Jewish Americans, Prioritizing Climate, Get Out the Vote in the Midterm Elections

Though ballots are still being counted, and the results of the tightest races are still undecided, one thing is clear: climate change was among the top issues that motivated Jewish people to vote — and to volunteer their time to get out the vote.

Inspired by passage of the Inflation Reduction Act which contained $370 billion in clean energy and climate investments, Dayenu: A Jewish Call to Climate Action launched Chutzpah 2022, a non-partisan get-out-the-vote effort  in partnership with the Environmental Voter Project.

The goal of the Chutzpah 2022 campaign was to elevate climate as an election issue, and mobilize our community to connect with and inspire voters who are concerned about the climate crisis. The results exceeded our expectations, as

  • More than 400 volunteers and speakers
  • From 23 partner organizations
  • Filled 525 volunteer shifts (Goal: 250)
  • Made 259,353 phone calls to infrequent environmental voters (Goal: 150,000)
  • Had 6,286 conversations with voters and members of their households about making a plan to vote (Goal: 3,000)
  • Engaged in a total of 24,893 minutes of calls, the equivalent of 414 hours, or 17 days of straight phone calls.

Rabbi Jennie Rosenn, Dayenu Founder and CEO said:

“We’ve demonstrated that regardless of who wins this election, Jewish Americans are mobilizing across the country, bringing our voices, people, and power to confront the climate crisis. We expect our leaders to have the chutzpah to take the kind of climate action that’s morally necessary – not just what’s politically expedient. We stand ready to support bold efforts that ensure a just and sustainable future for all, for generations to come.”

In the 10 weeks leading up to Election Day,  hundreds of Jewish climate activists volunteered to phone-bank, and knock on doors, providing voting information to Jews and other voters who care about the environment, but don’t always vote.

Some early phone banking took place in Sukkot, the temporary dwelling places built for the Jewish festival. In the weeks since, Jewish organizations from across the country joined as partners. Phone banking shifts opened with kavannot — inspiring Jewish teachings — and Jewish musicians ended the gatherings by playing live music.

  • “I got someone who was really happy I called because they were not sure what their options were today.” – Rendy A, Brooklyn, NY, Election Day phone bank.

  • “Thanks so much for making this happen. Being in a Jewish group and getting these kavanot, debriefs, and musical moments really makes this a wonderful experience.” – Liz G, New York, NY

  • “The framing with Jewish values at the beginning and songs at the end really elevated the experience of calling voters to feel more communal, uplifting, and meaningful.” – Harli S., Muhlenberg College student, Allentown, PA

  • “The Torah commands us to do this kind of thing; to try to create justice in the world. And climate justice is one of the big ones.” – Dan G., Peninsula Temple Sholom, Pacifica, CA

While Jews are only 2% of the U.S. population, we bring our voices, power and organizing to make a difference. Using publicly available databases and modeling, we identified Jewish and infrequent environmental voters in races across key states like Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

As investments from the Inflation Reduction Act are deployed, Dayenu will continue to mobilize the Jewish community to hasten the end of the era of fossil fuels, and build a clean energy future. In the coming weeks, we’ll launch a new effort to shift Jewish institutions’ $100 billion in investments away from fossil fuels and towards clean energy.

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