McKibben, Waskow, & Macy -- Wise Elders Conversation


You are warmly invited to attend our upcoming program on March 28 at 7:30 pm Eastern Time, with luminary elders of the climate movement in conversation together.: 

 Bill McKibben, co-founder of and co-founder of Third Act, a gathering of activist Elders 60 years old and more, 

 Joanna Macy, founder  and lead teacher of The Work That Reconnects, 

and Rabbi Arthur Waskow, founder and director of The Shalom Center, initiator of #ExodusAlliance


The conversation will be moderated by a younger climate leader -- bringing the hearts of elders and youth  to turn to each other. It will be hosted by Third Act, Exodus Alliance, and GreenFaith. This discussion will center the deep wisdom and prophetic perspectives of these generational leaders, as they share about past, present, and future of the climate movement and the world of justice and compassion they’ve dedicated their lives to growing. 

You won’t want to miss it.

Our Gift to You -- a new Earth and Justice Freedom-Seder

I am writing to tell you about a new Passover Haggadah – a Telling of sorrow and transformation.  It is the multireligious Earth and Justice Freedom-Seder.  You can use it in your friends-and-family celebration, or in congregational, communal, or interfaith Seders.

Or - – the newest, bravest possibility – you can use it on the street, challenging the Pharaohs of our time.

Healing Ukraine: Communal Fast to Avert Calamity

Ceremonial Call for a Taanit Tzibbur al HaTzarah

Finding ourselves pressed down by the reality of war, we gather to support each other and to strengthen our courage. Regardless of our political views, we know that wars cause the death of innocents — mothers and children, fathers and grandparents. We know that the world is an interconnected whole, and that what we do to one part of it will in turn affect us, too.

The Rambam teaches that all fasts assist in the holy process of T'shuvah — turning ourselves toward the One. By turning away from filling our bellies, we more easily open our hearts to compassion, our minds to wisdom, and our hands to acts of peace. Today, we ask the question — what tshuvah, what turning, is it that we want to turn to, in light of this potential calamity of war? Near the end of the service, each person in the circle will be asked to share what they intend to turn to.

Bringing Out the Ark

Since ancient times, the Call to a Communal Fast has begun by bringing out the Ark into an open space and strewing wood-ashes on the Ark, on the foreheads of the secular and religious leaders of the community, and then everyone else. [Pause to do this, skipping anyone who prefers not to have the ashes. If the community has not brought an Ark outdoors, ashes may be strewn on the Torah cover or on a cloth surrounding it.]

The eldest member of the group speaks:

Today, as the Prophet Joel (2:13) teaches, "Karu l'vavchem v'al bigdeichem" — we gather to rend our hearts, not our garments as we do upon a death. We have not experienced a death, but in the darkened air there hovers the possibility of many deaths. By rending our hearts — tearing them more open — we hope to prevent the needless killing that could happen during war. Let us rend our hearts now, so that we will not need to rend our garments later. May our hearts and the hearts of our leaders soften so that we make life-affirming choices in these difficult times. As we learn (Jonah 3: 8-10), when Nineveh repented from the violence of their fists, God saw not their sackcloth and ashes — but instead "God saw their deeds, that they turned from their evil path."

Sounding the Shofar

We call ourselves to alarm by blowing the shofar in the sound of alarm; we call ourselves to compassion by blowing the shofar in its wailing and its sobs.


We remember the Power of the One to re-member us, to make us whole again.

"God remembered Noah and every living creature, and all the life-forms, all the animals that were with him in the ark; God brought a rushing-wind across the earth, and the waters abated." May we, living in a world beflooded by an overflow of violence, remember now our covenant for life.

Just as God heard our groaning under slavery in the Narrow Place, re-membering the covenant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Sarah, Rivka, Rachel and Leah, so may we re-member our own part in that covenant.

Blessed are You, YHWH our God, Ruler [Breathing-spirit] of the world, who has made us holy through connectedness, and has connected us through the hearing of the shofar. Baruch attah YHWH elohenu melech [ruach] ha'olam asher kidshanu b'mitzvot vitzivanu lishmoa kol shofar.

First blowing of the shofar — Tekiah, Shevarim, Teruah, Tekiah.

Blessed are You, YHWH our God, Who re-members the covenant.

Shoferot/Shofar-Transformations Today, we blow the shofar to awaken ourselves and our leaders to the transformative possibilities of peace. For as we are taught, "All you who dwell upon the planet and live throughout the earth shall see when the banner is lifted on the mountain, shall hear the Shofar when it is sounded forth." (Isaiah 18:3).

Second blowing of the shofar — Tekiah, Shevarim, Teruah, Tekiah Gedolah

For You hear the sound of the shofar and You heed its call. There is none like You. Blessed are You, YHWH, who in compassion hears the shofar sounding of Your people.

