Wrap-up of 2019 Jewish Climate Change Conference: The Time Is Short, The Task Is Great.

Reflecting this crucial historical moment in the rise of youth and other concerned people around the world to save our planet, an estimated 200 attendees on March 24 thronged the 2nd Jewish Climate Change Conference in Newton, MA, titled The Time Is Short, The Task Is Great.

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JCAN president Rabbi Katy Allen and vice president Fred Davis at plenary

With this conference, the Jewish Climate Action Network, in partnership with leading Jewish organizations in the Boston area, created what keynoter Madeline Hirschland (founder and chair of Solarize Indiana) called a "hopeful and joyful community." Many leaders of the field were present, attendees coming from as far as Atlanta, Georgia.

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Dr. S. Atyia Martin speaks about the Intersection of of Climate Change and Racism

The conference's scope was comprehensive, featuring sessions about Conversations Within Communities, Coping with Climate Change, Eco-Food Making, Eco-Systems, Education, Finances, Food and Waste, Kids and Teens, Path for the Next 12 Years, Sustainable Synagogues, and Systemic Change: Advocacy. Economic and ecological justice was emphasized throughout. Traffic at the 24 exhibitor tables was continuous. The evening wrapped up with a panel and an excellent vegan dinner cooked on the spot by Beantown Jewish Gardens, with the participation of volunteers.

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Performers at plenary

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Volunteer-cooked vegan dinner

Presenters included Rabbi Arthur Waskow, who came from Philadelphia, author Lynne Cherry from Washington, DC. and local storyteller Judith Black.

Attendee comments universally positive, with attendees emphasizing the intense learning opportunities they encountered, along with the inspiration given to make change locally and politically. The laughter and animated discussions throughout the sessions and hallways showed the constructive and positive impact our conference had in this area of life where so much grief and anxiety reign.

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Upbeat feelings: leading a song

JCAN Massachusetts could not have carried off this conference without extensive advice and help from its partners. The Synagogue Council of Massachusetts handled registration, while Temple Reyim provided the venue and support. LimmudBoston gave frank and intensive advice about conference organizing, and Beantown Jewish Gardens organized several food-related sessions as well as cooking the dinner. City Compost handled food waste. A grant from the New England Grassroots Environmental Fund jumpstarted our efforts.

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City Compost in exhibitor area