Jewish Community Letter to Congress: Just, Green Recovery

Today, Dayenu joined more than 30 Jewish communal organizations from around the country to press Members of Congress to advance a just, green recovery to address the economic recession caused in part by the coronavirus pandemic.

While organizational sign-ons are closed, you can add your name to this letter to Congress here.


Dear Member of Congress:

As Jewish communities that care deeply for the future of this country, we pray for your strength as you continue your work to heal our nation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thank you for the efforts you have already made to address the pandemic. As the COVID-19 crisis surges, we ask you to act with compassion to continue to ensure robust funding for public health and economic assistance for those in need. Assistance must be provided at levels that are commensurate with the devastating impact of this crisis and directed especially to communities disproportionately impacted. We are concerned that stimulus funds intended to support small businesses and vulnerable individuals have been misdirected to polluting industries that are compromising our collective future.

As you turn your attention from immediate needs to long-term recovery, we urge you to recognize that the global climate crisis also continues to imperil our health, safety and economy. While COVID-19 continues to spread across the country, 2020 is on track to being the hottest year on record. In our most northern state of Alaska, permafrost is melting and tides are rising, forcing villages to relocate. While Southern and Eastern states face record flooding and heat waves, Western states continue to suffer a multi-year mega-drought, and agriculture is in crisis in the Midwest. The climate crisis is worsening, and costing taxpayers, insurers, and governments at all levels; Since January, according to NOAA, there have been 10 climate-related weather disasters in the United States that have each cost over $1 billion.

We also know that climate change exacerbates the coronavirus crisis. Burning fossil fuels releases particulates and emissions that negatively impact respiratory health, which can make COVID-19 even more dangerous, especially in Black, Brown, Indigenous and low-income communities.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made clear the consequences of neglecting to listen to science and prepare for disaster. This is the time to accelerate the transition to a more sustainable, equitable economy in order to achieve more resilient communities and provide cheaper, renewable sources of energy.

We urge you to act boldly to preserve human lives and all of God’s creation by adopting a stimulus and recovery plan that:

  • Accelerates the transition to 100% clean energy by 2030 by incentivizing the deployment of clean energy and investing in sustainable infrastructure;
  • Creates growth in the green jobs sector by requiring high standards for good jobs and provides for job training and a just transition for workers in greenhouse gas intensive industries and their communities;
  • Furthers environmental justice by working in concert with community leaders to ensure that communities on the frontlines of poverty and pollution benefit from the recovery and transition to clean energy; and
  • Discontinues investment in and subsidies for fossil fuel infrastructure and takes steps to hold polluters accountable.

As Jews, in moments of danger we encourage each other with the words that Moses spoke to his successor Joshua as he took responsibility for leading the Children of Israel to the promised land: chazak v’ematz, be strong and courageous (Deuteronomy 31:23). Our future depends on your strength and courage. We urge you to seize this moment to take action for a more just, sustainable, and healthy world for generations to come.

Sincerely,

Dayenu: A Jewish Call to Climate Action

Jewish Earth Alliance

Co-signers:

Am Kolel, Maryland

Arizona Jews 4 Justice, Arizona

Aytzim: Ecological Judaism

Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life

Congregation Adat Shalom Climate Action Team, Maryland

Congregation Beth Am Israel, Pennsylvania

Congregation Beth Shalom Creation Care Task Force, Indiana

Dayenu: A Jewish Call to Climate Action,

Ekar Farm, Colorado

Fort Tryon Jewish Center, New York

Hazon

Higher Ground Initiative, Florida

JCC Chicago, Illinois

Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action, Massachusetts

Jewish Climate Action Network DC/MD/VA

Jewish Climate Action Network NYC, New York

Jewish Climate Action Network MA, Massachusetts

Jewish Council for Public Affairs

Jewish Council on Urban Affairs (JCUA), Illinois

Jewish Veg

Beit Am Sustainability Committee, Oregon

Pearlstone Center, Maryland

Rabbinical Assembly

Real Food U, LLC, Kentucky

Reconstructing Judaism

Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association

Riverdale Jewish Earth Alliance, New York

Shamayim: Jewish Animal Advocacy

Shomrei Olam - Jewish Environmental Advocates of Cincinnati, Ohio

Society for Humanistic Judaism

Torah Trumps Hate

Union for Reform Judaism

Uri L’Tzedek