Acrostic Prayer for Yom Kippur Katan

(the "little Yom Kippur" before the New Moon or on any communal fast)

(by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi z'l)

You my God, my Helper

Ordering my life is not easy

My struggles are before You

Keep at my side as I strive

I am not as good as I wish to be

Put forth Your light and lead me

Please guide my steps on Your path

Up to the level I can live on

Raise my actions to my values

Kindness plant in my heart

Attention to the ways I am relating

To others who cross my path

And help me to live in balance

Neither in haste nor in sloth

And give me joy in Your service

Making bright the lives of my loved ones

Embracing the lot You give me —

Night and morning in Your service.

How may I come to You / If I did not heed Your word?

What You have made pure / I have polluted

What You have loved / I despised

What You have ordered / I have disrupted

What you have intended / I have opposed

Take my ways and turn them

So that I might make pure/ What I have polluted

That I may love / What You love

That I may order / What I have disrupted

That I might intend / What You intend

May I be renewed like the moon.

May I reflect Your light ever waxing.

Recitation of Psalms

from Psalm 120:

In my distress, I called to YHWH and I was answered.

God, rescue my soul/ breath from lips that lie, from a tongue that deceives…

Too long has my soul/ breath dwelt with those who hate peace.

I am peace, but when I speak, they are for war.

from Psalm 121:Song: Esai Einai

I lift up my eyes unto the mountains

From where, from where will my help come?

I lift up my eyes unto the mountains

From where, from where will my help come?

My help will come-come from the One,

Maker of the heavens and the earth.

My help will come-come from the One,

Maker of the heavens and the earth.

Esai Einai, el ha-harim

Mei-ai'yin, mei-ai'yin yavo ezri?

Esai Einai, el ha-harim

Mei-ai'yin, mei-ai'yin yavo ezri?

Ezri me-im Hashem oseh shamaiim v'aretz (x2).

from Psalm 130:

From the depths have I called You, O Eternal.

YHWH, hear my voice.

May your ears attend to the sound of my pleas.

For if you were to keep track of all misdeeds,

Oh God, who could breathe?

Yet with You comes forgiveness

That fills us with awe.

In You I place my hope,

With every breath I place my hope in You,

And for Your word I yearn.

My every breath awaits You,

More than watchmen wait for the dawn —

Yes, more than watchmen yearn for dawn.

You who wrestle God, take hope in YHWH!

For with the Source of Life is loving-kindness

And many forms of freedom —

For the Breath of Life will free us from all our unjust acts.

from Psalm 102:

You Who Hear prayers, hear my prayer now,

Let my outcry reach to You.

Do not hide your face from me on this day of distress.

Lend me Your ear.

On the very day I call out, answer me.

Reading from the Prophets —

Yeshayahu, Isaiah 56

What is the fast that I demand of you? —

What is a day that truly presses down your ego?

Is it bending down your head like a bulrush?

Sitting on sack-cloth and ashes?


This is the fast that I have chosen:

Break the handcuffs put on by wicked power;

Undo the yoke of heavy burden;

Let the oppressed go free.

Share your bread with the hungry;

Bring the homeless to your own house.

When you see the naked, clothe them;

Don't hide yourself; they are your flesh and blood!

And from a child of the Prophets, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, writing in 1943:

Emblazoned over the gates of the world in which we live is the escutcheon of the demons. The mark of Cain in the face of man has come to overshadow the likeness of God. Ashamed and dismayed, we ask: Who is responsible?

All may be guided by the words of the Baal Shem: If a man has beheld evil, he may know that it was shown to him in order that he learn his own guilt and repent; for what is shown to him is also within him.

Indeed, where were we when men learned to hate in the days of starvation? When raving madmen were sowing wrath in the hearts of the unemployed?

Let Fascism not serve as an alibi for our conscience. We have failed to fight for right, for justice, for goodness; as a result we must fight against wrong, against injustice, against evil. We have failed to offer sacrifices on the altar of peace; now we must offer sacrifices on the altar of war.

When greed, envy, and the reckless will to power, the serpents that were cherished in the bosom of our civilization, came to maturity, they broke out of their dens to fall upon the helpless nations.

The conscience of the world was destroyed by those who were wont to blame others rather than themselves.


What acts of ours will respond wholeheartedly to Isaiah's voicing of God's desire? What acts of ours will respond to Heschel's call that we become responsible?

Let each of us now look into the hearts we have torn open, and bring forth one action that we intend as an act of turning toward the One. — Each of us is welcome now to say what deed we intend to do in order to lessen violence, seek peace, and prevent war.

[Wait for words of commitment from members of the community.]

We call upon our community to undertake a communal fast and thoughtful action in the hope of averting the calamity of war, focused on the hours from dawn to dusk on _________ [insert date according to the Jewish and Western calendars].

Closing song (by Debbie Friedman; Zechariah 4: 6, read on Shabbat Hanukkah)

Not by might, and not by power,

but by Spirit alone

Shall we all live in peace.

The children sing, the children sing —

And their tears may fall

But we'll hear them call

And another song will rise (x3).

