This year, as the Jewish festival of Passover comes to a close, the secular observance of Earth Day emerges. Seemingly so different in their focus, these two celebrations share overlapping themes.
This past week while Jews marked the intermediate days of Passover, Beth Emet’s Dayenu Circle, our subcommittee of Social Action involved in Climate Change advocacy and action, participated in a demonstration linking Passover and the environment. At Fountain Square in Evanston--in the windy, rainy cold--we brought in themes of Passover as we rallied against big banks and how they are funding fossil fuels. One obvious overlapping theme is the name Dayenu, the national organization that metaphorically declares, “Dayenu: we have had enough! But we also have enough. We have what we need to transform our world.” Dayenu, the Passover song also celebrates those gifts from God throughout Jewish history, from bringing us out of slavery in Egypt, to giving us the Torah, bringing us into the Land of Israel and more. Passover not only includes the retelling of our past, this festival also looks to the future in an improved world.
At the rally we shared a litany of modern Dayenu environmental steps, that, if only we could truly fulfill, would preserve our planet: reduce pollution, shift energy to clear sources, convince big banks to stop funding the fossil fuel industry, etc. We named aloud modern plagues that like the ancient ones ravage the water, land, air, and people. We spoke of how the Passover seder teaches b’chol dor vador, in every generation, to see ourselves coming out of Egypt, and from one generation to the next we teach our story in part, to preserve our people. Similarly, related to Climate Change, each generation must protect our Earth to preserve our planet for future generations.
Continuing these important themes and living these values, Beth Emet is celebrating Earth Day and Climate Action Shabbat today, Friday, April 22, with a Mini Eco-Info Fair at 6:00 pm. State Senator Laura Fine will be speaking about the intersection of climate and mental health during Shabbat services at 6:30 pm. Then on Sunday, April 24 between 1:00 and 3:00 pm we will put our words and values into action as we clean up the litter along the Northshore Channel at Dempster St. and McCormick Blvd.
Dayenu! We have had enough, and we have enough of what it takes to improve our Earth for generations to come.
Chag Sameach and Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Amy L. Memis-Foler