by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen
Such we are commanded each week.
Stop taking from the land!
Such we are commanded each seventh year.
Why bother stopping?
Perhaps to see.
Perhaps to notice.
Perhaps to discover if we care.
Stopping draws us in.
Opens us to new life.
Deepens us to death.
Reveals to us G!dness.
Brings us home.
May you have a year rich with wonders.
Rabbi Katy Allen is the founder and rabbi of Ma'yan Tikvah - A Wellspring of Hope, which holds services outdoors all year long, and the founder and President pro-tem of the Jewish Climate Action Network-MA. She is a board certified chaplain and a former hospital and hospice chaplain. She received her ordination from the Academy for Jewish Religion in Yonkers, NY in 2005 and lives in Wayland, MA with her spouse, Gabi Mezger, who leads the singing at Ma'yan Tikvah.
by Thea Iberall
The Amazon Rainforest is the most biodiverse region on Earth and provides shelter to three million species of plants and animals. Billions of trees absorb tons of carbon dioxide every year and produce 20% of earth’s oxygen. It’s been called the Lungs of the Earth.
But I read something most disturbing. The Amazon rainforest is now emitting about a billion tons of carbon dioxide a year. From its role as a carbon sink, the lungs of the Earth have become a carbon source. Deforestation by fire of thousands of square miles a year is killing off trees. On average, 137 species of life forms die out every day in the rainforest. 137 species.
I remember visiting the Hoh Rainforest on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state. Though smaller than the Amazon Rainforest and with different kinds of trees, it’s an eerie sensation to stand in such a rich wet environment.
I followed a trail deep into the Hoh and looked up. A Western redcedar pulsed upward in front of me. The forest floor was carpeted by epiphytic moss and Pacific oak ferns. An old Sitka spruce lay on the ground—now a nurse log birthing new trees and insects. A stand of western hemlocks and coast Douglas fir guarded like shomrim, reaching to the sky. I could hear the chirp of chipmunks running to my right. The whistle of a golden-crowned kinglet songbird broke the air as the rising sun layered the copse in purple and yellow light.
Plants and animals don’t grow in a vacuum. It’s all connected. Without forests, the birds can’t survive. Birds disperse seeds so that forests grow. They pollinate flowers. Many eat beetles that would otherwise decimate the forest. It’s their job. This is their office. We all have our jobs to do. It’s a delicate balance.
When a species dies out, no one does its job. It’s like what happened in New York City in 1968. I had just started college. The city was exciting, alive. And then, there was a garbage strike. The sanitation workers wanted more money and for nine days, garbage began lining the streets. 100,000 tons of it. I remember walking along E. 56th Street. There were piles of trash reaching up to my chest level. I could make out egg shells, coffee grounds, milk cartons, orange rinds, empty beer cans, papers. The smell was disgusting wherever I went. The city was grinding incoherently to a stop. It was like the municipal cycle was stuck on an inbreath with a needed clothespin on its nose waiting in idle for relief.
It’s all connected.
What we are doing to the rainforests, to me, is a sin. We’re destroying the birds’ office—the very thing they built in the first place, the very thing that’s providing us with oxygen to breathe. We’re killing off species without thinking about who’s going to fill in the hole in nature’s cycles. I am grateful for JCAN’s voice which helps educate people about the problems caused by unthinking use of resources. In this time of Elul, we reflect on returning to spirit. We must all change and let go of beliefs that support an unsustainable lifestyle. A little thing is to not drink sun-grown coffee which kills trees and birds. A bigger thing is to stop eating red meat. Even bigger is making your own environment sustainable. Even bigger is to educate and advocate. This change in the Amazon rainforest is a tipping point. It is time to return to a true compass and work together. This is the heartbeat of life; this is the heartbeat of a planet.
Photo credit: Heart of the Ancient Rainforest, by Linda Lundell. Limited edition giclee print.
Thea Iberall, PhD, is on the leadership team of the Jewish Climate Action Network-MA. Iberall is the author of The Swallow and the Nightingale, visionary fiction about a 4,000-year-old secret brought through time by the birds. In this fable, she addresses the real moral issue of today: not whom you love, but what we are doing to the planet. Iberall is also the playwright of We Did It For You! Women’s Journey Through History – a musical about how women got their rights in America, told by the women who were there. Thea was inducted into the International Educators Hall of Fame for creative teaching methods. In her work, she bridges between heart and mind and teaches through performance, the written word, poetry, sermons, workshops, and storytelling. www.theaiberall.com.