Not by might, and not by power,

but by Spirit alone

Shall we all live in peace.


The liturgy above was shaped by Rabbi Lee Moore, then Program Coordinator for The Shalom Center, and Rabbi Arthur Waskow, its director. They drew on a ceremonial Call for Taanit Tzibbur led by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi z'l in 1990.

Active Faith: Activating Festivals To Heal Our Planet

Dear friends of The Shalom Center and of the we initiated for multireligious action this coming Passover ---

 I want to share with you the deeper reasons we are reshaping Passover to become an activist festival to heal the future as well as one to celebrate the past. (At the end of this letter you will find information on two different learning/organizing opportunities this very week.)

 Our first assessment: If we are to prevent planetary climate disaster, mobilizing the faith communities of America is crucial. This is both because they have been crucial to great change in the past, and because the combination of great urgency blocked by great frustration and fear can be turned to action most effectively  by drawing on deep reservoirs of faith.

Second assessment: The best time to do this is when major sacred festivals lift the spiritual and ethical awareness of the faith communities' members to their most intense. This spring, a broad swathe of festivals occur from late March to early May.

Third assessment: The US government is paralyzed in a deadly deadlock. So for the moment, it would be best to turn to another arena of change: the major financial investors that undergird the Hyper-Wealth and greaat power of the fossil-fuel industry.  These also raise the profound spiritual question of Greed as a block to Love and Justice.

So The Shalom Center turned to the Jewish festivals. In this generation we have become far more attuned to the truth that they are the children of a sacred marriage between the Jewish people and Earth. YHWH, the Interbreath of Life (God’s Name “pronounced” just by breathing with no vowels, perhaps as YyyyHhhhWwwwHhhh or Yahhhh as in Halllelu-Yahhhh) was the m’sader/et rebbe under the chuppah, uniting all life forms on Earth by the way we breathe Oxygen and CO2 into each other..

Both Earth (adamah) and Humankind (adam) are in our generation dangerously wounded, with worse to come. Just as the children of human and other species come to their parents’ aid when they are wounded, so we must reshape the fasts and festivals to meet the needs of adam and adamah today, as we have done before.

We have been dangerously wounded by the overproduction of CO2 and methane, heat-trapping gases, by the Carbon Pharaohs that insist on multiplying their Hyper-Wealth even though their business plan is bringing plagues of fire, flood, famine, and disease upon us all. They produce more CO2 than all Earth’s vegetation can transmute to oxygen. CO2 and methane heat the planet and choke the Interbreathing that life needs.

Earth (adamah) can’t breathe. Humankind (adam) can’’t breathe. YHWH, the very Name of God, can’t breathe.

Our sacred seasons are what make the American Jewish community unique among American cultures and communities. We celebrate and observe them in our homes and synagogues. It is time to take them to the public square – the streets, the banks, the elections booths to bring Breath and Justice to marginalized neighborhoods plagued by coal dust into asthma, by oil and gas leakage into cancer. To bring justice to Earth where whole countries and regions suffer from famine, where whole regions find their cities flooding, or choked by the poisonous smoke of wildfires, where despairing refugees dislocate the countries whence they flee and where they flee to.

 Activist Pesach, activist Tisha B’Av, activist Sukkot, activist Hanukkah, and all the other sacred seasons, could help to heal us.

 Pesach: street seders at the doors of the giant outfits that fund the Pharaohs. We do not abandon Pesach; we give it more life. We say to Chase Bank, to Black Rock, to Vanguard: Move Our Money, Protect Our Planet, Prosper Our People. No Earth, No Justice; No Justice, No Earth.

 Tisha B’Av. We mourn the damage to Temple Earth, and act to restore it.

 Sukkot: We learn the values taught by the leafy, leaky, fragile house; we grow these values as we grow the vote.

Hanukkah: One day’s olive oil meets eight days’ need for light; we retrofit our homes and businesses to conserve energy, we found congregational and neighborhood solar-energy co-ops.

And more, as we circle and spiral the years.  Not only as we learn in the Sabbatical Year to let Earth rest from overwork and over-carbon, but to explore the possibility of a pulsating economy that works and then pauses, accumulates and then shares, that learns the possible world-view of “sojourner” rather than “owner,” instead of endless economic “growth” and inequality that rushes off a precipice to ruin.


The Shalom Center and #ExodusAlliance will take part in a mulitreligious conversation that Methodist Theological School in Ohio will host on the role of banking in climate change at 7:30 p.m. Eastern, Tuesday March 1. “Shades of Green: Faithfully Financing Climate Justice” will provide an introduction to the financial decisions made by large banking interests that support fossil fuels.

The event is free Advance Zoom registration is required and available at

“Shades of Green” will feature four speakers.

Rabbi Nate Degroot serves as National Organizer for The Shalom Center. In this role, he is helping to launch a national climate justice Passover campaign called Exodus Alliance.

Bishop Marcia Dinkins is executive director of Ohioans for Sustainable Change.

