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Policy Statement

Policy Statement

Adat Shalom Action Statement on Climate & Ecology

(Approved, following community input, on 22 January 2019)

As climate change and environmental degradation threaten people and species across the world for generations to come, Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation is obligated, by Jewish teachings and values, to speak up and take action.

Our tradition asks us to live lightly on God’s good Earth, to serve and to protect it (Gen. 2:15), to minimize waste (bal tashchit / בל תשחית), to limit our impact and respect the Earth as God’s (Lev. 25 & Ps. 24).  Despite the timeless wisdom of requiring reasonable precautions (see Deut. 22:8), today’s society consumes, exploits and pollutes in unprecedented and unsustainable ways – leading life on our planet, per an overwhelming scientific consensus, toward irreversible catastrophes.

Core Jewish values point to global warming, environmental injustice, habitat destruction, species extinction, and other human-caused ecological disasters as urgent spiritual and moral crises.  We commit to support, raise up and stand with:

  • poor, minority, and other disadvantaged communities – who bear the brunt of environmental degradation, and are the first and worst-hit victims of climate change;
  • the millions of other species with whom we share this imperiled interdependent biosphere, each with its own divine right to exist; and,
  • future generations, l’dor vador / לדור ודור – knowing that today’s (in)actions put our own progeny at risk.

To fulfill our responsibility as enlightened stewards of Creation, we must not be silent.  Adat Shalom has long embraced being a green congregation – from our building’s sustainable design which won a 2002 EPA Energy Star award, to having been the first area Jewish institution to install solar panels (43kw), to planting our pioneering Mishnah Garden, Sacred Grounds, Shmita Orchard, and more.

We extend our advocacy in the public sphere:  Adat Shalom works in continued partnership with IPL (Interfaith Power and Light), IPL’s Faith Action for Climate Solutions, and other such multi-faith efforts.  We join the work of the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, Hazon, Reconstructing Judaism, and other Jewish and environmental communities addressing these issues.  We raise our spirited voices in the political, social, corporate, religious, and personal arenas, seeking justice and thriving sustainability for all people and all of Creation.

Adat Shalom members, as individuals, are urged to act, eat, work, vote, consume, and live in line with these values.  As an institution, Adat Shalom pledges to continually strive for new ways to reduce its ecological footprint and stand for climate justice.  And in the broader community, Adat Shalom takes an active advocacy role in defense of Creation and a livable world.