The Paris conference on Climate Change — which many view as the last chance for a coordinated world decision process to prevent climate chaos — convenes from Nov 30 to Dec. 11. What might be a useful Jewish response to the Paris conference?
The first night of Hanukkah is Sunday, December 6. Is there any way to create a nationally networked Hanukkah event? Should we think, for example, about “Hanukkah at the Lincoln Memorial” (or “Hanukkah at the White House” or “Hanukkah at the UN” or even “Hanukkah at Wall Street” ) on Decmber 6 and/or on a weekday further into Hanukkah?
How do we connect Hanukkah to the climate crisis? There are several of its themes that are relevant :
- For example, urging and organizing the Jewish community to urge that by next Shmita year (fall 2021), the US uses 1/8 the amount of oil we use now — “one day’s oil for 8 day’s needs.”
- For example, the Antiochuses of today are desecrating “Temple Earth" and we should become (nonviolent) Maccabees to rededicate the universal Temple to the God of life.
- For example, if this is a dark moment in human history, Hanukkah teaches us to light new light in a time of darkness.
- For example, the Menorah as a Tree unifying the sacred growth of adamah & the sacred handiwork of adam. (See Exod 25: 31-40 for its description, or the medieval depiction of the Green Menorah, above:)
Could we urge Jewish communities around the country to plan a Jewish event in their city for Dec 6—lighting "Green Menorahs for an Oil-conserving World," for a "Light in Time of Darkness Hanukkah, "etc.?
Could we live-link Hanukkah at the Lincoln Memorial or White House so that all around the country, people could join in lighting the Menorah, both hearing a national conversation and creating their own?
Taking into account the possibility (likelihood?) that the Paris Conference makes weak decisions, miight we prepare for a civil disobedience action on Monday, December 7? (That could fit the Hanukkah ethos as well — nonviolent Maccabees.)
I welcome your responses -- please write Hanukkah@theshalomcenter.org.
And if you want to give Mother Earth a pre-Hanukkah gift to help us work with you to light up the world in these dark times, please click on the "Donate" button in the left margin of this page. Thanks!