The artwork on this note card was created by 5768 WRJ Art Calendar artist Césan d’Ornellas Levine.
Yesterday I stood with other members of the Reform Jewish Movement outside the United Nations in New York City, in unity with people of many different faiths in the fight against climate change. This Climate Mobilization was part of a global effort to show support for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Pope Francis’ moral call to action on climate change. With the United Nations General Assembly discussing the SDGs, and the Pope to address the UN on Friday.
This was an experience unlike other rallies I have attended. Yes, it had the crowds, signs, speakers and cheers, but it also had a different type of spirituality that was evoked through various religious rituals. The event began with a processional of faith leaders and of instrumental calls to prayer including bells, drums, song, dance, the blowing of a conch shell and the shofar. Beginning in such a way united the crowd, to make us one people gathered to protect our one world.
Among the other members of the Reform Movement was a group of high school students from local synagogues. As the speakers highlighted the need to leave our world a better place for future generations, it was inspiring to watch and listen to the students experience this call to action as the future generation. One student remarked, “it is so empowering to see members of all faith communities, all moral backgrounds, and all belief systems unite over a common wish for hope.” There is no doubt that climate change is both and international and an interfaith issue.
Rabbi Marla J. Feldman, Executive Director of Women of Reform Judaism, presented the reading from the Jewish tradition along with the President of the Temple Shaaray Tefila youth group, reciting Al cheit she’chatanu l’faneicha, For the Sin We Have Committed Against You, from the Yom Kippur liturgy, repenting for our sins and asking for forgiveness as we move forward. As was a common theme throughout the event, Rabbi Feldman called the community to action saying, “Together, we can bring hope and redemption to our broken world.” The cheers received after this line and others showed that, as another student pointed out, “It doesn’t matter if you’re male or female, Muslim or Christian; we are all here supporting one thing and that is truly God’s image.” The idea that we must tend and till the earth (Genesis 2:15) is not just that one religion must work to protect our planet, but rather that all people should unite and work as one.
If you were unable to attend the mobilization but would like to join in the moral call for action, you can participate in the Prayer for Everyone event through October 1. Prayer for Everyone is a worldwide week of prayer and action to engage the faith community in the new Global Goals for Sustainable Development, which focus on stopping issues such as climate change to end extreme poverty worldwide. You can also urge your Members of Congress to support funding for the Green Climate Fund, an international fund to help developing countries adapt to effects of climate change and to promote sustainable development.