By Rabbi Michael Birnholz
It's not novel or unique. Judaism is built on riding the energy of oscillations between values and experiences. From every day to holiness or transcendence/ein sof to shechinah/immanence or sadness/tsuris to joy/simcha, we flow from one state of being or perspective, generating energy as we move. One of these oscillations takes us from the big picture to the small detail and back again. We each have illustrations of this very motion, experiencing it in different times and places. In this Elul, in this time of reflection, I will carry a recent trip to Yosemite National Park in my heart and mind. On one afternoon, my family and I hiked to the base of the Lower Yosemite Falls. As we walked up, we could see the incredible thousands of feet of the full falls pouring down from the cliffs above. Taking in this magnificent, expansive sight, we could sense the age of this place, as the water cut into the granite, and the scale, as we could feel the height of the walls of the canyon and the power of the water rushing down into the river before us. Shortly after taking in the view of the falls, we followed the trail past a cluster of boulders and went down to the river bank. We delighted to take off our shoes and rest our feet in the cold glacial water. As the water rushed past, I reached down and scooped a handful of pebbles from the bottom of the river. I turned them in my hand, seeing the colors and shapes of these tiny pieces of rock, shaped over time by so many forces. From the immense size and power of the falls, here I was looking at these individual fragments of the mountains surrounding me.
For me, during this season of reflection, this experience of the falls and the pebbles embodies the work I need to do. Take in the big picture, whether looking back at the past year or ahead to the approaching year of 5782. Then, narrow my focus. From that wide view, finding one detail or component that needs my awareness or attention. I must remember that it is not just seeing the two perspectives, its also gathering energy from the act of shifting back and forth. I can't settle on one but need both the dilation and contraction to make my way from one year into the next.
Rabbi Michael Birnholz arrived at Temple Beth Shalom in Vero Beach in 2002 following his ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Over the almost 20 years that Rabbi Birnholz has been in Indian River County, he and his family have had a chance to grow in body, mind and spirit right along with Temple Beth Shalom. Rabbi Birnholz enthusiastically shares his ruach and koach -spirit and strength - with the many diverse generations and facets of the Jewish community. From the biblical garden to tot Shabbat, from Men's club breakfast to adult learning while making challah, Rabbi Birnholz's hope is to build Temple Beth Shalom into a House of wholeness, harmony and peace and see these efforts spread caring, compassion and justice to the whole Treasure Coast and beyond.
By Rabbi Louis Polisson
At the edge of the sea
On the sand, on the stones, on the shells
But where should I look
What am I supposed to see
I want to contemplate
The reflections of the sun in her waves
Illuminate and entice my eyes
But the obligation of the East
Arises in my mind
And draws me
To turn away from the sea
To turn around
Facing the sun
To believe and to witness
The day when the sun and the sea
Human and nature
Will be as one
On the same side
No East or West
Unified in the bond of life
In God's image
On that day
Heaven and earth
The supernal above and the mundane below
Shall be one
In Divine Being
And as for me, in my prayer
I simply seek to fulfill my obligation
But slowly, suddenly
That I am standing in prayer
On the beach
At the edge of the sea
At the edge of truth
by Maggid David Arfa
I want to speak about sin. Not the finger-wagging, chest-pounding, moralizing, holier-than-thou approach to sin that so often sounds like a harsh “bad dog!” rebuke. Nor the progressive counter approach that dodges shame altogether by teaching that sin is merely ‘missing the mark’; an oopsy-daisy moment where we gently rub our hearts and lull ourselves into believing that next year we will do better.
We have developed a whole new category of sins, sins against the Earth. I’d like to explore why they fall flat for me. They often sound like this: “For the sin of not buying local food when in season; for the sin of unnecessary travel; for the sin of using disposable products; for the sin of too much screen time (except for the really good shows)...Please forgive us”. Sound familiar?
While personal responsibility is critically important, it is also woefully inadequate for the existential crisis we are facing. How do we remember that just as there is structural racism where laws and policies perpetuate white supremacy, so too there is also structural environmental degradation where our fixation on individual rights, private property and growth at all costs perpetuates the damage. These structural ‘sins’ inflict pain and anguish on us all.
