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Climate Action at White House on Jan 15

Acting for The Shalom Center, I have been named to the steering committee of Interfaith Moral Action on Climate (IMAC ).

IMAC has a major project under way that may be especially interesting to environmentally committed members of the Jewish community.

IMAC is planning a prayerful gathering the afternoon of January 15 at the White House to call on the President to take five steps on the climate crisis:

1. Permanently refuse permits for the XL Tar Sands pipeline, because tar-oil is among the most dangerous of the planet-heating forms of carbon.

2. Speak in a major national address on climate change as a crucial issue facing the US, the human race, and our planet.

3. Call a National Summit Conference on the Climate Crisis that includes leaders of business, labor, academia, religious communities, governmental officialdom, science, and other relevant bodies.

4. Present Congress with a legislative program addressing the crisis, beginning with ending subsidies to Big Carbon and creating fuller subsidies for research, development, and use of renewable/ sustainable energy sources.

5. Press Congress to set a fee on carbon, with proceeds to be shared to make sure that working families and the poor are not damaged by higher carbon prices.

January 15 is the actual birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the action will be carried out in the spirit of his work. It is also just 2 weeks after the 40th yohrzeit of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, Dr. King's close co-worker, . and we will be honoring him as well. Some who gather at the White House will risk arrest by taking on a prayerful posture rooted in their own traditions (e.g. kneeling for some, an Amidah posture for others, etc.) that violates the conventional regulations covering the White House fence area. Others will provide a prayerful support presence.

We are open to input on the five points above and to participation in the process of organizing this event so that it is as large and effective as possible.

If you are interested in further information on this action, or in taking part, please write me at Awaskow@theshalomcenter.org

Shalom, Rabbi Arthur Waskow, director, The Shalom Center; member of the Stewardship Committee of the Green Hevra.


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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