When we think about the climate crisis, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the scale of the challenge, and skeptical of our capacity as individuals to make a meaningful difference.
Dayenu Circles—small groups of people working on climate action—are a way for you to make powerful, positive change with a Jewish voice. Together with just a few friends, fellow community members, or neighbors you can join or create a Dayenu Circle that can be your homebase for climate action. Whether you’ve arrived at this moment with more questions than answers, or have spent years advocating for climate action, a Dayenu Circle is a way for you to channel your passion and concern together with others. Working in concert with other Dayenu Circles across the country you can advance significant national climate policy while also working locally within your community.
We do this work together not only to take effective action to confront the climate crisis, but to sustain ourselves and our spirits as we act. A Dayenu Circle can provide a center of gravity, enabling us to align Jewish values with the change we seek to make in the world. Rooted in community and drawing on Jewish wisdom and experience supports us as we move from fear and anxiety to courageous action.
What is Dayenu?
Dayenu is a multi-generational movement of American Jews confronting the climate crisis with spiritual audacity and bold political action. Dayenu Circles across the country enable us to mobilize overwhelming Jewish support for climate solutions and raise up a spiritual, religious, and moral voice in response to the climate crisis.
We care deeply about equity and justice and about the world we create for our children and future generations. As such, we are emboldened by our Jewish tradition that teaches, לא בשמים הוא “lo ba’shamayim hi”: it is not in the heavens… or beyond the sea….It is in your mouth and in your heart to do it…Choose life so that you and your offspring may live.” (Deuteronomy 30:12-20). We are building a broad-based Jewish climate movement, rooted in Jewish teaching and tradition, history and experience, faith and song. This movement, working together with other communities, will help us achieve what is urgently needed to ensure a just and sustainable world: to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions well before 2050, while building an equitable and just clean energy economy for all.
Climate work and justice are deeply intertwined. The impact of the climate crisis rests disproportionately on those who have been historically marginalized: people living in poverty, in particularly vulnerable geographies, and people who experience racism and other kinds of bigotry such as Black, Brown and Indigenous communities.
By centering communities facing the impacts of the climate crisis and inequity, we can begin to dismantle inhumane systems, establish a just and equitable clean energy economy, and build a livable, sustainable world. That’s why Dayenu and its Circles work arm-in-arm with communities that are directly impacted by, and most vulnerable to, the climate crisis, raising our voices alongside theirs. We must together envision and build a new reality, one that dismantles the insidious racism that has long infected our country and our world, and that sets us on a path to a just and sustainable future.
We’re committed to ensuring that Dayenu Circles can ground themselves in justice by helping Circles build relationships with impacted communities and enabling Circles to bring a justice lens to their learning and action. For tips on how to get started, see this resource on grounding your work in equity and justice.
Dayenu Circles can be based in your home or community and can include friends, neighbors, or colleagues. You can also set up a Dayenu Circle with a group of students on your campus, members at your synagogue, JCC, or existing Jewish environmental or social justice group. Some circles may include 5-15 people; others may have more. Circles meet at least monthly, creating a shared space to take bold action on climate grounded in our Jewish values and beliefs.
There is no fee associated with joining or starting a Dayenu Circle, but there is an expectation that Circles contribute to the broader movement by participating in at least 2-3 national Dayenu campaigns or calls to action per year and learning and sharing opportunities such as network calls and webinars, trainings, leadership gatherings, and more.
CREATING A DAYENU CIRCLE AND CONNECTING TO THE BROADER JEWISH CLIMATE MOVEMENT HAS HELPED US FOCUS OUR CLIMATE JUSTICE WORK AND HAS INCREASED OUR IMPACT, BECAUSE WE’RE PART OF SOMETHING MUCH BIGGER.
– Lisa Cowan, founder of Congregation Beth Elohim’s Dayenu Circle in Brooklyn, New York
Great! Dayenu is part of the broader Jewish, national, and global movements working to confront the climate crisis. It’s going to take all of us working on all fronts and in a myriad of ways to confront this existential crisis. That’s why we partner with a variety of existing Jewish, multi-faith, and secular climate efforts and work together to raise up a powerful Jewish voice calling for bold climate solutions.
If you’re already on your organization’s “Green Team” or another committee, great! You are welcome to co-affiliate your organization as a Dayenu Circle. You also have the opportunity to create a Dayenu Circle within your existing team/committee, or create a new Dayenu Circle separate from that existing team. Each of these affiliation options will enable your group to be part of Dayenu’s national campaigns and access Dayenu’s support, resources, and network, while also preserving the integrity of your local and organization-focused work.
It’s easier than you think! Check out our Launching Your Dayenu Circle resource for step-by-step guidance. We are here to support you and can also connect you to other Dayenu Circle leaders to learn more. Click on the button below to let us know you’re interested in starting a Circle.
By signing up, you will receive periodic communications from Dayenu.