Dale Melcher is interviewed on the Afternoon Buzz about the the Dayenu Passover Action in Amherst, MA.
A coalition of Essex County faith leaders plan to gather outside two banks in Newark on Thursday to demand that Chase and Wells Fargo “end their investments in fossil fuels” and reinvest the money in clean energy and green jobs.
Wednesday’s Climate Action Rally, hosted at Fountain Square, would have been incomplete without matzah.
Participants clutched pieces of the Jewish flatbread while demanding that Chase Bank, located across the street, divest from fossil fuels and strive for zero emissions.
The unleavened bread, which is part of the annual Seder service, symbolizes urgency, a feeling that also characterizes the need for climate action, said attendee Sally Nador, a member of Congregation Hakafa.
Our chances of averting climate catastrophe are narrowing to the point of no return, top scientists said last week in a series of landmark reports put out by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
The emission of greenhouse gasses must start winding down and the switch to a low carbon economy must happen by 2025 or else civilization is at risk, according to the scientists who represent dozens of countries and disciplines.
One of many experts issuing the warning is Dana Fisher, a professor of sociology and the director of the Program for Society and the Environment at the University of Maryland. Inspired to act by her Jewish heritage, Fisher also serves on the advisory board of the Jewish climate advocacy group Dayenu.
MORE THAN ANY OTHER ISSUE, America’s Jews care about climate change. So from Toronto to Fort Lauderdale, from Los Angeles to Boston and from Portland, Oregon, to Denver, Colorado, and Columbus Ohio, Dayenu: A Jewish Call to Climate Action and allies are holding 21 public rallies across the country to call on the leading investors in fossil fuels to take urgent climate action this Passover.
These actions are part of Dayenu’s All Our Might campaign to end the era of fossil fuels and build a clean energy future.
Bill McKibben, author, educator, environmentalist, Founder of 350.org, and Dayenu advisory board member: “To face up to the biggest thing humans have ever done – heating the planet more than a degree – we need to pull the money lever to stop the fossil fuel industry. Dayenu’s All Our Might is putting our hand on that lever.”
A CALL TO BREAK FREE: Across North America, Dayenu leaders will lead rallies at the branches and offices of “The Schmutzy Sheva” (aka the Dirty Seven), the four banks and three asset managers that alone have trillions of dollars invested in fossil fuels: Coal, oil and gas.
Rabbi Jennie Rosenn, founder and CEO of Dayenu: “What is at stake this Passover is nothing less than whether life will continue l’dor v’dor, from generation to generation. We call on banks and investors to choose life and leave behind coal, oil, and gas, and instead invest in clean energy, so that we may have a just and livable future for all people for generations to come.”
“On Passover, Jewish people recall the Exodus story and our biblical ancestors’ pursuit of freedom. Today, we call for freedom from fossil fuels and a clean energy future where everyone can thrive. We call on the financial institutions whose investments are exacerbating the climate crisis to break free from the Fossil Fuel Pharaohs.”
At each event, Dayenu leaders and partners will proclaim the plagues that Fossil Fuel Pharaohs – coal, oil and gas companies – have wreaked. They will raise matzah as a symbol of urgency, and demand that The Schmutzy Sheva ‘move their dough’ by leaving behind polluting fossil fuel projects and fulfilling their zero emissions commitments.
Dr. Dana R. Fisher, Contributing Author to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Review IPCC, Professor of Sociology, University of Maryland: “There is no question that citizen involvement in climate politics is crucial for pressuring governments and institutions to commit to real climate action (and actually follow through on their commitments). Dayenu’s All Our Might mobilization over the Passover holiday provides a wonderful opportunity for American Jews to turn up the pressure on financial institutions and hold them accountable for their part in the climate crisis.”
DAYENU, ENOUGH!: In the six years since the UN Paris Agreement was adopted, the world’s 60 largest private banks have poured USD $4.6 trillion into oil, gas, and coal companies. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has shown the political dangers of fossil fuel dependency. And record-setting storms, floods, fires, and drought demonstrate that we have no time to waste to transition from polluting fossil fuels to 100% clean renewable energy.
Judi Soloway, co-organizer of Portland, Oregon, All Our Might action: “We’re excited because this is our first action. But we know that by urging the Portland Chase branch to move their dough we can be part of systemic change. And it’s time to step up because it’s now or never.”
Gaby Cohen, co-organizer of Bay Area All Our Might action: “My generation is frustrated that people in power have not taken the necessary steps to confront the climate crisis. I will be heading to BlackRock during Passover because trillions of dollars of American money is still invested in fossil fuels, keeping us deeply committed to this murderous schmutzy infrastructure.
Eve Sackett, co-organizer of Denver All Our Might action: “We join together as Jews and allies to demonstrate in the heart of Downtown Denver. We seek to raise awareness across Colorado, and urge Wells Fargo to move their money from fossil fuels into clean energy. Our message is peaceful and positive, and echoes the Jewish people’s fight for freedom that Passover celebrates.
Max Klau, co-organizer of Boston All Our Might action: “Last fall we organized a Dayenu Hear the Call event that turned out people even in the pouring rain. Since then, we’ve seen our network of relationships grow, our ability to plan and organize strengthen, and commitment to this work deepen. We’re drawing on new partnerships and hard won experience to plan our first action of the All Our Might campaign at Chase Bank in downtown Boston. The struggle to move financing from fossil fuels to clean energy could be long; we know that we are just getting started!”
As a college student, I find that one of the biggest arguments I get into with my Jewish parents around the seder table is whether I will one day have kids myself. I love watching children at shul during the High Holidays and being a counselor at Jewish summer camp, but I don’t know if I want to ever have kids.
This prospect terrifies my parents. The main reason for my uncertainty is climate change. How can I bring children into a world where we expect to cause more fires, floods and famines, more storms, droughts, epidemics and all of the other plagues that are forecasted for our future?
Faith-based advocacy groups have been busy during the first year of the Biden administration. There is no shortage of powerful activism—from advocating for a wide range of policies concerning immigration and refugee issues, building an economy for all by expanding the social safety net, and defending democracy at home and abroad, to fighting for the dignity of LGBTQI+ people, addressing climate change, and stressing the spiritual elements of voting rights.
Purim is, among other things, a festival of blame. We gather as a community to publicly name and boo the bad guy.
I have always hated this aspect of Purim; it feels wrong to revel in the evil of another human being. As a kid, I would cover my ears and shift uncomfortably in my seat. As an adult, I try not to focus on the final chapters where we read about the violent vengeance wrought by the hanging of Haman’s sons.
But the Megillah is unfurled each year for good reason: it’s a warning that evil really does exist in the world, and that we as Jews have the power to stop it in its tracks.
As it rolls out a multiyear campaign to press financial institutions to divest from fossil fuels, Dayenu, a Jewish group combating climate change, does not plan to place pressure on the endowments of Jewish organizations, Dayenu CEO Rabbi Jennie Rosenn told eJewishPhilanthropy.
The campaign, called “All Our Might,” is being launched tonight at a virtual event and will initially focus on pressuring asset managers, investors and banks to divest from fossil fuels. Its name is drawn from the first paragraph of the Shema, and it comes after a year when two New York City pension funds as well as Harvard University announced that they would no longer invest in companies that burn coal, oil and natural gas.
When Beth Sirull took over the Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego five years ago, she moved quickly to offer its donors — including local Jewish groups — the option to put their money in a fund that “applies a Jewish lens” to its investments. That meant buying Israel bonds, bankrolling affordable housing and using shareholder advocacy to push companies on social and environmental causes.