Rev. Abby Mohaupt is director of education and training for GreenFaith, which is building a worldwide, multi-faith climate and environmental movement.

Dr. Joerg Rieger is distinguished professor of theology and the founding director of the Wendland-Cook Program in Religion and Justice at Vanderbilt University.

###  ###  ###


The Exodus Alliance is a group of multifaith organizations, faith leaders, and everyday people taking action for climate justice. This Passover, we’re holding street seders in front of Chase banks and other financial institutions all across the country. We will challenge the world’s largest investors in fossil fuels, the Corporate Carbon Pharaohs that depend on the financial support of these investors. Want to help lead or join a powerful Passover action this spring? Sign our Call to Action and volunteer to help organize a street seder near you. Register for the national Community Action Call happening this Wednesday 3/2 at 8pm ET. Questions? Email

So it’s time to Dance in God's Earthquake!

So it’s time to Dance in God's Earthquake!

So it’s time to shape a life-giving Torah for the new Paradigm!

So it’s time for Humankind to --

“Make space for the foxes,

The quick little foxes,

That rush into our vineyards

Now, when the vines are in blossom!”


It’s time for the Song of Songs to be Eden for a grown-up human race.

And it’s time to learn how.

My newest book, Dancing in God's Earthquake: The Coming Transformation of Religion is the harvest oof my life-work. Like any harvest, it grew from the past -- in order to feed the future. Here is how some folks responded tto reading it:


“A wonderful book! Before the hierarchies and divisions of religions, there was the all-inclusive circle of spirituality. In Dancing in God’s Earthquake, Rabbi Arthur Waskow helps us trace our path back to our spiritual home.” –Gloria Steinem

“Rabbi Waskow calls each of us to reach down deep in our moral and religious traditions and have a grownup conversation about the response our present crisis requires. I'm glad to lift up this invitation for all to join the divine dance of love and justice.” –William J. Barber, II, President of Repairers of the Breach and Co-Chair of the Poor People's Campaign.

“Like poetry on a cold day, this book warms the heart and mind both. A fierce look at religion, a willingness to question history, to see the connections between the world’s faiths, to suggest how we might move forward from today’s hard times.”—Ruth Messinger, American Jewish World Service


“We are in a moment of great crises and gathering travail, and so one thing we need to learn is how to steadily, joyfully, determinedly pass through these trials, not just intact, but in love with the world around us. There could be no better guide than Arthur Waskow.”—Bill McKibben, author, Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out

“This is a delightful and refreshing book, full of wit, wisdom, and hope--all of which we so desperately need amid the perpetual upheaval and crisis of the world today. I'm deeply thankful for both Arthur and this book.”—Jim Wallis, Founder[ oof Sojourners

“The Jewish people's most revolutionary theologian is at it again, trying to waken us out of our moral slumber, before it is too late. The ancient prophet said: ‘A lion roars? Who will not fear?’ Waskow is our roaring lion.” –Rabbi Arthur Green, Rector of Rabbinical School at Hebrew College, author, Judaism for the World "

"Rabbi Arthur Waskow brings his many years of activism, thought, and creativity to bear on the most important question of our time: how do we respond to cataclysmic change?  How do we shift the patterns of the past rather than cling to them as they unravel? . -- Rabbi Jill Hammer, author of The Jewish Book of Days: A Companion for All Seasons

There are a number of other endorsements. They include Rabbi Jonah Pesner,  Marge Piercy, Imam Al-Hajj Talib Abdur-Rashid, and other notables from the Christian and Muslim worlds.  

Shalom, salaam, paz, peace, namaste! -- Arthur

You can order Dancing in three ways:

  • By calling Orbis Books at 1-800-258-5838 to buy at $25 each one book, or perhaps a few for presents to strengthen your beloved friends who sing and want to dance for love and justice;
  • Or to buy for your congregation or book club a minimum of ten copies at a huge discount --half off, only  $12.50 each;
  • Or to do the communal buy plus arranging with The Shalom Center an evening of conversation with Reb Arthur about the book, by writing .


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Dancing – Yes, Dancing! -- in God's Earthquake

The most dangerous of our earthquakes erupted just as we began to glimpse how to create a world of love and justice, one grown like a social version of an ecosystem, one where we seek to put together the jigsaw puzzle of our lives, our cultures, our communities rather than let one or a few of the puzzle-pieces dominate and subjugate the rest.

What are those ultra-dangerous earthquakes? There are two. One is the wave of neo-fascism that has shaken not only American democracy but many other countries. A resurgent wave of using elections as mere Potemkin villages, pretenses of democracy where the real power lies in the hands of a few. Where in some countries it is Muslims who are subjugated, in others Blacks and Latinx, some where the teachings of religion are perverted to subjugate women and GLBTQ people, where artists and intellectuals are jailed and scientists are treated with contemptuous fury, where the poor are rendered voteless and helpless.

