth and combat climate disruption.
By Micah Feinstein
Charleston, South Carolina is a quaint coastal city where many families, like mine, head for a reinvigorating weekend escape. Similarly, a house of worship is where one goes to find solace in times of need. On Wednesday night, June 17, 2015, a single gunman shot through this idyllic safe haven, opening fire on congregants attending a prayer meeting at one of the oldest black churches in the nation, Emanuel AME in Charleston, leaving nine dead and millions more with questions. Read more…