Rosh Hashanah Welcomes Jewish-Catholic Resolve for Climate Leaders

Shanah Tovah (שָׁנָה טוֹבָה) to those celebrating Rosh Hashanah, whether it be with family or in quiet contemplation, either reflecting on the past or looking toward the future. The Jewish New Year is the beginning of the High Holy Days, lasting until Yom Kippur on September 23. The holiday season couldn't (in my opinion) come at a better time. 

Many Jewish climate leaders, including Blessed Tomorrow Leader Rabbi Steve Gutow, will strengthen their voice by joining one of the greatest interfaith coalition movements in recent history. And, it's happening just as the High Holy Days will come to an end. I am speaking, of course, about the collective support surrounding Pope Francis' visit to America, one we are marking with a massive celebration at Washington National Cathedral. 

The event will be an opportunity for many leaders to speak, in particular, Rabbi Gutow, who will share his moral imperative to act for the climate. Gutow has extended tireless involvement with the Jewish Council on Public Affairs (JCPA) to communicate climate action through countless guides, rallies, and outreach that strengthen Jewish-Catholic resolve on climate solutions

If you are interested in supporting the interfaith movement, the Jewish Climate Change Campaign will host an all-night event in Washington D.C., entitled Light the Way.

Jewish and Interfaith Climate Resources

Jared Feldman | COEJL

COEJL, Shomrei Breishit, and our partners welcomed Pope Francis’s encyclical early this summer. With all the media buzz around his visit to the US (during Yom Kippur!), and a very public faith conversation on climate, this is our moment. Please join us by (a) educating yourself and others about Jewish perspectives on climate (below) and about the encyclical itself; (b) reaching out to Catholic friends and contacts to help deepen the encyclical’s impact, and being a welcoming voice to the Pope when he visits; and (c) joining the interfaith bandwagon of voicesclamoring for meaningful action.

These 5776/2015 High Holy Days are ripe to turn green, as public attention shifts to the Papal visit (and later to the critical climate negotiations in Paris starting Nov 30) – even as this Rosh HaShanah marks the end of the shmita/sabbatical year, and this Sukkot is occasion for the ancient tradition of a 7th-year hakhel/re-covenanting ritual. You can ask your clergy and educators to address climate concerns at the coming chagim, utilizing the resources found below; invite your rabbi to add their name to a letter Welcoming Pope Francis to America, and also to join over 400 other signatories on the Rabbinic Letter on the Climate Crisis; utilize the great COEJL resources available below; and plan now to make sustainability and justice high priorities in the critical season ahead.

For decades, numerous Jewish voices have emerged on protecting environment, and confronting climate change in particular; with striking similarities between Jewish and Catholic social teaching in this arena, new ones have been generated just in time for these High Holidays. Here are a few handpicked resources – study sheets, essays, educational activities, backgrounders – drawn from COEJL’s many years of generating and curating environmental resources; from Shomrei Breishit: Rabbis and Cantors for the Earth; and from our partners in the Jewish and interfaith environmental world. Please use them! And keep the buzz strong.

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