All this is worsened by the simultaneous earthquake of Earth in the climate crisis, the extinction crisis, and the pandemic crisis. For the poisoners of air and oceans and farmland, the modern Corporate Carbon Pharaohs who bring plagues of fire, flood, and famine, dearth and disease and death upon both adamah and adam, Earth and Human Earthlings, are stunningly wealthy and urgent to use their wealth to protect their power.  The story of Pharaoh and Plagues becomes planetary, not just restricted to one Tight and Narrow Land, fertile like a narrow furrow, both sides of the River Nile.

It is a surge of activist desire to enact and embody the biblical vision of a society seeded and sprouted and harvested through love and justice that has called forth its opposite – a movement to systematically encourage greed, bury justice, and mobilize hate. The Bible warns us of this pattern. Its great story, probably a weave of factual history and powerful myth, centers on Egypt —in Hebrew, Mitzrayyim, which means the Tight and Narrow Land.

When in the past we humans have faced such a crisis – whether to choose the society of Love and Justice, or the one built by subjugation and hate -- there was always time to renew and repair. There was always time to struggle for change – time to wait out plagues before crossing the Reed Sea to freedom and the Unknown. Time to abolish slavery. Time to end racial segregation, time to expand the vote to women and the right to marry to gays and lesbians. Time even to move away from exhausted farmland or struggle for a “Sabbatical Year” to let the farmland rest and renew itself, to annul debts so extremes of poverty and wealth could be redressed.

Not every Earthquake has the same effect on the people who live through it. As I said when I first started writing Dancing in God’s Earthquake, the Year 1968, half a century before, was my first Earthquake. It taught me to live – and learn to dance – in an Earthquake. I did learn to dance, because others were dancing too. We brought the fresh air, lively breath, to religious and cultural and even political life that had become Ezekiel’s dry bones.

But the Earthquake of two years of pandemic – and still counting -- dried many of us out again. Back to bones with no breath. Very few of us are immune to the contagion of sadness, depression, despair. Reasonable people begin to talk of civil war, of dictatorship, of billions dead when civilization collapses.

The great Biblical story of liberation knew this would happen. It describes Pharaoh contemptuously responding to Moses, Aaron, and Miryam when they demand a holy pause for their people to celebrate the Interbreath of Life. “Sez who?” snarls Pharaoh. Moses just breathes, “YyyyHhhhWwwwHhhh.” What kind of god is that?” sneers Pharaoh.

“Bricks without straw!“ orders Pharaoh. “Rigor more bitter!”

And the nascent Brickmakers Union, Local 1 collapses. It turns against its own leaders: “It is you who made even our smell stink in the eyes of Pharaoh and his counselors. You who gave him a sword to kill us!”

At this most hopeless moment, YHWH says to Moses: “You have waffled in soft-heartedness when you should have emboldened your people, My people! You began by telling them My Name, the way they most understand the world, was “Breath of Life.” You told them I interbreathe all life and so when Pharaoh sows seeds of tyranny against humans, there grow sprouts of rebellion from frogs and locusts and hailstones.

But the people -- they wobbled and waffled: ‘We grew up with a God Who nursed and nurtured us,” they said, “Our forebears for all the centuries that we remember, grew up and taught us. They said that our God was nurturing like a many-breasted Mother. So we learned, and so we speak. Nothing about locusts in rebellion against our masters. Instead we had onions, garlic, meat – even as slaves. Do not make us suffer worse!”

“And you, Moses and your family followers, you were so soft-hearted that you too wobbled and waffled! ‘All right,’ you said, ‘Worship the God you know!’ ”

“But that understanding of the world, that ‘Name of God,’ no longer tells the truth. Of course you failed, of course the Pharaoh sneered. Tell them the truth, Moses! Tell them ‘It is  YHWH, the Breath of Life, Who Calls you!’ Insist, and they will shatter Pharaoh’s power.” [This midrashic conversation is based on the episode in Exodus 5:1 to 6: 9]

And they did.  

The one best cure for what the Bible calls the Breath cut short, for what we call depression, is a new understanding of the world, encoded in Action.

That is why we today are coming together as #ExodusAlliance, drawing on our diversity – not a chain of command but a web of agreement to make up an effective challenge to Greed and Domination. (See )That is why some of us insist on “pronouncing” the Name of God by not-pronouncing -– by breathing as it’s written (YHWH with no vowels) -- rather than substituting “Lord” or “King,” “Adonai” or “Melekh.”  

And it is still why I wrote the book, Dancing in God's Earthquake. When I wrote, in 2018 and 2019, you could taste and smell the surge of resistance. In the summer of 2020, there was a multi-racial surge of 20-20 vision about the pervasiveness of American racism. It was still there in November, giving birth to seven million more votes for democracy rather than fascism.

But the pandemic and the Big Lie did not wear out. Indeed, each strengthened the other. The depressing, disappointing, demoralizing effect of Covid made it easier for millions of Americans to believe in a stolen election. And belief in a stolen election fed distrust in all normal wisdom, and fed the anti-vaccination conviction that lengthened and grew the pandemic.

