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Rabbi's Message

01/31/2020 05:32:39 PM


Dear chevreh,

This past week, there has been a dizzying and disturbing amount of national and world news and commemorations including the impeachment hearings, the announcement of the peace plan, and the “public charge” ruling from the Supreme Court, all in the same week as the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.


When I need to clear my head from all the dark, complicated news, I often gravitate to natural spots for repose and rejuvenation. I walk in the woods, enjoying the trees. One of the special joys of living in the Delaware Valley is spending time near a river each day. The Cuyahoga River I grew up near in Cleveland caught fire one year and one day after I was born because it was laced with toxic chemicals. This event drew national attention to environmental problems in the our country. My childhood river helped inspire the Environmental Movement and the Clean Water Act of 1972, a fantastic bipartisan achievement. According to Blan Holman of the Southern Environmental Law Center, the law’s main mechanism was simple: before discharging waste into the nation’s waters, polluters must first try to clean it up. In fact, the United States was at the forefront of the environmental movement and led the way by enacting bold laws to protect wildlife, air and water.


What is heartbreaking and infuriating is the recent news that the current administration is gutting the Clean Water Act, endangering our rivers, streams and drinking water. The backdrop to everything, where we are living, what we are drinking is quietly being ravaged due to a redefinition of the current protections by our administration. We have seen a drive, according to Holman to “make pollution free again”. The threat to our countries natural resources are astounding. According to Holman, “In some states out west, 80% of stream miles would lose their protection. Drinking water sources for millions of Americans would be at risk from pollution. The administration’s redefinition would leave millions of acres open for destruction – wetlands that buffer communities from storms, serve as homes for wildlife and nurseries for fish and shellfish, and act as natural water filters. This is the single largest loss of clean water protections that America has ever seen. And the timing couldn’t be worse. From lead contamination in drinking water to the proliferating threat of toxic industrial chemicals, new threats to water quality are emerging daily.” []

Our Jewish tradition teaches us that we must be stewards of the earth, of God’s Creation. We must care for and be active in preserving and sustaining the land and bounty we were given.


As we have entered the Hebrew month of Shevat during which the rabbinically ordained New Year of the Trees, takes place, let us face up to the ecological disasters we find ourselves in so that our children and our children’s children can continue to enjoy the rivers, trees and beautiful natural treasures of our world. And because it’s our responsibility. Like Midrash Kohelet warns us, if we spoil and destroy the Earth, there will be no one else to repair it.

Over Shabbat, take some time to find peace in nature. Let us restore our spirits in the beauty and remember what is worth fighting for. We must be Shomrei Adamah, guardians of the earth.

I look forward to seeing you this evening at 7:30 pm, tomorrow morning for Zimra at 10:00 am and tomorrow at 2:00 pm for Contemplative Shabbat.

Shabbat shalom,

Rabbi Diana

Tue, July 27 2021 18 Av 5781