We have the whole world in our hands!

Dear  friends,

Please look again at our logo, at the very top of this page. It’s a graphic symbol for this truth,  this song, this covenant:

 We have the whole world in our hands!

We have the trees and the honeybees in our hands,

We have our children and their children in our hands,

We have the whole world in our hands!

And there is a reason for the tree just below:

A Tree of Life, for Those Who Hold Her Close

In Jewish tradition, the Torah is the Tree of Life. In the mystical wisdom of Kabbalah, the Tree of Life is the whole of God’s Creation, with its roots in Heaven and its fruit –- us. And modern science teaches that we breathe in what the trees breathe out, and the trees breathe in what we breathe out. YHWH is the Interbreath of Life.

 These spiritual symbols are intended to convey a practical truth, an emotional truth: Let trees die, let myriads of honeybees die, let dolphins and whales die, and we die with them. Heal the planet that grows from them and through them, and we can create a joyful Beloved Community. Struggling to heal our climate, our planet, is not just symbolism. Our lives, our joy, depend upon that struggle.

 As the end of 2018 approaches, I am writing both to share  with you what the next stages of The Shalom Center‘s work will be, and to urgently ask your help in getting that work done.

 On many of the official oppressions of our time  --  White House encouragement for white nationalism and anti-Semitism; ripping children from their families; subjugating women -- The Shalom Center, along with other Jewish organizations, has not only spoken up but even been arrested in protests. We see all these and many other cruelties as part of the same over-all policy.

 One of those cruelties is helping modern Carbon Pharaohs poison the Earth by burning fossil fuels. Why? – To boost their Hyperprofits. That one endangers the very future of the planet,  human civilization, and the lives of our grandchildren. It demands action as a high priority.

 Yet in regard to the climate crisis, The Shalom Center is still the only national Jewish organization that sees the climate crisis and healing the Earth as Priority Number 1.

 During the next year we have four major projects on our planning table:

1.  Creating a new multireligious, multiracial pre-Passover Interfaith Freedom Seder that brings new insight and new “incite” to renewing our freedom in our generation and ending the plagues that modern Corporate Carbon Pharaohs and their governmental toadies are bringing on our Earth. It will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the original Freedom Seder –- then an unprecedented transformation of the conventional Passover Seder -- which I wrote and helped to organize in 1969. Beyond celebration of the past, we will transform the future.

Reverends William Barber and Liz Theoharis, co-chairs of the Poor People’s Campaign; Ana Maria Archila, who is the director of the Center for Popular Democracy and was one of the women who famously confronted Senator Flake in the US Capitol elevator; and Debbie Almontaser,  founder of the Khalil Gibran School in New York City, survivor and “transcender” of some bitter Islamophobic attacks, and founder /  director of Bridging Cultures. have agreed to join in leading the new Freedom Seder, next April 7. We intend to live-stream parts of it to faraway communities that hold their own Freedom Seders that evening. Save the date! More information later. 

[This globe will be the central symbol of the Interfaith Freedom Seder + 50. It is reframed as matzah, the unleavened bread of fierce urgency for freedom. It symbolizes our commitment to global liberation. It was designed by Avi Katz fpr The Shalom Center.]

2. Holding a series of Webinars on “Sacred Seasons of the Sacred Earth” to stimulate the celebration of Jewish festivals (which are all rooted in the rhythms of moon, sun, and earth) in ways that protect and heal the Earth that gave birth to the festivals themselves.  We have already held one Webinar on Sukkot and one on Hanukkah. Upcoming: Tu B’Shvat and Passover. Others will be scheduled throughout the year. You can register online at https://tinyurl.com/ss4seinfo

3. Persuading congregations --   Jewish and other – to become seeds of creating neighborhood solar co-ops. Solar co-ops can save householders money by slashing their electricity bills; can reduce asthma from burning coal and oil; can make serious cuts in CO2 and methane emissions that are burning Earth; can build local community resilience as local unnatural disasters multiply; and – above all – can become centers of political challenge and change to move us beyond the Carbon Pharaohs and to restore a  healthy, life-giving planet. A planet as life-giving for our grandchildren as it was for our grandparents.

4. Planning a multireligious Training Institute for organizers to learn how to draw powerfully on their own religious traditions and speak powerfully to their own religious communities to heal our wounded Earth by vigorous action.


All this costs money. Is it worth it? We face what Dr. Martin Luther King called “the fierce urgency of Now.” Thousands of the world’s scientists through the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and even the consensus of US civil servants across the whole Federal government – despite their President’s frantic denials – have reported the hot facts of far more expensive food, economic ruin, and major widespread medical problems that will result from global scorching. The California wildfires have already shown that hundreds of deaths and thousands of destroyed homes and businesses are fierce truth in the Now, of what will get far more frequent in the future.

 Yet the same scientists and experts say that we can heal the planet – if we act quickly. That is why The Shalom Center has made this our first priority. We hope that with your help, we can awaken the sleeping giants of the Jewish and other religious communities to become active energies for change. A change as necessary – and urgent – and achievable – as the US shift to a war footing in the early 1940s.

At The Shalom Center , we have responded by drawing on Torah teachings that have the power to move hearts and minds and inspire action as they speak of Earth in the voices of indigenous shepherds and farmers.

If you feel moved by what we are planning, please make as substantial a contribution as you can, by clicking on the maroon "Contribute" button in the left-hand margin.

 With a full heart, we say “Thank you!” The burning trees of California and the drowning towns of Florida thank you. The suffering refugees who are fleeing droughts and starvation caused by global scorching thank you. The food plants that cannot grow without bees to pollinate them thank you.

 May the seeds of healing that you have sown and keep on sowing,  flower and be fruitful for you yourselves and for our world in blessings of shalom, salaam, paz, peace! -- 

We have the whole world in our hands!

We have the seeds and the sowing in our hands,

We have our children and their children in our hands,

We have the whole world in our hands!


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