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Jewish Energy Guide – Rosh Hashanah: Wake Up and Take Action

Summary: Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, Executive Vice President of the Rabbinical Assembly, issues a wake-up call on climate change for Rosh Hashanah.

Hayom harat olam — today the world is conceived. The midrash teaches us that on Rosh Hashanah the world was first created. And Rosh Hashanah is, in some ways, a giant birthday party — filled with pageantry, food and a gathering of friends and family. But in contrast to how birthdays and New Year’s Eve are celebrated in secular society, hayom harat olam signals a sense of serious reflection. Rosh Hashanah is, after all, when all of creation is called to judgment. It is the day on which we are called to take stock of our actions.


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Rabbi Julie Schonfeld is the executive vice president of the Rabbinical Assembly. She has advanced numerous landmark projects of the Conservative rabbinate, including a study of women rabbis that was released in 2004, and follow-up programs to further the career advancement of female clergy. In 2008 Schonfeld was named as the Rabbinical Assembly’s liaison to the Hekhsher Tzedek ethical-certification initiative. She was named one of the 50 most influential rabbis by Newsweek and one of the 50 most-influential American Jews by The Forward.

The Jewish Energy Guide presents a comprehensive Jewish approach to the challenges of energy security and climate change and offers a blueprint for the Jewish community to achieve a 14% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by September of 2014, which is the next Shmittah, or sabbatical, year in the Jewish calendar.

The Jewish Energy Guide is part of COEJL’s Jewish Energy Network, a collaborative effort with Jewcology’s Year of Action to engage Jews in energy action and advocacy. The guide was created in partnership with the Green Zionist Alliance.

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