"Elijah's Covenant" --New Rabbinic Statement on the Climate Crisis

 

Elijah’s Covenant Between the Generations

to Heal Our Endangered Earth

 We Rabbis, Cantors, and other Jewish leaders and teachers,

see ourselves as the heirs of the ancient Hebrew Prophets,

including the last, whose words echo through the ages:

 “I [YHWH] will send you the Prophet Elijah to turn the hearts of

parents to children and the hearts of children to parents,

lest I come and utterly destroy the Earth.”

(Malachi 3: 23-24)

 For the first time in the history of Humanity, we are actually moving toward the burning and devastation of the web of life on Earth by human action -- the unremitting use of fossil fuels. Our children and grandchildren face deep misery and death unless we act. They have turned their hearts toward us. Our hearts, our minds, our arms and legs, are not yet turned toward them.

 Can we more fully turn our hearts to these our children?  It will mean:

1)     Studying Jewish wisdom and today’s truest science of Earth-Human relationships;

2)     Lifting up old prayers and new, old rituals and new, that celebrate Earth;

3)     Welcoming refugees who have fled the storms, floods, and famines that beset their homes because of global scorching;

4)     Urging our banks and our politicians to Move Our Money, Protect Our Planet (MOM/POP):  Move away from investments in and subsidies of Carbon Corporations and Protect by investing in renewable wind and solar energy;

5)     Persuading ourselves and our congregations and communities to move our own money, create solar-energy co-ops, establish car pools to lessen reliance on gas, and adopt additional modes of kashrut to include foods and energy sources that heal, not harm, our planet; 

6)     Joining our young people in urging our governments to legislate a swift and massive program that intertwines ecological sanity and social justice, as they were intertwined in the biblical practice of the Shemittah/ Sabbatical/ Seventh Year. (Lev. 25 and Deut. 15)

7)     Shaping all these efforts as expressions of joyful community, not fearful drudgery.

 The nearest analog to that ancient Shemittah practice to have brought together the hearts and minds of Youth and Elders today is the “Green New Deal.” Among its urgent demands:

1)    Swiftly end the burning of fossil fuels;

2)    Provide millions of well-paid new jobs to install the necessary network of renewable energy for an economy freed from the tyranny of carbon;

3)    Sustain those workers whose jobs disappear as we move from the old economy to the new one;

4) Empower neighborhoods of color and of entrenched poverty, indigenous peoples, and other marginalized communities that have already been suffering the worst impacts of fossil-fuel harm and dead-end economic despair;

5) Reforest Earth and defend our natural wildlife refuges;

6)Take carefully vetted steps to restore a climate as life-giving to our grandchildren as it was to our grandparents.

This social transformation is the fruit that can grow only from the roots of spiritual wisdom. We come back to the Ruach HaKodesh, the Holy Spirit, the Interbreath. In planetary terms, that Interbreath is the interchange of Oxygen and CO2 that keeps animals and plants alive. It is precisely that Interbreath that is now in crisis, as the over-manufacture of CO2 by burning fossil fuels overwhelms the ability of plants to transmute the CO2 to oxygen – and thus heats, scorches, burns our common home.

Our sacred task requires affirming not only the biological ecosystem but also a cultural/ social ecosystem  -- the modern word for how the diverse Images of God become ECHAD. Jews, Indigenous Nations, Christians, Muslims, Unitarians, Buddhists, Hindus, and many others –each community must bring their own unique wisdom to join, in the Name of the ONE Who is the Interbreathing Spirit of all life. Whose universal Breathing is the “nameless name,” the “still small voice” that supports and suffuses all the many diverse Names of God in many cultures and communities. That Interbreathing Spirit supports and suffuses all life on Planet Earth. 

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 As of November 8, besides the 58 Initiating Signers listed below, 293 other rabbis and spiritual leaders have signed. We will add them to this list as soon as logistically possible. We welcome not only rabbis but also cantors, hazzanim/ot, chaplains, rabbinic pastors, kohanot, spiritual directors, and students actually enrolled in seminaries or similar training/ learning programs pointed at these roles.

