A diverse coalition of faith leaders flocked to Capitol Hill Wednesday for a day-long vigil to demand President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better agenda be passed, as it encounters significant roadblocks in its home stretch of negotiations.
Invoking doctrine and scripture, representatives from groups like Bread for the World, Dayenu: A Jewish Call to Climate Action, Interfaith Power & Light, and NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Justice stood alongside lawmakers to make a religious appeal for the bill’s priorities: eradicating child poverty, expanding health care coverage, and addressing the climate crisis.
SPRINGFIELD – At a rally in front of U.S. Representative Richard Neal’s Springfield office in August, a chorus of shofars were blown to ask Rep. Neal to “hear the call for climate action.”
The shofar blowers were members of the Western Massachusetts chapter – or “circle” – of Dayenu: A Jewish Call for Climate Action. Dayenu joined with groups like Springfield Climate Coalition, Sunrise Hampden County, the Sierra Club, and Arise for Social Justice at the “#SealTheDeal” rally to encourage Rep. Neal – chair of Congress’ Ways and Means Committee — to support President Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill.
At least 155 more protesters were arrested outside the White House Tuesday as part of a weeklong action pressuring President Joe Biden to declare a climate emergency and end all new fossil fuel projects.
Guided by the theme “fossil fuels are driving the climate crisis,” the latest demonstration followed over 100 arrests on Monday, when protesters marked Indigenous Peoples’ Day and drew attention to polluting operations including Enbridge’s Line 3 tar sands project and the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP).
BOSTON – Following an international scientific body’s grim prediction for the future of Planet Earth, Jewish scientists and researchers in the Boston area and the North Shore shared their thoughts on the dire forecast.
On Aug. 9, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a part of the UN, released its latest findings in the Sixth Assessment Report, which stated that it is likely that global warming will increase by 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius in the coming decades. The report linked this to global warming caused by humans, principally through the emission of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, and cited already-record temperatures and extreme weather events that may become more dramatic.
In Wake of Mounting Climate Disasters and the California Oil Spill, Dayenu Renews its Call for Congress to Act
“It is appalling that a few, isolated moderates in the Democratic caucus remain willing to threaten the hope of a just and livable planet for generations to come.”
New York, NY – As Congress sets a final deadline to pass a major reconciliation package supported by the overwhelming majority of the American public and the Democratic caucus, Rabbi Jennie Rosenn, Founder and CEO of Dayenu: A Jewish Call to Climate Action issued the following statement:
“After months of promises and activism, including unprecedented mobilization by the American Jewish community in support of a $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill supporting climate, jobs, and justice, it is appalling that a few, isolated moderates in the Democratic caucus remain willing to threaten the hope of a just and livable planet for generations to come. Our leaders have promised, time and time again, that they will deliver historic investments in climate that meet the scale that science demands. Now, as negotiations reach their conclusion, they must follow through.
“Last week, we celebrated the holiday of Simchat Torah, when we finish the yearly cycle of reading the Torah and immediately begin again. Right now, Congress has the opportunity to initiate a new story – one in which we realize a future with good, green jobs, affordable and accessible clean energy, and environmental justice for all. Their actions can help uphold the fundamental Jewish value of living l’dor v’dor, from generation to generation.
“We applaud the Progressive Caucus for holding the line and demanding congressional leaders move the infrastructure and Build Back Better packages forward in tandem. After a summer of nonstop climate emergencies and last weekend’s devastating oil spill off the coast of California, it is time for Senators Manchin and Sinema, as well as the few Democratic holdouts in the House, to support the just, green future we need. Our country cannot afford to miss this opportunity.”
How did Ekar Farm go from being a small urban farm project on the Denver Academy of Torah’s campus to a front runner in the fight for food justice and action around climate change? Executive Director Sue Salinger says it is one of the many results of a global pandemic.
Denver’s two-acre Jewish communal farm and garden, which was based on a charity model of food production, began more than a dozen years ago. Today, said Salinger, “Ekar Farm is at an inflection point. At the start, we grew food and donated food. Now, we’re at the center of trying to understand the root causes of food and environmental injustice.”
Putnam, CT – About 100 area residents and guests of the local Jewish community gathered outdoors at Congregation B’nai Shalom on Sunday afternoon, inspired by Rosh Hashanah— the Jewish New Year–to call for climate justice and stop construction of the nearby proposed Killingly Energy Center gas power plant. A dozen environmental justice groups, including the Sierra Club Connecticut Chapter, Windham-Willimantic NAACP, and No More Dirty Power Killingly, as well as sixteen rabbis and five regional synagogues endorsed this event, with speakers calling for state officials to withhold permitting for the Killingly plant and to support federal laws and funding for clean renewable energy.
In early September, much of the political world was focused on U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin’s, D-W.Va, seeming intransigence about passing the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package being debated this week in Congress. On Sept. 12, he made the rounds on Sunday morning shows. Meanwhile in Phoenix that morning, approximately 40 people stood outside another moderate Democratic senator’s office, asking her to be bold.
Shofars sounded in downtown Newark last Tuesday afternoon, as Jewish climate activists gathered near Penn Station, and near the offices of Senator Cory Booker, to call on the senator to “hear the clarion call for climate action and act now to ensure a swift transition to a clean energy future.”
“I hate seeing beautiful sunsets that are caused by fires on the other side of the country,” Rabbi Elliot Tepperman of Montclair’s Congregation B’nai Keshet said. “I hate that teenagers think they will not have a world that is safe to live in.