By Rabbi Steve Gutow
Inside and outside the pages of this guide, you will read and continue to read about bad things happening — to our Earth, to our fellow people, to our collective spirit — and, though we may wish it away, bad things likely will continue to happen for a very long time to come. This, of course, is discouraging, leading many among us to give up and forget about addressing these problems. But that would be a mistake. After all, it is our Jewish responsibility to help repair the world. That is, indeed, why we, as Jews, are here — to try to make life better. And not just better for our friends and families, or for the 300 million Americans, but for the seven billion residents of Earth.
If we have no choice but to try to repair the world, the questions then become, can we succeed, and if so, how do we do it? From experience, I can tell you that yes, we can make a difference. It’s not always easy, and it’s not always fast, but if we work together — if we unite our voices, so that the sound we make is not that of a single person shouting a thousand times but that of thousands of voices shouting all at once, we will be heard. And if we do it right, the whole Earth can shake.
Rabbi Steve Gutow is the president and CEO of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and the co-chair of the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life. He has advocated that the government end the genocide in Darfur, reform immigration policy, support Israel, protect individual rights, maintain and enhance anti-poverty programs, and create a sustainable environment. Named by Newsweek as one of the country’s 20 most influential rabbis, Gutow founded the National Jewish Democratic Council and has served in leadership positions at the American Jewish Congress and Texas Civil Liberties Union. He served as rabbi of the Reconstructionist Minyan of St. Louis and he taught law at St. Louis University.
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.
Sign up here to join the Jewish Energy Network and receive weekly articles from the Jewish Energy Guide.