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New Jewish Climate Justice Group ‘Dayenu’ Mobilizes Michigan Voters

The Jewish News

Dayenu is a new movement of American Jews confronting the climate crisis “with spiritual audacity and bold political action.”

Concerns about climate change and its impact on our world “loom like big clouds” over everything for Josh Bender of Ann Arbor. The Michigan State University graduate, now in his second year of rabbinical school at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, says he’s made environmentally focused changes in his daily life like eating less meat and avoiding single-use plastics.

But he wanted to do something to tackle the global problem on a larger scale.

“With big societal changes you can sometimes feel powerless to do anything about them,” Bender says. “I remember during the election, I wanted whoever the nominees were to be people who got what a serious generational issue this is.”

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Seekers of Meaning Podcast

This week’s guest, Rabbi Jennie Rosenn, discusses Dayenu: A Jewish Call to Climate Action. Dayenu is building a movement of American Jews confronting the climate crisis with spiritual audacity and bold political action. Dayenu mobilizes Jewish support for climate solutions, builds collective power with national and global movements, and raises up a spiritual, religious, and moral voice.

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The Peoplehood Papers: Dayenu-We Have Had Enough!

The climate crisis is the existential crisis of our time. We feel the heat. We read the staggering predictions of sea level rise. We witness the floods, fires, and hurricanes wreaking havoc across the globe, and we know that without very significant changes, we are hurtling towards an unlivable and unsustainable future. Many people are already experiencing the painful impacts of Climate Change.

We have known our world was broken. Even before the pandemic hit, we knew that we couldn’t continue as we had been and expect our children and grandchildren would have a safe planet to live on.

But the deep disruption caused by the coronavirus has put these truths into even sharper focus. We have experienced our profound interconnectedness. We have a new knowledge of what disruption feels like, what happens when governments fail to prepare and respond adequately, and what not listening to science leads to.

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Jews are voting on climate like our lives depend on it

The Forward

In this election, American Jews are voting on climate like our lives depend on it — because they do.

Over the past eight weeks, we — together with more than 800 other Jews and in partnership with more than 40 Jewish organizations — have been reaching out to voters across the country as part of Dayenu’s Chutzpah 2020 campaign.

Jews young and old, from across the country, have been gathering (virtually) twice a week to contact voters in key states, especially those experiencing immediate impacts of the climate crisis like triple-digit heat in Arizona, flooding in Michigan and frequent hurricanes in Florida.

We identified voters who are “climate-concerned” using research from Yale University’s Program on Climate Change Communication and matched this data to voters who are Jewish, as well as those who are infrequent voters. We contacted them to boost voter turnout and urge leaders to have the chutzpah to take bold action on climate change.

Dayenu volunteers, ranging in age from middle school students to baby boomers, have reached out by phone and text to voters across Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.

We set out with a goal to reach 200,000 voters. By election day, we have reached more than three quarters of a million voters.

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Across generations, they’re pushing climate change to the forefront


For those who live in the Bay Area, Sept. 9 was a day they will never forget. Nina Schmier remembers waking up that morning to a completely orange sky, the bizarre byproduct of an intense wildfire season that has become an annual occurrence for Californians.

“I felt like everything was breaking down in our world,” said Schmier, a 16-year-old who attends Hillsdale High School in San Mateo.

The recent blazes in the state, scientists say, were worsened by a warming planet.

But are voters in the upcoming election focused on climate change? It’s an issue that can easily get buried, with the national conversation dominated by Covid-19, the possibility of a disputed election, racial justice protests, the economy, debates over health care, Amy Coney Barrett’s ascension to the Supreme Court, the spectre of right-wing fringe groups and the war against disinformation.

But for Schmier and others, those orange skies were a foreshadowing of a disastrous future.

Now, she is one of many young activists determined to keep climate change at the forefront of voters’ minds.

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Volunteer with non-partisan Jewish groups this election season

The Forward

With the election less than three weeks away, Jewish groups are out in force seeking volunteers to get out the vote.

Here are four Jewish ways to volunteer on and before November 3rd.

Organize for the environment with Dayenu

Dayenu, a national Jewish start-up has been working to drum-up political engagement at the intersection of two major interest groups before the 2020 election, Jews and environmentalists.

“Voters are paying attention to the climate crisis in the 2020 elections — the question is how we can help them take action on their convictions,” said Rabbi Jennie Rosenn, CEO and Founder of Dayenu. “Grounded in our Jewish values, Dayenu is encouraging Jewish Americans to confront the catastrophic impacts of climate change, racism, and the COVID-19 pandemic, and make change on a systemic level. Together, we can build a country where all people have clean air and water, good jobs, and strong communities. But not unless we vote.”

Dayenu is looking for volunteers to help organize around the intersection of climate justice and Jewish Identity. Join them at their website:

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Jewish Arizonans partner with national org in environmental campaign

Jewish News

Max Sussman, 31, spends much of his life advocating for climate justice. As important as the work is to him, however, he worries that it keeps him from being as active in the Jewish community as he would like.

That dynamic shifted a little over a year ago when he met a rabbi at an event protecting Native American land. The two sat together and Sussman learned about Dayenu, a national organization that describes itself as a Jewish call to climate action. Suddenly he found a place where two central aspects of his life could intersect.

