The Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life
- Marching Since: November 05, 2005
It is not your duty to finish the work, but neither are you free to desist from it.
Rabbi Tarfon, Pirke Avot
The Jewish concept of tikkun olam refers to repairing the world through righteousness and justice. When it comes to our threatened environment, it is our moral and ethical obligation to literally repair the world. Particularly in light of global climate change issues, this means promoting clean, safe, renewable, energy alternatives and conservation.
The Jewish law of bal tashchit instructs us not to “waste or destroy.” Over the centuries, our rabbis elaborated on what it means not to use more than we need, not to needlessly destroy anything.
God led the first human beings around the Garden of Eden and said: See to it that you do not spoil and destroy My world, for if you do, there will be no one else to repair it.
Midrash Ecclesiastes, Rabbah 7:13
As the environmental voice for the Jewish community, COEJL organizes Jewish participation in national advocacy campaigns addressing climate change, energy policy, and public health.
Through our Greening Synagogues project, COEJL is taking action by transforming congregations into centers of environmental awareness, stewardship, and justice. Along with our partners in the faith community, COEJL is helping congregations apply green building principles such as energy efficiency in managing their facilities, and instilling ethical environmental practices into ritual life, educational programming, and social action. An eventual goal of this project is to not only influence the “greening” of Jewish institutions, but to help individuals in the greater Jewish community make sustainable lifestyle choices.
We are joining this march because our Jewish tradition calls upon us to protect creation. God asks us as shomrei adamah – guardians of the Earth – “to till and to tend” the garden for all its inhabitants and to insure that we pass on a safe, healthy and sustainable planet l’dor v’dor (from generation to generation). www.coejl.org