Pope Francis Inspires Climate Action for Yom Kippur

By path2positive

Yom Kippur, the most significant of the Jewish Holidays, coincided with Pope Francis' visit to DC this week, but that didn't stop a few Rabbis from joining the festivities. Compelled by the Jewish call to act for the climate, Rabbi Arthur Waskow, who founded The Shalom Center, was one the seven Jewish leaders to sign a statement on the climate crisis, earlier this year. 

As Waskow shared, "Just as we developed the rabbinic letter, many different religious and spiritual communities are developing out of their own theology and tradition positions and views that come out to be fairly similar." The move for various religious traditions to care for God's creation has been building in momentum, particularly in the past year, in preparation for Pope Francis' visit to Congress, Friday 9/25, and event that will be live-streamed. Many of Blessed Tomorrow leaders will meet the morning of, to celebrate, and offer commentary on the Pope's first address to Congress. 

Rabbis Honor Pope's Climate Message With Yom Kippur Service In DC 

Antonia Blumberg | Huffington Post Religion

With Pope Francis's arrival in Washington, DC on Sept. 22, a group of rabbis gathered in the capital on Tuesday afternoon to begin a Yom Kippur service unlike any other.

The venue for the service, which begins Tuesday evening and runs into Wednesday, is none other than the Lincoln Memorial, a "pre-eminent American symbol of our collective responsibility to work for freedom and democracy for all people with 'malice toward none, and charity for all,'" writes The Shalom Center on the event's website. 

Yom Kippur is known as the day of atonement, when Jews ask for forgiveness for the wrongs they have committed. The DC service will focus specifically on climate change, according to Rabbi Arthur Waskow, who founded The Shalom Center and organized the event with Rabbi Mordechai Liebling, director of the Social Justice Organizing Program at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.

"We'll be atoning for the way in which the human race has treated the Earth, especially in the last hundred years or so," Waskow told The Huffington Post. 

While the service is happening, Pope Francis will be making appearances around the city and gearing up for his address to Congress on Thursday, Sept. 24. The Catholic leader's visit comes at an important time for faith communities working on climate justice, Waskow said.

"The fact that the pope has spoken out so powerfully and so clearly [on climate change], and the fact that he is going to be speaking at the UN and Congress and meeting with the president, means that the work many of us have been doing for years is on the front page," Waskow told HuffPost.

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