Dayenu is reaching out to voters in seven states including Arizona, Florida and Pennsylvania before the general election on Nov. 3. Its Chutzpah 2020 campaign is an effort to talk to Jewish voters about the reality of climate change and methods of combating it with “spiritual audacity and bold political action,” said Rabbi Jennie Rosenn, the CEO and founder.

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Jewish Startup Dayenu Reaches Hundreds of Thousands of Voters Concerned About the Climate Crisis in Six Key States

Climate becomes a major voting issue in 2020 elections

Phoenix, AZ — As the fraught 2020 elections approach, the new organization Dayenu is mobilizing previously overlooked blocs of voters: Jewish and infrequent voters who are concerned about the climate crisis. With volunteers contacting hundreds of thousands of Jewish and “climate-concerned” unlikely voters in six key states — Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Minnesota, and Wisconsin — Dayenu’s non-partisan Chutzpah 2020 campaign is piloting an innovative get-out-the-vote approach that centers faith and amplifies a moral obligation to confront climate change as a decisive issue in these elections.

Halfway between the campaign’s launch and Election Day on November 3, Dayenu volunteers have already reached out to 194,396 voters in Arizona, Michigan and North Carolina. 352 individual Dayenu volunteers had conversations with 1,836 Jewish climate-alarmed voters and with 16,979 infrequent voters alarmed about the climate crisis but not affiliated with the Jewish community. Dayenu’s phone banks and text banks have resulted in 4,882 people making or confirming their plans to vote, with 42% planning to vote by mail or drop off a mail-in ballot, and 47% planning to vote early in person. Following cutting-edge political science research about “vote tripling,” Dayenu’s mobilization has prompted 2,211 people to pledge to remind three of their friends to vote.

“Voters are paying attention to the climate crisis in the 2020 elections — the question is how we can help them take action on their convictions,” said Rabbi Jennie Rosenn, CEO and Founder of Dayenu. “Grounded in our Jewish values, Dayenu is encouraging Jewish Americans to confront the catastrophic impacts of climate change, racism, and the COVID-19 pandemic, and make change on a systemic level. Together, we can build a country where all people have clean air and water, good jobs, and strong communities. But not unless we vote.”

2020’s climate-fueled catastrophic wildfires, heat waves, hurricanes and flooding, along with air pollution exacerbating the risk of contracting the coronavirus, are amplifying Americans’ concern about the climate. Three out of four Americans now describe climate change as either “a crisis” or “a major problem,” and 80% of American Jews are concerned about the climate crisis. Dayenu’s approach calls for leaders who have the chutzpah (the Yiddish word for courage) to take bold action on climate change, by cutting greenhouse gas emissions and ensuring justice, good jobs, and clean air, water, and energy for all.

By employing best-practices virtual voter communications tools, Chutzpah 2020 campaign volunteers are helping ensure that climate-alarmed voters know what is at stake in this election and how to vote safely and securely.

A young Dayenu volunteer in Phoenix named Max Sussman described his experience phone banking, saying, “it’s a different feeling organizing with other Jews. There was the automatic connection. People were really listening. I walked an older woman through the Arizona Secretary of State’s website, because she was very concerned about her ballot coming in the mail. We spent about five minutes together, making sure she was properly registered to vote by mail. This is a place we can make a difference.”

Dayenu’s effort is strengthened by more than 20 partner organizations including Interfaith Power and Light, Jewish Climate Action Network-NY, Jewish Council on Public Affairs, T’ruah: the Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, Avodah, Keshet, Uri L’Tzedek, Arizona Jews for Justice, and Jewish Youth Climate Movement.

Dayenu’s voter universe for the Chutzpah 2020 campaign was informed by modeling and research from the Yale University Program on Climate Change Communication. Yale’s research has categorized Americans into six groups based on their climate change beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors, and found that the Alarmed segment has nearly tripled in size while the Dismissive and Doubtful segments have decreased, between 2014 and 2019. Polls from key states report similar climate concerns, such as a poll finding 71% of Arizona voters agree the federal government “needs to do more to combat climate change” and 66% support stronger action by the Governor and state legislature.


Dayenu leaders and Jewish community volunteers are available to speak to the press about their experiences mobilizing for climate justice in this crucial election year. Please contact to arrange interviews.

Media are also invited to virtually join Chutzpah 2020 campaign phone banks and text banks, by prior arrangement.

For more information about the Chutzpah 2020 campaign, visit

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‘Who by fire?’ isn’t just a metaphor this year — but we still have time to change course

Jewish Telegraphic Agency

As the founder of a new organization building a Jewish movement to confront the climate crisis, the lead-up to the High Holidays this year is painfully resonant.

“Who by fire?” the Unetaneh Tokef prayer asks. “Who by water?”

This year, we will recite the prayer amid unprecedented fires, destruction and toxic smoke in the West and flooding in the South, where a series of slow-moving storms have left communities underwater.

Both of these disasters are fueled by climate change and the policies and inaction that continue to make it worse. Most years, the shofar blasts awaken us. This year, we are already painfully awake.

Millions of Americans are living through the unimaginable. Those of us in other parts of the country are pierced by daily images of destruction and surreal statistics. We talk with family, friends and colleagues out West who tell us it is “apocalyptic.” We catch a glimpse of what will soon be our reality — if not by fire then by water, or heat, or drought. The devastation of climate change is not a distant future. It is now.

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