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When Pesach & Earth Day Coincide

Dear chevra,

On Monday night exactly one week before the first Pesach Seder, The Shalom Center sponsored an Interfaith Seder for the Earth. It was held at Mother Bethel AME Church in Philadelphia, the first independent Black church in American history. The weave of blessings, poetic texts from several religious and secular-ethical traditions, bursts of song, excellent vegetarian food, and activist letter-writing to several crucial Federal and state officials about fracking and the climate crisis was very powerful, and joyful rather than a “downer.”

Earth Day is April 22, the fourth day of Pesach. Thursday evening April 21 or Friday evening April 22 would be perfect times to use the Seder for the Earth. A downloadable, easily printable copy with an extraordinary full-color graphic cover is available on our website here:

http://www.theshalomcenter.org/haggadah-for-the-earth

Other essays on the connections between Passover and the healing of the Earth are on our Home Page at http://www.theshalomcenter.org

In our new book, Freedom Journeys: The Tale of Exodus and Wilderness Across Millennia, Rabbi Phyllis Berman and I explore the connection of the plagues Pharaoh brought upon the land with the ecological disasters of our own generation. We point toward the need not only for overcoming the "pharaohs" of our day (e.g. Big Coal, Big Oil, and their governmental allies) but for shaping a new planetary community. The book might be helpful in your own planning for Passover/Earth Day. It is available here:


https://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/602/t/4180/shop/shop.jsp?storefront_KEY=698

Blessings on your efforts toward a world of fuller freedom ––

Shalom, salaam, shantih – peace!

Rabbi Arthur Waskow

Member since 2010
Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Ph. D., founded (1983) and directs The Shalom Center https://theshalomcenter.org In 2014 he was honored by T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights with their first Lifetime Achievement Award as a “Human Rights Hero.” In 2015 he was named by The Forward one of the “most inspiring” American rabbis. Beginning in 1969 with writing the original Freedom Seder and continuing with his seminal work as editor of New Menorah magazine and author of Godwrestling (1978) and Seasons of Our Joy (1982), he has been a leader of the movement for Jewish political and spiritual renewal. Waskow pioneered in the development of Eco-Judaism in theology, liturgy, daily practice, and activism -- • through his books Seasons of Our Joy; Godwrestling – Round 2; Down-to-Earth Judaism; Trees, Earth, & Torah: A Tu B’Shvat Anthology; and Torah of the Earth: 4,000 Years of Ecology in Jewish Thought; • as author of a pioneering essay on “Jewish Environmental Ethics: Adam and Adamah,” in Oxford Handbook of Jewish Ethics and Morality (Elliot N. Dorff and Jonathan K. Crane, eds.; Oxford University Press, 2013); • through the Green Menorah organizing project of The Shalom Center; • through the Interfaith Freedom Seder for the Earth and a number of climate-focused public actions drawing on and transforming traditional liturgies for Tu B’Shvat, Passover/ Palm Sunday, Tisha B’Av, Sukkot, and Hanukkah; • as a candidate for the World Zionist Congress on the Green Zionist Alliance slate; • as a participant and speaker in the World Interfaith Summit on the Climate Crisis called by the Archbishop of Sweden in Uppsala in 2008; • as a founding member (2010-2013) of the stewardship committee of the Green Hevra (a network of Jewish environmental organizations); • as a member of the coordinating committee of Interfaith Moral Action on Climate; • and as a practitioner of nonviolent civil disobedience who has been arrested in climate protests in the US Capitol, at the White House, and has undertaken civil disobedience at Philadelphia conclaves of fracking corporate leaders.
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