Elijah's Covenant Between the Generations
The Shalom Center has published a curriculum and ceremony for Bar/ Bat Mitzvah and confirmation-age youth and families, on how the younger and older generations can work together to heal the earth from the dangers of global climate crisis. Below you will find testimonials about it from leaders of Jewish education and action. Below that you will find a coupon for ordering copies of the 60-page "Elijah's Covenant Between The Generations," and below that the Introduction by Rabbis Arthur Waskow and Jeff Sultar.
"Elijah's Covenant" [Brit Eliyahu] looks like an exciting and creative educational venture. Congratulations to the Shalom Center for this positive contribution toward raising environmental awareness among Jewish young people."
Rabbi Arthur Green, Rector of the Rabbinical School, Hebrew College in Boston
"Classic texts, basic activism, treasure hunts, middle-school approaches to grown-up problems are woven together in this dynamic and user-friendly curriculum on our place in the physical world. In the most engaging of ways it teaches bnei mitzvah what being a Jewish adult is all about: digging into our tradition for the wisdom that inspires us, and translating it into the actions of our daily lives."
Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin, General Consultant, COEJL and Director, Baltimore Jewish Environmental Network
"An engaging, creative and spiritually rich curriculum linking Judaism and environmental activism. A welcome addition to the educator's toolbox for making our ancient tradition relevant to the modern world, it will help young people explore the Jewish theological, ritual and ethical realms of their idealism. Step by step, it leads students from the most basic Jewish prayer (Shema) to sophisticated environmental awareness, activism and advocacy."
Rabbi David Saperstein, Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.
"The Shalom Center's new curriculum--Elijah's Covenant--is a fabulous introduction for middle-schoolers to a Jewish approach to higher environmental consciousness. As the world heats up, we need to spread a lot more light via the education of our youth and this curriculum will be a great tool to do just that."
Rabbi Sid Schwarz, Founder/President PANIM: The Institute for Jewish Leadership and Values
"Finally, a curriculum that ignites the passion of our youth, calling them to the cause of caring for the Earth through spirituality."
Rabbi Erin Hirsh, Director of Education, Jewish Reconstructionist Federation
"What an extraordinary curriculum which allows students to engage in their own spiritual connections to God's earth, to study ancient Jewish texts with an environmental underpinnings and its ancient values and to act in their own Jewish communities through energy audits and practical changes to help green their own synagogue, Jewish school and home!
"I love how this curriculum builds upon a personal covenant --"brit adamah," and unique liturgy leading to a personal pledge to take responsibility to act and make a difference with a Jewish response to Climate Change. This curriculum also seeks to train young Jewish environmental activists who can voice their concern about legislation
and speak out in the world community!
"I believe this curriculum will help develop a generation of young Jews passionately connected to sustaining our sacred life on this earth with a great respect for all God's Creation."
Rabbi Warren Stone, Chair, Environment Committee, Central Conference of American Rabbis
"Elijah’s Covenant offers a most necessary spiritual and practical tool to help Jewish young people come of age in this ecological age. Yashar Koach to the Shalom Center for developing this excellent resource and moving ceremony to bring children and parents together, heart to heart, for the sake of the earth, the Jewish tradition and our selves."
Ellen Bernstein, Founder, Shomrei Adamah, author of The Splendor of Creation, Ecology & the Jewish Spirit, Let the Earth Teach You Torah.
"The Shalom Center has created a curriculum that speaks to the heart and soul of Bar/t Mitzvah students. How do we want to train those who are taking on the Mitzvot?
"We want them to think seriously about God in their own lives. We want them to feel commanded and have a serious encounter with Mitzvah. We want them to know that Judaism is not limited to one special day, but that it can be found in the laboratory, in the fields, in their own homes and in their synagogues.
"The Elijah’s Covenant Curriculum does that and more. It taps into a thirteen-year-old's idealism -- encouraging them to use their new adult powers to change the world while lovingly instructing them how to do just that. The intention of the curriculum might be to teach about conservation and protection of the environment but it also teaches the core lessons of coming of age as a Jew in the 21st century."
Rabbi Cherie Koller-Fox, co-founder of the Coalition for the Advancement of Jewish Education
"The sages declared: 'Which is greater, study or action? Study-- the study that leads to action...' Learning, prayer and ritual have the unique ability to focus our mental and spiritual energies, translating questions, hopes and dreams into concrete, public commitments. Nowhere is this better articulated than in the Shalom Center's Brit Eliyahu Curriculum and liturgy on the climate crisis.
"Just as we demand from our governments not vague pronouncements, but active policy changes in combating climate change, so too must we transform our lives to better sustain ourselves and the world we live in. This initiative can help us all go a long way in doing that, adding commitment and direction to lifecycle events, bringing the generations together, emphasizing our interdependence and the power of Jewish tradition to help us put the 'olam' back into 'tikkun olam'."
Dr. Jeremy Benstein, associate director of the Heschel Center for Environmental Learning and Leadership, Tel Aviv, and author of The Way Into Judaism and the Environment (Jewish Lights, 2006)
To: The Shalom Center, 6711 Lincoln Drive, Philadelphia PA 19119
___ Please send me this 60-page curriculum and ceremony. I include a check to The Shalom Center as follows: (All amounts shown cover postage.)
___ One copy, $19.95
___ Ten copies, $165.00
___ One hundred copies, $1,395.00
Send them to:
Between the Generations: Becoming Elijah
Some 2500 years ago, the prophet called Malachi – "My Messinger" -- called forth a vision of the future, at once ominous and hopeful, that has been seen in Jewish tradition as the last outcry of the classical Prophets:
"Here! -- I will send you Elijah the Prophet before the coming of that great and awesome day of YHWH, so that he will turn the hearts of the parents to the children and the hearts of the children to the parents, lest I come and strike the earth with utter destruction."
That outcry comes ringing down the millennia to us, who live in the generation when indeed the age-old web of life on earth is in deep danger. Of all the dangers facing us, the greatest seems to be that of global climate crisis.
Malachi's outcry calls on us to imagine ways in which the hearts of parents and children can turn toward each other, so as to prevent dire destruction of our earth and much of human society.
When can we take up the mission of Elijah, and how?
There is a singular moment in the spiral of life when the older and younger generations meet each other face to face. A moment when people meet across the generations, with full and open hearts. A moment when people are open to learning, and open to making commitments about how they want to walk their life-paths from that moment on.
At such a moment, both generations have the opportunity to consider the world that the older generation will bequeath to the younger, and what responsibilities and challenges the younger generation will inherit from the older. To turn their hearts toward each other.
This moment is the bar/bat mitzvah. (And, to a lesser degree, confirmation).
How can we make that moment one of facing a profound challenge that the older generation has wrought and the younger generation will inherit: the global climate crisis?
We must bring learning, ritual, and commitment to the preparation and enactment of this moment.
So The Shalom Center, through its Green Menorah Covenant Campaign, has developed a curriculum that is appropriate for bar/bat mitzvah preparation, as well as a ritual for the service itself that brings the generations face to face, heart to heart.
Please share with us your experience in using this ceremony and curriculum. Please send your feedback to Rabbi Jeff Sultar at firstname.lastname@example.org, or feel free to call him at (215) 438-2983. And thank you for helping us in this critical work.
Rabbi Jeff Sultar, Director, The Shalom Center’s Green Menorah Covenant Campaign
Rabbi Arthur Waskow. Director, The Shalom Center