This September, just a few days before Rosh Hashanah, there will be a mammoth People’s Climate March in mid-town Manhattan, on Sunday, Sept. 21.
Imagine 100 shofar-blowers sounding forth the Ram’s Horn of warning and transformation at the head of a Jewish/ Multireligious contingent on the March!
(This graphic, “She Blew the Shofar,” is by Lynne Feldman. See her work at http://lynnefeldman.com/she-blew-the-shofar-2 ). All rights reserved. Published with permission.
Weeks ago, I took part in the first planning session for the March. About 230 people showed up –- from religious groups, labor unions, poverty-action groups, environmentalists, students, elders, health-care activists, and many more.
There was a very strong sense of excitement about both the numbers and diversity of people present, and a sense it will be possible to bring 200,000 people or more into the streets around one demand: “Climate Action Now!” (Participants may have their own signs, etc. There will be no civil disobedience as part of the March; if groups wish to take such action, they should do so the next day.)
Permit negotiations with the NY Police Department continue. Possible line of march (not yet certain) might be from Lincoln Square to Times Square to Union Square. There will be no “rally” with speakers, etc.
Buses, trains, car-pools, etc from beyond the five boroughs of NYC are welcome!
On Rosh Hashanah, just a few days later (starting Wednesday evening, Sept. 24) there begins not only the new year as it does every year, but a special year –- the biblical seventh year, the Sabbatical Year or Shmita (“release, non-attachment”).
The Shmita/ Sabbatical Year is intended to be a year of healing and freedom for the Earth, annulment of debts, an opening beyond the usual economic and political constrictions of human society — what might be called eco-social justice. (See Lev. 25 and Deut 15.)
How do we prepare to turn the ancient Shmita of farmers and shepherds toward healing for our wounded Earth today? The March itself is a first step – and it must not stop there. The Shalom Center will go forward with the Move Our Money/Protect Our Planet campaign, and is also planning a Ten City project to inspire and help organize nine more local networks of Jewish climate activists like JCAN, the Jewish Climate Action Network, in Boston.
Through study, through ourselves becoming the Great Shofar of history, we can learn to act together to prevent disaster and instead grow seeds of change into a flourishing world of shared and sustainable sustenance.
The graphic of the Shofar-blower in the fruitful fields symbolizes the Shofar that calls out, “Sleepers, Awake!”
“Awake to protect and heal the Earth!”
“Awake to protect the poor, the hungry, assailed by flood and famine!”
“Awake to heal YyyyHhhhWwwwHhhh, the Breath of Life, as it chokes from the overdose of CO2 burned into our world-wide breath, Earth’s atmosphere!”
So action is needed. Yet clear action, effective action, action deeply rooted in our spiritual selves, requires learning. So please take part in one of these learning opportunities. Learn in the midst of joy!