And even those of us who did not fall into the Great Bitterness wore down.    With a government paralyzed by deadly deadlock, it became harder to work for a new society rooted in ecological intertwining instead of hierarchical subjugation precisely  when that work was most needed.  

But it still is most needed. We still, and most urgently, need the vision of Psalm 101 – “Of love and justice I will sing; to You, Breath of Life, I’ll sing praises!”  We still, and most urgently, need to rethink the Bible as the record of an ancient struggle to walk that path and a teaching to us to keep pursuing that struggle.

“Faith” is not a soapy comfort that it will all turn out all right. It is a commitment to keep struggling against our own despair and the organized destructive despair of others,  opening our eyes to the hidden teachings  of our ancestors. When Hagar watched her son dying of thirst in the wilderness, she opened her eyes by sobbing, and her own tears became the wellspring that saved them both.

So I offer you once more Dancing in God's Earthquake: The Coming Transformation of Religion. (What connects the parable of Eden, the parable of Manna-that-comes-with-Shabbat, and the poetry of Song of Songs? What is the deeper meaning of “God’s Image,” and how do the Talmud, Jesus in the Gospels, and an eight-year-old child in 21st-century America all grow new meaning in it? What would it mean to listen to a Tree breathe its own prayer?}  

Shalom, salaam, paz, peace, namaste! -- Arthur

You can order Dancing in three ways:

  • By calling Orbis Books at 1-800-258-5838 to buy at $25 each one book, or perhaps a few for presents to strengthen your beloved friends who sing and want to dance for love and justice;
  • Or to buy for your congregation or book club a minimum of ten copies at a huge discount -- $12.50 each;
  • Or to do the communal buy plus arranging with The Shalom Center an evening of conversation with me about the book, by writing .

Move our Money, Prosper Our People, Protect Our Planet

[Robert Brand is a retired city planner and businessperson and is a Senior Fellow at The Shalom Center. He has spent the past 60 years trying to figure out how to work for a more just world, focusing on how to mobilize resources and redistribute them to address issues of exclusion, inequity, and democracy. His work as a planner has involved a career in public health and labor activism, as the developer of an online software as a service package that secured close to $3 billion of support for low and moderate income people, and as an activist.

[The title of this article refers to a commitment and motto of #ExodusAlliance that affirms our goal as not only ending the deadly investments of Chase Bank in the Corporate Carbon Pharaohs that bring plagues on Earth and Humanity, but moving that money to purposes of life. Please see for more information and to join in sacred action toward and during Passover.]

By Robert Brand

A central belief of faith communities is working to make a better world. It is not enough to remove money from Chase or other financial institutions that fund fossil fuels and the destruction of our planet. Resources must do something that creates a better world, addresses historic inequities, builds an inclusive and welcoming society.

The first need in such a process may be a place to park resources while figuring out how to invest wisely and justly. Community Development Financial Institutions can accept short term investments; credit unions and cooperative banks can create accounts; and investment funds can offer safe parking and potential partnerships.

Then look at some areas where good resources can make a difference. That may require experts to conduct quick feasibility studies to minimize risk of these new investments. Some possible life-affirming alternatives:

1. Repairing damage done by fossil fuel extraction. The damage done by coal, oil, and natural gas is pervasive. There are many thousands of abandoned oil wells and coal mines that continue to pollute groundwater, emit methane, and poison their immediate areas. Mountaintop removal for mining of coal has also created massive environmental hazards and constant threats of landslides. There is a major existing allocation of infrastructure funds to begin cleaning up these areas to prevent further harm and restore land for public use. Community-based enterprises that will do this work, and are committed to family sustaining wages and benefits, offering employment to workers in the fossil fuel industry, and social equity will need capital for equipment and startup costs. These enterprises will be profitable, whether they are incorporated as for-profit or nonprofit entities, and will be able to pay a modest dividend on investments or repayment of loans.

2. Investing in solar, wind and geothermal projects can help these initiatives move further faster. In some communities there are neighborhood solar cooperatives being formed. They often will need some assistance in getting established and they can repay investments through the savings on energy that they produce. There is increased interest in developing wind and solar farms in rural areas to help farmers and rural communities prosper and to create a stream of renewable energy to support homes that will cut their ties to the Carbon Pharaohs. There are also pilot geothermal projects that offer investment opportunities.

3. Work is being done to promote Deep Energy Retrofits (DERs). Nineteen percent of the greenhouse gases the United States produces is from single family homes. Moving to all electric houses supported by renewable sources of electricity can reduce the carbon footprint of the United States by at least 12%. There are projects being discussed, developed, piloted, and run in too few, but a growing number of communities. A recent paper proposes development of a financing pool that engages local stakeholders in each community whose business interests would benefit from DERs. The National Renewable Energy Lab has recently published a guide for community planning of these initiatives. This is in addition to a range of government funds that already exist or are in the pipeline. As these efforts begin there will be huge opportunities for employment, significant local or regional production of materials, and the creation of enterprises that seek to serve low and moderate income communities, where the largest energy savings will take place. These enterprises also provide opportunities for people who have been excluded from skilled, family sustaining jobs with career paths. Substantial investments can be made to support the development of enterprises that will do the work and produce the materials needed.

