Says an old Southern Black song: "God gave Noah the Rainbow Sign; No more water, the fire next time!" In our generation, the Flood of Fire has come upon us in the climate crisis of global scorching and rising of the seas.
We ourselves -- all of us -- must "build the Ark" to save humanity and all endangered life-forms. The only Ark capable of saving all our lives is Earth herself. The Rainbow Sign calls us to this work of transformation.
This fall, Shabbat Noach -- when Jews around the world read the Torah portion about the Flood, Noah, the Ark, and the Rainbow -- comes on October 8-9. And Sunday, October 10, is the day when Bill McKibben of 350.org and many other experts on the global climate crisis have called for world-wide actions to protect our planet from climate disaster.
In support of what we can feel, think, and do that week, The Shalom Center partnered with Lawrence Bush, editor of Jewish Currents http://jewishcurrents.org to create another amazing video -- "Rainbow Sign -- Shabbat Noach." "Rainbow Sign" celebrates the beauty of our Earth in such a way as to stimulate our action, not our pity. It's now on YouTube and on the Video section of our website. Click here to watch.
The Torah passage about the Flood and Noah's activism in building the Ark lends itself to focusing on the danger to life on our planet, and also on the actions we need to take to prevent destruction and preserve the web of life in which the human race has emerged and created civilization.
Another video -- entitled "From Rainbow Sign to Climate Policy" --
suggests what approaches we might take to "greening" our social, economic, and political systems as well as our homes and congregations. Click here.
So we --- both national and grass-roots leaders of the Jewish people -- urge all Jewish communities to observe Shabbat Noach as "Earth-Healing Shabbat" with special prayers, sermons, Torah commentary/ midrash, songs, lectures, debates, panel discussions, resolutions, meals, nature-walks, stories for children, invitations to public officials and environmental activists, and other means of bringing Jewish commitment to bear on healing the earth from the dangers that over-use of fossil fuels is bringing upon us all.
We invite those of all religious, spiritual, and ethical traditions to join as well at this time of year.
The Earth cries out to us for action:
Russia burns, Pakistan drowns. The cause is the same: In one place, air surcharged with heat dries up the ground, peat bogs burst into flame. In another place, air surcharged with heat picks up and holds more water vapor, & then releases it in a disastrous Flood.
Almost daily reports of widespread droughts, floods, storms, wildfires; melting polar ice caps, mountain snow caps, & glaciers; and the forced migration of invasive species and diseases into new territories all cry out to us for action.
Torah cries out to us for action.
As Jews we must act more vigorously, not only in private and communal households but in shaping public policy to celebrate and heal the web of life.
God calls out to us for action.
All the great religious traditions of the Earth call on us all to heal and protect God's Creation: the Earth.
We urge our own members and all who join in their own faithful and ethical commitments to contact local clergy, teachers, journalists, and communal leaders to plan "Earth-Healing Shabbat" events that will make this Shabbat (and if you wish the days just before and after it) the beginning of a truly transformative time.
We call on us all not only to green our own households and communal buildings but also to work for major public policy changes away from fossil fuels and toward shifts in energy use, transportation, food production, housing, and other dimensions of our society.
Religious teachings about caring for the poor also guide us to make sure that industries and regions especially affected must get help from the whole society, and that poor countries also get special help to develop on a non-fossil path and to ward off the destructive effects of climate change.
What the Shalom Center-Jewish Currents video brings us is the beauty of our earth and of the Rainbow Sign in a way that helps us move into action. Remember to watch here.
There is also a treasure of midrash, essays, and action-suggestions for Shabbat Noach on our own website here.
and scroll down to "Noah."
and at the site of COEJL, the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, by clicking here. http://www.coejl.org/shabbat_noach.php
For ideas and sharing about 10/10/10 see http://www.350.org/