“The Torah is about bringing kindness mercy and peace into the world.”
Maimonides, Laws of Shabbat, 2:3.
What’s Jewish about action to avert climate change?
Headlines: Click here for the basics on why this is a Jewish imperative.
The Next Level: Climate change raises ethical, legal and theological questions that call for a sophisticated Jewish response, that’s rooted in the classical sources and also engaged with contemporary reality.
Among the issues that Jewish Climate Initiative is addressing are:
- Pollution Ethics: How can Jewish environmental law be generalized and extrapolated to inform policy on global climate change? Read More.
- Pikuah Nefesh – The central Jewish value of saving lives as it impacts global warming. Read More.
- Ethical Consumption: How can Jewish ethics help us shift to sustainable patterns of energy and water consumption? How can they challenge the ethos of excessive consumption that drives environmental degradation? Read More.
- Intergenerational Justice: Climate change threatens to bequeath a far less hospitable world to our children and grandchildren. What are our obligations to preserve the conditions of life for future generations? Read More.
- Global Justice: Climate change disproportionately affects the world’s poorest and most vulnerable citizens, leading to critical disagreements between rich and poor nations about who should bear the costs of averting and mitigating climate change impacts. What can Jewish teachings contribute to these debates? Read More.
- Midrashic Narratives: The scale of the climate change challenge requires narratives of “mythical” scope to be adequately grasped. The default myth of global warming in Western societies is one of hellfire as a consequence of sin. Jewish Climate Initiative is articulating religiously-based narratives of climate change that are less paralyzing and more empowering. Read More.
- Climate Change Theology: Climate science demonstrates the potential of human activities to profoundly affect the weather, a domain reserved by classical theologies for the Divine. This fact may have profound implications for traditional categories of faith and prayer in relation to natural phenomena. Read More.
- Interfaith Engagement: The world’s faiths can be an immensely powerful force for behavioral change in combating global warming. We aim to actualize this power within Judaism and, through dialogue with other religious leaders to stimulate them to actualize it in their own faith communities. Read More.
These pages are meant as starting points for research and discussion. Feel free to contribute your thoughts and responses.