4. Trees, trees, and more trees. Trees are essential to renew land that has been clear-cut, sites of mountaintop removal, sites of abandoned oil and gas and coal extraction. Trees are also essential to create microclimates in cities that reduce summer heat. They also begin to restore some connection between people and nature through management of these trees. All of this requires a public commitment. We know that there are specific varieties of trees that work in specific climates. We also know that trees that are grown from seed in the areas in which they will mature adapt to air quality and climate in those areas and thrive much better than those that are transported from faraway nurseries. There are opportunities to invest in nurseries and employ people who will grow, plant, and tend trees throughout the nation. Government, utilities, developers, all will be eager customers for trees. Early investment can help the nurseries develop family sustaining wages and using environmentally sound practices.

5. All Wood Construction. While we are at trees, we should note that there is an increasing interest in all wood construction. Wood construction in modern days is fire resistant and is a carbon capture and storage system. In addition, all wood construction removes cement and concrete from the construction site, both of which are energy hogs. There are two architecture schools in North America that have departments devoted to all wood construction. Commercial architects have built all wooden buildings up to 14 stories. These buildings are sound and create huge opportunities for urban and rural partnerships to finance construction, proper management of forest lands and the development of a very green part of the construction sector.

6. Building networks of Green House Nursing Homes. These small community based homes (10 to 12 residents) offer improved quality service to residents, are popular with residents and staff, increased the hours of staff – resident contact, have had virtually no Covid problems, and are cost competitive with traditional nursing homes. Conventional nursing homes are not popular. People who need the service don’t want to go there. This is a significant alternative. There are about 150 Green House nursing homes in the United States now. Many communities have bonding authorities that could finance these homes. Just buying the bonds or partnering with nonprofits could significantly increase the number of these homes and, in some cases, reuse some traditional nursing home buildings.

7. Indoor, controlled environment agriculture is a growing need. Aeroponic production uses 5% of the water of traditional agriculture, uses no chemical fertilizers, and can move food production close to people consuming the food. Most of the aeroponic and hydroponic enterprises have confined themselves to a small set of crops, the easiest to grow. Yet there have been more than 50 crops successfully grown aeroponically or hydroponically. The availability of resources would encourage the creation of new enterprises that better serve our communities.

8. Fixing the supply chain increasingly means shortening and localizing the supply chain. Years ago, a Massachusetts nonprofit economic development agency built a simple model to help businesses identify suppliers in their local community. It was so widely used that the website crashed and had to be rebuilt to handle more robust traffic. Building such exchanges create opportunities for good investments.

Charlie Chaplin said, “You will never see the rainbow if you are always looking down.” We will never see the future until we move our money and resources from destruction to hope and opportunity.

Dreams as Torah & the Torah of Dreams


Rabbi Jill Hammer, co-founder of Kohenet, is about to virtual-launch a book,  Undertorah, a rich weave of dreams as  [old/new] source of Torah. I had the good fortune of getting to write a “blurb”  for it,, and thereby got to receive an invitation to the launch – a virtual gathering that is open to us all. It will take place on Sunday, Feb. 27, from 7:30 to 9 Eastern Time.

Register for the launch here:

See below in Rabbi Hammer's note for more information about the launch.   Shalom, Arthur

Here is my blurb:

 I am one of these few humans who rarely remembers my dreams – only two or three a year. My visions of Wholeness and YHWH, the Interbreath of Life, come swirling for me in words, not images. So why am I so deeply moved and attracted by Rabbi/ Kohenet Jill Hammer’s book? Because I see and feel and taste the whole book as a “journey dream” – which starts in what seems a conventional place – what could be more conventional for me than a book? – and then dances its journey into secret places of mysterious images – dreams. And discovers that “conventional” doors are really themselves not just portals to but parts of the Mystery. Whether   you can or can’t recall your dreams, this book will bring you dozens – rich,  and revealing – that could be your own.  

– Rabbi Arthur O. Waskow, author of Dancing in God's Earthquake: The Coming Transformation of Religion. (Orbis, 2020)

### ### ###

 From: Jill Hammer 
Date: Saturday, February 12, 2022 at 9:41 PM
Subject: An Invitation: Undertorah Book Launch Sunday Feb. 27!


 Dear wonderful friends and colleagues, 

Thank you for sharing your kind words about Undertorah: An Earth-Based Kabbalah of Dreams!  Your support has made such a difference to me and to the book.  I’d like to invite you to join me for the virtual book launch event, Sunday Feb. 27 from 7:30-9 pm ET, created by the JCC in Manhattan in partnership with Ayin Press, Kohenet, and Romemu.   It’s a free event; there will be an interview with me, music, dream exercises and gorgeous dream music by various fabulous musicians!