In addition, alert citizens also feel the pain of living in a world where the world’s scientists are ignored; where there is brazen, fantasy-inspired economic growth, where our political leaders spew vitriol and sow hatred for their political and financial gain. Where our ordinary shopping and travel choices carry high impacts and remind us that we also are perpetrators. Just as alert white people grapple with the painful guilt that white privilege brings, so too we all grapple with the pain and guilt our resource privilege brings. The mid-century conservationist, Aldo Leopold, named this when he said, “The price of an ecological education is to live in a world filled with wounds”. How do we address these soul injuries, these moral wounds?
This is the atonement, ‘at-one-ment’, I seek to address. I find this wounding can erode my hope, my action and spiral me into paralysis. My hopelessness can infect me and those around me. I’m wondering how Teshuvah might support us back into wholeness with renewed resilience and a strengthened moral center. Ready us to tackle the challenges of the day with renewed zeal, zest and fortitude. After all, our birthright as children of the prophets is to strive for not only moral courage (dayenu!) but moral grandeur and spiritual audacity!3 Praying for forgiveness for 50 simple sins won’t save the earth or ourselves. Saying ‘I’ll try harder next year’, while important for raising awareness, just doesn’t cut it.
What ancient guidance might be available for us to address the hidden pain of moral wounding? Reb Zalman reminds us of the flavor and nuance found in the Hebrew word ‘Avera’. The small English word sin is a pale echo. ‘Avera’ means to transgress under duress (literally to cross over and has the same root letters as our name, Hebrews). Here seems to be a door opening. Traditionally, this referred to breaking mitzvot under forced conversion or enslavement Today, foundational values like reverence for fresh water and air, conserving biodiversity, welcoming the stranger, care for public health, and basic kindness are transgressed against our will. The impact, like poison, seeps into my soul, my being, and my hopelessness deepens.
We know the remedy for an Avera. Teshuvah! We acknowledge what we are seeing and feeling and confess. We make the time and space to express fully our pain, anguish, remorse, guilt, grief and anger; wherever they lead. Sharing with people who can listen without judging helps us overcome our despair driven lethargy and begin anew. Repeat as necessary.
The Rabbis encourage us to trust that sharing openly is healing. That afterwards we will remember our interconnectedness with each other and the Web of Life; the Source of Being. In this way, our moral centers become openly engaged and strengthened, our resilience deepens and new found fortitude helps us forge the road ahead. This is the Teshuvah I seek.
1 From p29- Yom Kippur Kattan and the Cycles of Teshuvah, Aleph, 1999
2 From p78- Moral Injury: Restoring Wounded Souls. Abingdon Press, 2017
3 Telegram to President Kennedy: TO PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY, THE WHITE HOUSE, JUNE 16, 1963. I LOOK FORWARD TO PRIVILEGE OF BEING PRESENT AT MEETING TOMORROW AT 4 P.M. LIKELIHOOD EXISTS THAT NEGRO PROBLEM WILL BE LIKE THE WEATHER. EVERYBODY TALKS ABOUT IT BUT NOBODY DOES ANYTHING ABOUT IT. PLEASE DEMAND OF RELIGIOUS LEADERS PERSONAL INVOLVEMENT NOT JUST SOLEMN DECLARATION. WE FORFEIT THE RIGHT TO WORSHIP GOD AS LONG AS WE CONTINUE TO HUMILIATE NEGROES. CHURCHES SYNAGOGUES HAVE FAILED. THEY MUST REPENT. ASK OF RELIGIOUS LEADERS TO CALL FOR NATIONAL REPENTANCE AND PERSONAL SACRIFICE. LET RELIGIOUS LEADERS DONATE ONE MONTH’S SALARY TOWARD FUND FOR NEGRO HOUSING AND EDUCATION. I PROPOSE THAT YOU MR. PRESIDENT DECLARE STATE OF MORAL EMERGENCY. A MARSHALL PLAN FOR AID TO NEGROES IS BECOMING A NECESSITY. THE HOUR CALLS FOR HIGH MORAL GRANDEUR AND SPIRITUAL AUDACITY. Abraham Joshua Heschel (bold added)
Maggid David Arfa is both a storyteller and a storylistener. He has retrained as a Spiritual Care Counselor and has completed four units of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE). Each unit of CPE provides 400 hours of professional education in a multi-faith setting and direct experience in providing spiritual care to people in crisis. David is experienced providing spiritual care for end of life transitions, major physical challenges, mental health crisis and substance use issues. He has developed specialties in trauma and the body, grief support and providing spiritual care for the non-religious. He is currently working with Baystate Hospice. David continues to tell stories and lead contemplative Shabbat hikes at the High Ledges Audubon Sanctuary in Shelburne, MA.
