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On Tu Bish'vat, Reform Movement Commits to Significant Energy Reduction Targets

Rabbi David Saperstein: "We mark this Tu Bish'vat with a new chapter in the Jewish community's long and deep-seated tradition of stewardship, addressing the broader challenge of climate change by committing to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions 14% by 2014."

Contact Sean Thibault or Susan Paykin
202.387.2800 | news@rac.org

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 6, 2012 – On this Tu Bish'vat, the Jewish new year for trees, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:

On Tu Bish'vat we consider our moral obligation and tremendous responsibility to share the fruits of God's earth with all. Now, more than ever, we must honor this call to action by working to reduce the environmental impact of our own communities as well as advocating for policies that affect environmental integrity. This is why I am proud of join leaders from other movements and organizations today in signing the Jewish Environmental and Energy Imperative declaration, committing to reduce the Jewish community's energy consumption 14% by 2014, the next Jewish sabbatical year. I spoke about importance of these actions at the signing ceremony today at the 14st Street Y in New York City:

"This represents a pivotal moment for the Jewish and broader religious community. Regardless of race, religious, creed, or geography, we are united by our care for God's creation. Today, we make clear that our response to climate change is rooted in our compassion for humankind and reflects our religious understanding of God's covenant with man and woman kind.

"We mark this Tu Bish'vat with a new chapter in the Jewish community's long and deep-seated tradition of stewardship, addressing the broader challenge of climate change by committing to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions in the next two years and beyond. This chapter may be difficult at times to write, but it is one that is central to our understanding the meaning of our duty 'to till and to tend' the Earth. Our commitment today represents a promise for tomorrow – a promise of an Earth with clean air to breathe, safe water to drink, and environmental justice for all."

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 1,800 Reform rabbis. Visit www.rac.org for more.



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