Reprinted courtesy of Yaakov (Dry Bones) Kirschen www.DryBonesBlog.blogspot.com.
— Rabbi Arthur Waskow
Tonight is in Jewish tradition the midwinter time called “Tu B’Shvat” for celebrating with a sacred meal of fruit, nuts, and wine the rebirth of trees and of the sacred Tree of Life that nourishes all the abundance of our planet.
(There is every reason for people of other religious and ethnic communities to join in celebrating the Earth that nourishes us all. And for some, this coming weekend may be a better time.)
In our world today, the flow of life that makes abundance possible is threatened by many Overdoings of the human race – especially by our pouring too much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, heating and scorching the earth.
In the spirit of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel’s teaching that “prayer is useless unless it is subversive,” we must infuse Tu B’Shvat with some political action that protects the physical planet in which we live.
Ideally, perhaps, in the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King and Rabbi Heschel, we would hold the Seder by nonviolent direct action in the very offices of Senators who are trying to shatter the fragile defenses against climate crisis that are already in place.
But few of us are ready for that kind of action. We propose instead, ending the Seder with a new ritual: writing, by hand, a letter to our Senators and to our local newspapers. (And you can do this any time, even without a Seder.)
We at The Shalom Center have made available a model text that our members and readers can modify and send your Senators. You can use this letter
and we encourage you to add your own words and thoughts.
We also urge you to draw on and modify this text for a letter-to-the-editor of your own local and communal newspapers. (See the model text following the jump below.)
For more information on the mystical, intellectual, political, and physical aspects of Tu B’Shvat, see any of the articles on our website.
Blessings of shalom, salaam, peace — Arthur
I have just taken part in a sacred Jewish celebration of God’s creation and the rebirth in this wintry time of trees and of all life. Yet it is already clear that God’s command to protect and heal the Earth is being ignored as we pour still more carbon dioxide into our atmosphere.
The rising epidemic of asthma, unprecedented floods in Pakistan and fires in Russia, extreme weather events in Nashville and other American regions, all tell us that the climate crisis is already damaging our lives and our planet.
Some Senators and Congressmembers in the new Congress are hoping to restrict or cripple the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to carry out its court-ordered mandate to prevent emissions of CO2 from poisoning our neighborhoods and our country.
We must join in opposing any and all efforts to restrict or cripple EPA’s authority to heal our neighborhoods and our Earth.