by Rabbi Ariel Wolpe
Midrash Tanhuma teaches that when the Holy One began to create the world, the Holy One did so as a child grows within the mother. Just as an embryo begins as a small cell and then expands in all directions, so too the world was created from a single point—from even shtiya, the foundation or “drinking” stone. This stone is the naval of the earth, nourishing us and connecting us to Divine Mother.
According to Rabbi Eliezer, this occurred on the twenty-fifth of Elul. Rosh Hashannah is the birthday of humanity—Adam formed from dust—but Elul is when life first flowed from the even shtiya. During Elul we experience the earth for its beauty and power independent of humankind, remembering a time before we became its stewards. We imagine rivers flowing from the foundation rock throughout the earth, expanding and growing as a fetus, forming each unique species. A macrocosm of our own womb journeys.
A part of this sacred body, we connect to the Holy One through a cord flowing with life.
Rabbi Ariel Root Wolpe is a mother, musician, and founder and director of Ma'alot, an emergent spiritual community in Atlanta, GA. She just released Ruach Neshama, a spiritual album through Hadar’s Rising Song Institute.
by Rabbi David Seidenberg
As we approach Rosh Hashanah, we are also fast approaching the next Shmita year, when all the land in Israel was supposed to rest, all debts were supposed to be canceled, and all food was to be shared, even with the wild animals. Just like Elul and the High Holidays, the Shmita year itself was a long journey of t’shuvah, during which our sense of business-as-usual would fall away, revealing what it means to truly be in community with each other and with the land. A human world that observed Shmita fully is a world that would never ruin Earth’s climate.
Before the last Shmita year (2014-2015), my friend Nili Simhai asked me to work up some Shmita year liturgy. Shmita means "release" and liberation, and the Shmita year is about liberation between the people and animals and the land, liberation among the people themselves, and release or liberation for the land itself. I wrote a Harachaman blessing that references all three kinds of liberation, and it does that by using three different verbs that have the root letters Shin ש and Bet ב, the same letters that are in t’shuvah.
Before sharing it, let me explain what a Harachaman blessing is. “Harachaman” means “the Merciful One,” a name for God, and it refers to a series of blessings and wishes for ourselves and the world, all of which begin with the word Harachaman, which we say at the end of the blessing after the meals, called in Hebrew Birkat Hamazon. So, for example, we pray “May the Merciful One let us inherit a world that is entirely filled with Shabbat” and “May the Merciful One renew for us a year that is good and sweet” for Shabbat and for Rosh Hashanah respectively.
Here’s the Harachaman that I wrote for Shmita:
May the merciful One turn our hearts toward the land,
so that we may dwell together with her in her sabbath-rest, the whole year of Shmita.
Harachaman hu yashiv libeinu el ha’aretz
l’ma’an neisheiv yachad imah b’shovtah, kol sh’nat hash’mitah!
הָרַחֲמָן הוּא יָשִיב לִבֵּינוּ אֶל הָאָרֶץ לְמַעַן נֵשֵב יָחַד עִמָהּ בְּשָׁבְתהּ, כָּל שְׁנַת הַשְׁמִיטָה
What are the three verbs that relate to the three levels of liberation connected to t’shuvah? The first verb is yashiv (“turn our hearts toward the land”), and it comes from the word "turn", lashuv, לשוב, and it refers to our returning to a right relationship, on a heart level, with the Earth. Just as we ask God to turn us toward the divine intention during the High Holidays, here to we ask God to turn our hearts toward the land.
The second verb, neishev (“that we may dwell together”), comes from "to settle" or "dwell", lashevet, לשבת, as in shevet achim gam yachad – “how good it is for brothers and sisters to dwell together,” and it refers to liberation between individuals in the year of release, when debts between people are canceled and food is shared with all, even with the wild animals.
The third verb, b'shovtah (“with her in her sabbath-rest”), comes from lishbot, לשבות, to rest, just like Shabbat, and it refers to the shabbat that the land itself enjoys in the Shmita year, as it says, "the land will enjoy her sabbaths" (Lev 26:43).
