CNN Reports: How Rabbis Responded to the Pope's Encyclical

[Dear chevra,

[Just today, my email arrived with an article from CNN on non-Catholic responses to Pope Francis. It includes a passage based on an interview with me about the Rabbinic Letter on the Climate Crisis and some related matters.  So I thought you-all might like to know about the article and to see that passage.

[For the whole article, see <>  Below is the passage based on the interview with me.

[May the prayerful passion we all bring to God and to the Godwrestling People upon entering the year be profoundly moving for us all, and may the year ahead be for all of us not only shanah tovah but shinui tov — good transformation. 

[Shalom, salaam, sohl, peace, Earth!---  Reb Arthur]
 ^^^^^^^^^^^^^ "The Pope: Not just for Catholics anymore "By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

'… "Space for others

"The pope's first full day in the United States will be spent in Washington meeting with President Barack Obama, praying with U.S. bishops and canonizing a Spanish-born Franciscan friar.

"Meantime, at the Lincoln Memorial, Rabbi Arthur Waskow will help lead a special Yom Kippur service open to all faiths on the Jewish Day of Atonement.

"Collectively, Waskow says, the group will atone for the "misdeeds of all cultures in dealing with the world" and, using a play on words, "reaffirm at-one-ment with the Earth and with God."

"After this service, Waskow and others plan to attend a Franciscan led multireligious celebration in honor of the Pope.

"What drives this 81-year-old rabbi, a longtime political activist and founder of Philadelphia's Shalom Center, is his concern about the climate. It's been the focal point of his work for a decade and has spawned events like a pre-Passover service to challenge the "Carbon Pharaohs" and the Koch brothers.

"The Pope’s green manifesto

"Inroads had already been made in stirring up interest in the Jewish community, he says, but advance word that the Pope was drafting an encyclical on the environment galvanized efforts.

"We knew the Pope was going to mobilize the kind of energy that very few religious leaders can do in the world," Waskow says. "There had to be a Jewish statement. ... We felt a coming together in all of this, a response to the crisis and a response to the presence of God in the world."

"Thus was born "A Rabbinic Letter on the Climate Crisis," originally drafted by Waskow and honed and enrichd through a collaboration with others. It has been signed by more than 400 rabbis from across various Jewish denominations. It references Torah text, extends respect to scientists and outlines concerns and suggestions for action. It is a "call for a new sense of eco-social justice -- a tikkun olam [healing of the world] that includes tikkun tevel, the healing of our planet."

"Already it has paid dividends, prompting at least one citywide Jewish action conference planned for later this year in Philadelphia. A smaller conference in northwest Philly, which will include synagogues and churches, will be held on October 4. That day is significant in that it falls on the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the Pope's namesake, and during Sukkot, a Jewish harvest festival that also marks the 40 years that Israelites wandered in the desert.

[Other multireligious Hoshana Rabbah/ Hak‘hel events we know about will happen in the Pioneer Valley in Massachusetts with Everett Gendler, and in Los Angeles with Devorah Brous. If you are planning such events for October 4, please write us. --  AW]

"The last time Waskow remembers being this excited about a pontiff was more than half a century ago. That was when Pope John XXIII, whom Pope Francis canonized, intervened during the Cuban Missile Crisis, releasing a papal statement calling on world leaders to avoid disaster and issuing a 1963 encyclical on peace and nuclear disarmament.

"Just as that encyclical inspired Waskow's earlier focus on combatting the nuclear arms race from a Jewish perspective, so too has Pope Francis' encyclical bolstered The Shalom Center's top cause today.

" 'The fact that he was moving on this.' the rabbi said, 'opened up a lot of space for others.' "


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