Get Dirty Fuels out of our Air & Water;
Get Dirty Money out of our Politics
At noon on Tuesday, July 20, there will be an interfaith gathering for lament, hope, and action on behalf of Mother Earth at Upper Senate Park on the Senate side of the United States Capitol in Washington.
Our basic demands: "Dirty Fuels Out of our Planet's Air & Water"; "Dirty Money Out of our Politics."
The date was chosen twice: a number of progressive and environmentalist organizations chose it because it is the third "monthiversary" of the Gulf oil blow-out, and in some providential or coincidental way, it is also Tisha B'Av, the traditional day for Jews to lament the Destruction of the Temples in Jerusalem 2000 and 2500 years ago -- and according to rabbinic teaching, the day when Mashiach (Messiah) was born. A moment when the wail of lament and the hopeful wailing of the newborn come together.
Today the sacred Temple of all peoples, all life-forms is the Earth itself.
The Shalom Center, working closely with Shomrei Adamah of Greater Washington, initiated the Jewish aspect of this effort, which has been endorsed and co-sponsored by Am Kolel and other Washington-area congregations and groups. The framework we will use (with modifications) for the vigil/ interfaith service/ action is a liturgy you can see on our Website here.
.Please let us know who and how many are coming from your community to Upper Senate Park by writing to us at LamentandHope@gmail.com, which is the email for Vinny Prell, staff coordinator for this effort. If you are planning to use or draw on this framework for your own event in your own region, either as a stand-alone event or integrated into your observance of Tisha B'Av, please let us know at Office@theshalomcenter.org
We will gather at a moment when the Senate will be struggling over whether or how to control the over-burning of fossil fuel that is bringing on climate crisis and endangering the web of life on Planet Earth.
We will mourn what is being destroyed and then move from grief to hope, from hope to action.
We will lament the disasters that we face, using the ancient wailing chant of Lamentations that Jews have used for millennia to mourn the destruction of the ancient temples in Jerusalem. cultures, all communities of faith and ethical commitment.
And then we will move from grief to hope. The very knowledge that disaster threatens our planet as a whole bears within it the seed of planetary community. We will sing the songs, chant the chants, recite together the Psalms that celebrate our great round home––the only home our human race can live in.
And we will call for action. We will face the Senate and call on them to take steps to heal our planet from the climate crisis we already live in -- and weave together the wonderfully varied, multicolored strands of human cultures and communities in this great effort that we can only do together.
We invite you to join in this interfaith affirmation––to pray not only with our voices but also with our arms and legs, as Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel once taught could be real prayer.
During mid-July, the United States Senate will be struggling over whether to pass a bill to take the first baby steps toward capping emissions of heat trapping gases, toward ending our addiction to burning fossil fuels beyond what our planet can absorb, toward ending our subjugation to the drug lords of this addiction -- Big Oil, Big Coal.
The corporate drug lords will be bringing all the money and pressure that they can, to bear upon the Senate. So we need to bring the bodies, minds, hearts, spirits of the people.
We will join our voices to the grief voiced by the Earth in places like the Gulf Coast, amid the oil-soaked deaths of pelicans and the fisherfolk way of life; the West Virginia mountains, demolished in the search for coal; the Amazon forest, burned for a few years worth of producing hamburger; the glaciers melting amidst the shattered lives of polar bears, penguins, and the Inuit; the stricken fields of Central Africa, where drought has triggered starvation, civil war, and genocide.
Yet even these are only precursors to the deadly scorching of our entire planet.
May the Unity we sense in the world, the Unity we seek in the world, bring us together in sacred unity through all our sacred diversities of life-forms and communities.
For books on eco-Judaism and eco-spirituality by Rabbi Arthur Waskow: Godwrestling — Round 2; Down-to-Earth Judaism; and Torah of the Earth -- click here for "Shouk Shalom,” our on-line bookstore.