It is no accident that these three roots are connected by the same letters, since they are also connected on a soul level with each other. They represent the true nature of tikkun olam. Tikkun, repair and restoration, must happen on all these levels together: turn back, settle down, rest. To fix the world, that must happen for the land, for the animals, for the human beings, and that is what we are called to do in this Shmita year, as in every Shmita year to come.
A world that can learn Shmita might yet save us from the worst and bring us back in t’shuvah toward choosing Life. May the Merciful let our turning come in time to avert the worst of climate disaster and to restore the health of the planet, along with her magnificent species that together make up the web of Life.
You are invited to download the Harachaman, and learn the song from Jonah Adels, z”l, that we sing it to, here: https://www.neohasid.org/resources/shmita-harachaman/
Rabbi David Seidenberg is the author of Kabbalah and Ecology: God's Image in the More-Than-Human World, and the creator of neohasid.org. He has ordination from JTS and Reb Zalman, teaches about ecology, human rights, and animal rights in Judaism, leads astronomy programs, and is an avid dancer and musician.
by Rabbi Steven Rubenstein
Teshuvah is reflected in the power to change
And the waters that cleanse our souls.
Rabbi Steven Rubenstein recently celebrated his 25th anniversary since his ordination from the Academy for Jewish Religion. In that time, he served congregations in San Francisco, CA, El Paso, TX, and Beverly, MA. In addition, he has served as Director of Spiritual Care at Shalom Park in Denver, CO and currently is performing a similar role at Jewish Senior Life in Rochester, NY. He is equally as proud to be a member of NAJC, Neshama: Association of Jewish Chaplains where he received recognition as a Board Certified Chaplain. His hobbies include collecting Israeli Stamps, baseball cards of Jewish ballplayers, and capturing the God moments in his photography that he shares with my residents on a weekly basis.
By Joan Rachlin
It has been just over 17 months since my husband suffered a stroke. It wasn’t just our lives that changed that day, though, as March 11, 2020 was also the day that Boston went into lockdown in an effort to stem the spread of Covid. We therefore found ourselves living in a bubble within a bubble and rehab services were consequently hard to find. All of the outpatient clinics were closed and home care was limited. In this “timing is everything world,” my husband’s rehab was slowed down because the world had turned upside down.
We drove up to our cabin in New Hampshire on a mid-July weekend in hopes of having at least one dance with summer before the cool August breezes began to blow. I felt the tension begin to drain out of my body as soon as we arrived, especially upon seeing our neglected but forgiving garden with its welcome mat of lilys, daisies, and bleeding hearts. The peonies had gone by, but their faded, falling blossoms still evoked delicacy and beauty.
My husband and I were overjoyed to be there and felt as though his rehab journey had been instantly boosted by the healing power of nature. The peacefulness of our surroundings decreased our stress and increased our energy. It was thus easy to make the decision to move to NH for the foreseeable future.
Our NH home is in a planned community that was built by a trio of developers, among them the Society for the Preservation of New Hampshire Forests. The developers’ mission was to “develop the land so that the impact upon the natural environment is minimized and the surrounding landscape is conserved and enhanced.” They knew that preserving this small patch of paradise would take rules, e.g., trees larger than 4 inches in diameter could not be removed without compelling reasons, boats had to be washed and then checked for invasive species before being launched into the lake (where a 10 mph maximum is strictly enforced), trails, streams, and other watersheds are well maintained, wildlife is monitored and protected, Association buildings are LEED certified, there is an active conservation corps, and the list goes on.
Living here full time has given me a new appreciation for the long term commitment to sustainability exhibited by the developers. Their responsible stewardship stands in stark contrast to the developers in my hometown of Hollywood, Florida where money was the only “prize” on which they kept their eyes and where environmental regulations were seen as so much red tape and therefore mostly ignored.
The foresight of the NH planners has planted within me a commitment to do my part to ensure that the woods, trails, lakes, streams, and wildlife will be preserved for future generations, as commanded in Genesis. I’ve been planting trees, shrubs, flowers, and pollinator friendly plants, nourishing the soil with organic supplements in hopes of helping it capture and store carbon, and collecting the abundant rainwater so as not to tax the water supply. Like Choni*, I won’t see the trees or shrubs reach maturity, but I am planting for future generations.
