For the last month, letters have been coming in to us thanking us for the content and tone of our Shalom Reports and our other letters as Pesach approached.
Those letters have stirred our souls, warmed our hearts, and stimulated our minds into new work for healing our deeply wounded Mother Earth. Thank you!
Yet few of those who wrote those letters have also helped out with the gifts of money that make our work possible. None of these letters that so many of you like could come to you unless we were paying bills of various sorts.
It occurred to me that while from your vantage point your gifts are just money, with no reality beyond the bank – from our standpoint your gifts are actually flesh, blood, mind, and spirit.
So I thought to let you know what the gifts actually mean in terms of my own time and schedule. Beginning on Monday, March 10, this was what made up my world:
March 10, 10:30 am to 2;30 pm, Nonviolent protest at Federal Bldg in Phila against plans for the Tar Sands Pipeline. I roll under police barricades to seek arrest; but police — facing continuing nonviolence — back off and stop making arrests.
March 11, writing & sending Shalom Report on the Tar Sands Pipeline protest.
March 11, 7:15 pm, meeting of Philadelphia chapter of Interfaith Power & Light.
March 13, first mailing to Rabbis, Cantor, & other Jewish spiritual leaders with a proposal for a Rabbinic Call to Move Our Money/Protect Our Planet. (Drafting and redrafting the Call and inviting some Rabbis to become Initiating Signers had begun in February.)
March 17, First Shalom Report review of ways to give new life and meaning to Passover.
March 18, writing & sending Shalom Report on Elijah’s Covenant Between the Generations to prevent the world from becoming a “furnace” (from the passage of the Prophet Malachi read on the Shabbat before Passover).
March 17-19, Consulting with existing & emerging Jewish groups in Boston and Washington on organizing workshops there on Jewish responses to the climate crisis; writing & ending announcements of these workshops.
March 21, Writing & sending a Shalom Report assessing efforts by Carbon Pharaohs to use the Ukraine crisis as an excuse to frack more “unnatural gas” to ship to Europe.
March 24, Thru Shalom Report, sharing & responding to major NY Times column by Gail Collins on Gloria Steinem’s 80th birthday and The Shalom Center’s celebration with her.
March 24, 8:30 am, along with other members of Philadelphia Board of Rabbis, unprecedentedly cordial meeting with new head of the Philadelphia Jewish Federation.
March 24, 10:30- 5:30 trip to DC to meet with leader of interfaith public policy organization to discuss including Climate issues in their work on poverty.
March 25, 10:30 am, in NYC meet Jewish leader to discuss .responses to climate disasters Can post-disaster relief & reconstruction be connected w/ public advocacy to prevent disasters?
March 25, 6 pm, In NYC, receive T’ruah award for “Lifetime Achievement” in human rights work; in response, speak on affirming and healing Earth’s web of life inluding but not limited to “human” rights.
March 25, 30, 31, & April 1, Mailings to our Washington, Philadelphia, & Boston Email lists on actions and workshops planned for those places.
March 26, Conference phone call of steering committee, Interfaith Moral Action on Climate, to discuss proposal for broadening religious community involvement in climate advocacy.
March 28- 30, Boston: March 28, 1 pm, meet with leading Christian climate activist to discuss broadening religious community involvement in climate advocacy.
March 28, 7 pm, Speak at Boston-area synagogue Eve-of-Shabbat services on Jewish responses to climate crisis.
March 30 – Meet with newly formed Boston Jewish Climate Action Network to discuss Move Our Money/Protect Our Planet as a jewish response to climate crisis.
April 1—10 am, NYC: Meeting w/ foundation exec about The Shalom Center program on climate.
April 1, 3:30 pm: Meeting with NYU students about Jewish activism on climate.
April 2 — Speaking at National Museum of American Jewish History for its 2d annual “Freedom Seder Revisited” gathering.
April 3, Writing & sending Shalom Report on Supreme Court’s decision allowing extremely wealthy people to distort election campaigns by pouring enormous amounts of money into them. Showing how this action fits into the long memory of oppressive top-down power going back to Pharaoh.
April 4. Writing & sending Shalom Report on anniversary of Martin Luther King’s death, urging that Passover Seders address both Mass Incarceration and Climate Crisis, two concerns that would have been urgent to him.
April 3-7, phone & face-to-face meetings to plan Interfaith Power & Light action before Passover & Palm Sunday.
April 6, 2:30-6 pm, in Washington DC area: co-leading workshop on Jewish climate activism with 19 “trainees.”
April 7, Writing & sending a Shalom Report proposing a new way of thinking about charoset — the paste of chopped fruits, nuts, spices, and wine that is eaten at the Passover Seder — that I connected with the Song of Songs, the most earthy & erotic book of the Bible.
April 10, Noon to 1 pm, speaking at vigorous gathering of 100 people at offices of “Carbon Pharaohs” to demand end to drilling and shipping shale oil and gas throughout USA and to demand action to prevent disastrous oil-train explosion in Philadelphia.
April 14, Writing & sending a Shalom Report on the role of first-borns and rebirth in Passover and in my own life with my brother.
So that is a month of Shalom Center thought and action, bringing the deepest lessons of Jewish tradition about healing the Earth into the Jewish community, and also bringing Jewish wisdom into the broadest sharing through Interfaith coalitions.
Those of you who have made gifts to The Shalom Center -—those teachings and those actions are the real gifts of flesh, blood, and breath that you have given.
Those of you who have not recently made a (tax-deductible) gift –— continuing that work depends on your making those gifts.
We need your help. Please click on the maroon “Donate” button on the left-hand column of our website to join your hands in this crucial work to prevent disaster, heal our planet –- and create a new world of shared and sustainable abundance