Register for the lauch here:

If you want advance info, learn more here:

Wishing you wonderful dreams.


Jill Hammer

Why #ExodusAlliance? Ten Breaths from/to the Breath of Life

The Shalom Center has spent – or rather, “invested” – the last two months in seeding, sprouting, and growing  #ExodusAlliance. That is a multifaith amalgam to carry out a campaign to end financial support for the Corporate Carbon Pharaohs that are bringing on Earth and Humankind the plagues of fire, flood,  famine, and disease.

Not just to end but to begin – an economy of life. Move Our Money == Protect Our Planet.

Why? What ideas underlie that investment of time, energy, and money?

1.We believe that sheer greed drives the fossil-fuel industry’s corporate desire for ever greater profit even when its bosses discover their very business plan is  poised to bring misery and death on a huge proportion of our plaet’s life – including  human lives and civilization.

2. Their greed is ultimately a spiritual failing. All the world’s great religious and spiritual communities teach that sharing, compassion, and joyful self-restraint are not only the future goal of the human community but that embodying those values in the present is the means to achieving, not only pursuing, happiness.  

3. But many in the faith communities have quailed when they realized precisely how crucial and how enormous is the task of embodying those values in  this context. “How can little me make such a big difference?”

4. We think the answer has two parts: bring together face-to-face groups of people who can trust and give strength to each other, and focus especially -– not only – on the sacred times of fasts and festivals when spiritual awareness is unusually intense.

5. Then we realized that this coming April brings together sacred times for the largest American religious communities – Jews, Christians, and Muslims; that the USA is one of the two societies pouring most CO2 and methane into the world’s air and oceans - –per capita, by far the most; and that the US government was paralyzed in a deadly deadlock. – So we decided to try to galvanize a Great Reawakening of faith communities on an approach that sidesteps formal government and goes to the heart of the disaster – out-of-control money.

6. What could bring together the committed groups of people that could make “little me” into “effective us””? We have several suggestions, two of which have experience behind them: solar-energy co-ops and Community-Supported Agriculture – CSA’s – local farms,  often associated with religious congregations, that pursue restorative agriculture to feed people without ruining Earth.

       The third --  “Oiloholics Not-So-Anonymous” -- has not so far been tried. But when I mention it in conversations with congregations, it strikes a spark. What I mean is congregants who come together acknowledging that they are caught in a system where the Drug Lords of Carbon have forced them to become Carbon Addicts. They want out. So they come together to share what they can do in their homes, transport, food, and readiness to deal with disaster if it strikes their town.

7. This dimension of our lives could be described as: Forming face-to-face groups that can take effective steps out of and beyond the Carbon economy,  AND be resilient enough to act if the Carbon Pharaohs bring disaster -- fire, extreme heat, floods, food failures –- on these “organically organized” communities.

8. Passover, with its themes of seeking freedom from Pharaoh whose arrogance and cruelty bring Plagues on Earth and Humankind, is an obvious focal-point for healing from the climate crisis. To see how Passover can do that work, see <>.

And we intend to share in assisting activism for other sacred times: Ramadan, Palm Sunday and the rest of Holy Week, MLK’s death-anniversary, Earth Day. And shortly before and after April, the holy days of Spring Equinox, and of Buddhism and Hinduism that especially interest our global partners, GreenFaith.

9. We want to continue growing #ExodusAlliance for the months beyond. (Dare we then rename it “Yontif Alliance”?) That would include the sacred days of Shavuot (truly receiving “from Sinai“ [as Lev. 25-26 say] and acting on the Sabbatical Year / Shmita to release Earth and debtors from overwork, to rest and recover); Tisha B’Av (grieving and healing wounded  “Temple Earth”; Sukkot (“Grow restorative harvest, grow the Vote”” and Hanukkah (“One day’s oil meets eight days’ needs”; energy conservation and neighborhood solar co-ops).

As you can see, we have begun to plan how to heal Earth and Humanity, heal neighborhoods victimized by coal dust and oil fumes into asthma and cancer epidemics, while at the same time enriching the special meanings of the other coming Jewish sacred days, as we already have for Passover in this work.

10. Moving forward with #ExodusAlliance will need more contributions to The Shalom Center than we have received so far. We implore you, I urge you, to make that possible by contributing a special gift. You can click on the maroon Contribute banner just below and then give at the highest level that you can. Please do!

With blessings of healing and joy for you, as you with your gift bring healing and joy to all Humanity and Earth.

Meeting God's Lobbyist -- Rabbi David Saperstein --

The first of this series happened before it was a series. The Shalom Center offered a conversation among Dr. Susannah Heschel,  the memory and an essay we distributed by her father Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel z”tz”l, and about 100 spiritual and intellectual seekers.

The Zoom conversation went so well that we realized such conversations could be a great gift to such venturesome minds and souls.


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