Environmental Stewardship Can Be A Bridge

It is hard to believe that the non-profit organization I helped build has been closed for over a year. When my friend and I decided to form Faiths United for Sustainable Energy, we did so because we were frustrated with the level of engagement by religious communities in the public discourse related to energy, climate, and other environmental issues. While I was brainstorming on what I wanted to discuss this week on Jewcology, I began to think about the power of interfaith work focused on environmental stewardship and eco-spirituality. I decided to use my blog this month to relay a few stories and websites related to faith-based organizations doing work that users of Jewcology could appreciate. I was extremely excited to see that most of the organizations that were operating last year continue to do great work, and that several new faith-based environmental organizations have emerged.

I know that the goal of Jewcology is to “build a multi-denominations, multi generational, regionally diverse community of Jewish environmental activists who are learning from one another and from an expanding set of Jewish-environmental resources, how to educate their communities about our Jewish responsibility to protect the environment.” However, I hope we can also find inspiration to seek out and collaborate with other faith groups in our own communities when we are planning an event related to the environment, whether it is a Tu B'shvat celebration, a panel discussion on water conservation, or a themed movie night focused on sustainability. There are so many issues that can highlight the differences between different faiths, but environmental stewardship is an issue that can unite communities and help form a foundation of trust for discussions on other topics where common ground may be harder to find. On a broader scale, I also believe that faith communities are in a unique position to set an example for politicians around the world who are having trouble setting differences aside, and finding a way to work together to solve pressing environmental issues. I urge you to click through these links and spend a few minutes on each site.

I have also posted one of my favorite Hebrew songs below, titled "Kol Ha'Olam Kulo Gesher Tzar Meod," which translates into "The Whole World Is A Narrow Bridge," because I believe that environmental stewardship can act as the bridge between both faiths and nations in building a world that is not only more sustainable, but also more compassionate and understanding. As the song states, "the main thing is not to be afraid at all," which in this context means reaching out to our brothers and sisters of other faiths in an effort to build bridges with environmental stewardship.

Fasting to help save environment:

Evangelical Environmental Network: http://creationcare.org/

Interfaith Power and Light: http://interfaithpowerandlight.org/

GreenFaith: http://greenfaith.org/

Interfaith Environmental Network: http://www.interfaithenvironment.org/

Interfaith Environmental Initiative of Alabama: http://www.interfaithenvironmental.org/

Alliance of Religions and Conservation: http://arcworld.org/

Environmental activism of nuns profiled:



Kol Ha'olam kulo
Gesher Tsar me'od
Gesher Tsar me'od
Gesher Tsar me'od –
Kol Ha'olam kulo
Gesher Tsar me'od –
Gesher Tsar me'od.
Veha'ikar – veha'ikar
Lo lefached –
lo lefached klal.
Veha'ikar – veha'ikar
lo lefached klal

The whole world
is a very narrow bridge
a very narrow bridge
a very narrow bridge
The whole worldis a very narrow bridge –
A very narrow bridge.
And the main thing to recall –
is not to be afraid –
not to be afraid at all.
And the main thing to recall –
is not to be afraid at all.


From: http://www.hebrewsongs.com/song-kolhaolamkulo.htm

2 Replies to "Environmental Stewardship Can Be A Bridge"

  • Evonne Marzouk
    August 15, 2011 (12:33 pm)

    Jesse, thanks for these heartfelt thoughts. I agree that the Jewish community can connect with other faiths and be a model for bridging in a world that seems to get more and more fractured! Do you have any specific suggestions for common projects that we should explore?

  • David Arfa
    October 4, 2011 (9:53 pm)

    Hi Jesse, thanks for sharing this work. I agree whole heartedly! Multifaith, Multidenominational within Judaism, and even I sometimes work on pulling my own psyche together to be able to achieve a bigger goal! (smiles) As Reb Zalman says, the only way to get it together is together. David Arfa

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