The work of repairing the Earth is holy and I’ve come to think of it in “I-thou,” versus “I-it,” terms. Buber maintained that “I/Thou encounters are possible with the other-than-human,” which means that I/we should give the Earth respect, attention, and time. I don’t want to enjoy and exploit its gifts without infusing mutuality into the relationship. That concept is not new to me, as I’m one of those individuals who get irritated when I hear that only 10% of NPR listeners donate to NPR, i.e., the other 90% are “free riders.” I fear that even a smaller number of nature lovers actively work to repair the damage that we humans have done to the Earth and the creatures who inhabit it.
As the Days of Awe draw near, I am working to nourish nature in a more active manner. Our surroundings in NH have been healing for us, so I am strengthening my kavanah to help “heal the healer.” The Earth recognizes and cares for us, but do we adequately recognize and care for our fragile, burning, flooding, dying planet? We must try. Harder. Now. May it be our will to do God’s work here on earth. Amen.
*”The Talmud tells the story of the sage Choni, who was walking along a road when he saw a man planting a carob tree. Choni asked, "How long will it take for this tree to bear fruit?" "Seventy years," the man replied. Choni then asked, "Are you so healthy that you expect to live that length of time and eat its fruit?" The man answered, "I found a fruitful world because my ancestors planted it for me. Likewise, I am planting for my children." (Avot d'Rebbe Natan 31b)
Joan Rachlin is the Executive Director Emerita of PRIM&R (Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research) an international bioethics organization. In addition to her work with PRIM&R, she practiced law in the areas of women’s health, civil rights, and criminal and civil litigation. Joan was the founder and longtime chair of Temple Israel Boston’s Green Team and now works with other local and national environmental groups.
By Michael Garry
Tikkun olam, which in Hebrew means “repair of the world,” has always been a guiding principle of the Jewish people, one that we teach our children and try to practice in our everyday lives. In the modern era, tikkun olam means that Jews bear responsibility not only for their own moral, spiritual, and material welfare, but also for the welfare of society at large.
It is well-known that the welfare of the planet is now threatened by an environmental crisis called climate change, caused by unchecked emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel combustion and other heat-trapping greenhouse gases.
While climate change can sound very grim, our Jewish faith can help sustain us and inspire us to action; indeed, caring for the Earth is one of the cornerstones of Judaism, and it’s found throughout the Torah. During this season of teshuvah, it is especially important for Jews to reflect on our obligation to help correct our transgressions against the environment.
The very act of creation in Genesis marks the sacred quality of the Earth, and humankind’s duty to respect, protect and preserve God’s creation. We are God’s caretakers; as it is written in Genesis 2:15, God created Adam and placed him in the Garden of Eden “to work it and conserve it.”
There is also a body of Jewish law called the Law of Neighbors (Hilkhot Shekeinim), which states that there is no presumptive right to cause pollution that damages another’s health, no matter how long we have been doing it.
In Psalms, farmers are asked to be conscious of what they plant, not sowing their fields with mingled seeds. Proverbs stresses the importance of trees – which are a great remedy for climate change since they absorb much carbon dioxide and release oxygen. Indeed, planting trees has been a bedrock of our tradition, and a principal part of the Tu BiShvat holiday. The Torah itself is called “a tree of life.”
For Jews, Shabbat is an opportunity to step back from everyday activities, which helps preserve the environment. The Torah also stipulates a practice called Shmitta (Sabbatical Year) such that every 7th year shall be a Shabbat for the land; farmers shall not plant that year so as to not overuse the fields. People eat whatever grows on its own in the fields. In Israel, Shmitta is practiced in a lesser form to this day.
What else can we do to reverse climate change? I’ve discovered that the climate issue becomes less overwhelming when you work in a group, not just by yourself. That can foster camaraderie and make it a joyful experience, not a grim one. So join with other like-minded people.
When you consider the lessons of the Torah, fighting climate change becomes a religious and moral issue, not a matter of politics. As Jews, we can all agree on the moral underpinning of protecting and preserving the environment for ourselves and our children. And we can spread that message to all people of good will.
As Jews, who have historically had to survive threats to our existence, we are especially suited to helping the world adapt to and overcome the climate crisis. Which takes us back to the bedrock principle: tikkun olam.
Michael Garry is Editor in Chief for shecco, which promotes climate-friendly cooling and heating systems that use natural refrigerants. He is also the author of Game of My Life: New York Mets, published in 2015 and 2018 by Skyhorse Publishing.