 To join in signing, the link is 

 https://theshalomcenter.org/civicrm/petition/sign?sid=30&reset=1

58 Initiating Signers: (Institutions are noted for identification only. In keeping with that understanding, officerships in those institutions are not noted.

Rabbi Howard Avruhm Addison, Graduate Theological Foundation

Rabbi Katy Allen, Jewish Climate Action Network, MA

Rabbi Phyllis Berman, ALEPH Mashpiah Faculty

Rabbi Ellen Bernstein, Shomrei Adamah emerita

Dr. Barbara Breitman, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College

Rabbi Sharon Brous, Ikar, Los Angeles

Cherie Brown, National Coalition-Building Institute

Rabbi Daniel Burstyn, Center for Creative Ecology, Kibbutz Lotan, Israel 

Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb, Interfaith Power and Light

Rabbi Elliot Dorff, American Jewish University

Rabbinic Pastor Kate Shulamit Fagan, Ohalah Rabbinic Pastor Program

Rabbi Randy Fleisher, Central Reform Congregation, St Louis

Rabbi Dr. Aubrey Glazer, Panui Institute & Shaare Zion, Montréal

Rabbi Shefa Gold, C-DEEP

Arlene Goldbard, The Shalom Center emerita

Rabbi Aaron Goldstein, Conference of Liberal Rabbis and Cantors, UK

Rabbi Arthur Green, Rabbinical School, Boston Hebrew College

Rabbi Yitz Greenberg, CLAL: National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership

Rabbi Jill Hammer, Kohenet Institute

Rabba Sara Hurwitz, Yeshivat Maharat

Rabbi David Ingber, Romemu, New York City

Rabbi Jill Jacobs, Truah: A Rabbinic Call for Human Rights

Rabbi Raachel Jurovics, OHALAH: The Association of Rabbis and Cantors for Jewish    

        Renewal

Hazan Jack Kessler, ALEPH Ordination Program

Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum,  Beit Simchat Torah, NYC

Dr. Joy Ladin, Stern College, Yeshiva University

Rabbi Michael Latz, Truah & Shir Tikvah, Minneapolis

Rabbi Michael Lerner, Tikkun

Rabbi Mordechai Liebling, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College

Rabbi Ellen Lippmann, Kolot Chayyeinu emerita

Yavilah McCoy, Dimensions Inc.

Ruth Messinger, American Jewish World Service

Rabbi Yonatan Neril, Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development, Israel

Rabbi Jeffrey Newman, Finchley Reform Synagogue, UK

Dr. Judith Plaskow, Manhattan College emerita

Rabbi Marcia Prager, ALEPH Ordination Program

Rabbi Josh Rabin, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism

Rabbi Danny Rich, Liberal Judaism, UK 

Rabbi Jeff Roth, Awakened Heart Project

Rabbi David Saperstein

Nigel Savage, Hazon

Rabbi Shalom Schachter, Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition, Ontario, Canada

Rabbi David Seidenberg, NeoHasid.org

Rabbi David Shneyer, Am Kolel, Washington DC area

Rabbi Daniel Siegel, ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal (Canada)

Rabbi Hanna Tiferet Siegel, ALEPH Mashpiah Faculty

Rabbi Susan Talve, Central Reform Congregation, St Louis

Rabbi David Teutsch, Reconstructing Judaism

Rabbi Arthur Waskow, The Shalom Center

Rabbi Deborah Waxman, Reconstructing Judaism

Rabbi Elyse Wechterman, Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association

Rabbi Levi Weiman-Kelman, Kol HaNeshama, Jerusalem

Rabbi Sheila Weinberg, Institute for Jewish Spirituality

Joey Weisenberg, Hadar's Rising Song Institute

Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, Masorti Judaism UK 

Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz, Uri L’Tzedek

Rabbi Shawn Zevit, Mishkan Shalom, Philadelphia  

 As of November 8, 293 other rabbis and spiritual leaders have signed. We will add them to this list as soon as logistically possible. We welcome not only rabbis but also cantors, hazzanim/ot, chaplains, rabbinic pastors, kohanot, spiritual directors, and students actually enrolled in seminaries or similar training/ learning programs pointed at these roles.

To sign, the link is 

https://theshalomcenter.org/civicrm/petition/sign?sid=30&reset=1

 

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