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Earth Etudes for Elul 5, Aleinu to Jews: Have Faith in the Future

by Mirele B. Goldsmith

As we strive to heal the earth and reverse the damage caused by climate change, I find hope in recognizing that we are part of the greatest movement in human history.  This movement crosses all borders and includes people of every nationality, race, and religion. Forced to confront a global challenge, we have come together.

During the COVID 19 pandemic, I’ve been praying more than ever before, and I have been inspired by the words of the Aleinu.  In the words of Rav Tiferet Berenbaum, Aleinu is a “pep rally” to get us motivated to go out into the world and do God’s will.  Originally composed for musaf  on Rosh Hashanah, its message of hope and confidence in the future was deemed so important that it was made the conclusion of every service. 

Aleinu starts with a reminder that God is yotzer breishit, creator of the world with which we are entrusted. It goes on to say that it is our role l’taken olam b’malchut Shaddai, to act with Godly purpose to repair the world.  And it reminds us that we have our unique role as Jews to play in this universal quest.  Finally, the Aleinu concludes with the promise that one day all people will come together in “sacred unity” – we will be united in our understanding that we are creatures who share one earth and whose destinies are interdependent. Bayom hahu, on that day, when we accept and behave in accordance with this immutable truth, we will live in peace with each other and in harmony with nature. Our great movement can bring about that day.

Mirele B. Goldsmith is co-chairperson of Jewish Earth Alliance, a national coalition empowering Jews to raise a moral voice for action on climate change to the US Congress.

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