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“The time is always right to do the right thing.”-Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

01/13/2022 10:00:41 AM

Jan13

Rabbi Kelly Levy

Time is a funny thing. There are days that seem to creep by so slowly, you’re absolutely sure the clock has stopped working. Then there are the days that go by so quickly you can barely catch your breath. And yet, no matter what, each day is measured in the exact same amount of seconds, minutes, and hours.

But here we are again, approaching the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend. And, believe it or not, this is CBI’s 5th annual MLK Social Justice symposium! For the past several years, we have focused on different issues that center around the experience of human beings in our community and beyond. This year, MLK Day falls on Tu B’Shevat, the celebration of our trees. So, it seemed fitting to incorporate issues of environmental justice with our social justice weekend.

What exactly is environmental justice? If you’re like me, you’re probably thinking this is about the earth, climate change, and what we can realistically do to help heal the planet from thousands of years of damage. However, environmental justice encompasses far more than the physical world; it delves into the inequality and extreme challenges faced by individuals and marginalized groups because of environmental problems.

As Jews, we know our obligation to Tikkun Olam, repairing the world. But, what we may not realize, is how extensive that repair work goes. Yes, the world is literally heating up. Dangerous weather patterns have emerged in recent years. Deforestation is at an all-time high. Animal extinction continues to permanently change fragile eco-systems. Beyond that, human beings are suffering from these effects, in particular those experiencing homelessness, lower income, and inequity within our society.

Now is the time to act. Now is the time to do the right thing for future generations. We know the imperative to repair the world, but the Torah also shares the imperative of Ba’al Tashchit, the command that prohibits destruction of the world. We are destroying the planet at a rapid pace. The amount of time may remain the same each year, but the amount of destruction has increased.

Join us for a weekend of exploring, learning, and action as we think about environmental justice through a Jewish lens. We will begin the weekend by partnering with Temple Beth Shalom for Shabbat evening services at 7:00, a environmentally-themed Torah study led by Rabbi Folberg at 9:00 on Saturday morning, and an excellent program led by our ISJL Program Associate, Sophie Bernstein on Saturday afternoon at 4:30. Click on this link for links to services, Torah study, and registration for the Saturday afternoon program.

We look forward to learning with you and doing the important work of Tikkun Olam together!

Tue, August 16 2022 19 Av 5782