Reconstructing Judaism and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association are proud to have joined with other Jewish organizations from around the country to call on Congress to pass a just, green COVID stimulus. Our community is still hurting from the economic effects of COVID, and it is important that we take this opportunity to rebuild in a way that make society sustainable and work for everyone.
The full letter text follows, along with organizational signers.
Dear Member of Congress:
As Jewish communities that care deeply for the future of this country, we pray for your strength as you continue your work to heal our nation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thank you for the efforts you have already made to address the pandemic. As the COVID-19 crisis surges, we ask you to act with compassion to continue to ensure robust funding for public health and economic assistance for those in need. Assistance must be provided at levels that are commensurate with the devastating impact of this crisis and directed especially to communities disproportionately impacted. We are concerned that stimulus funds intended to support small businesses and vulnerable individuals have been misdirected to polluting industries that are compromising our collective future.
As you turn your attention from immediate needs to long-term recovery, we urge you to recognize that the global climate crisis also continues to imperil our health, safety and economy. While COVID-19 continues to spread across the country, 2020 is on track to being the hottest year on record. In our most northern state of Alaska, permafrost is melting and tides are rising, forcing villages to relocate. While Southern and Eastern states face record flooding and heat waves, Western states continue to suffer a multi-year mega-drought, and agriculture is in crisis in the Midwest. The climate crisis is worsening, and costing taxpayers, insurers, and governments at all levels; Since January, according to NOAA, there have been 10 climaterelated weather disasters in the United States that have each cost over $1 billion.
We also know that climate change exacerbates the coronavirus crisis. Burning fossil fuels releases particulates and emissions that negatively impact respiratory health, which can make COVID-19 even more dangerous, especially in Black, Brown, Indigenous and low-income communities.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made clear the consequences of neglecting to listen to science and prepare for disaster. This is the time to accelerate the transition to a more sustainable, equitable economy in order to achieve more resilient communities and provide cheaper, renewable sources of energy.
We urge you to act boldly to preserve human lives and all of God’s creation by adopting a stimulus and recovery plan that:
- Accelerates the transition to 100% clean energy by 2030 by incentivizing the deployment of clean energy and investing in sustainable infrastructure;
- Creates growth in the green jobs sector by requiring high standards for good jobs and provides for job training and a just transition for workers in greenhouse gas intensive industries and their communities;
- Furthers environmental justice by working in concert with community leaders to ensure that communities on the frontlines of poverty and pollution benefit from the recovery and transition to clean energy; and
- Discontinues investment in and subsidies for fossil fuel infrastructure and takes steps to hold polluters accountable.
As Jews, in moments of danger we encourage each other with the words that Moses spoke to his successor Joshua as he took responsibility for leading the Children of Israel to the promised land: chazak v’ematz, be strong and courageous (Deuteronomy 31:23). Our future depends on your strength and courage. We urge you to seize this moment to take action for a more just, sustainable, and healthy world for generations to come.
Rabbi Jennie Rosenn, Founder and CEO Dayenu: A Jewish Call to Climate Action
Mirele B. Goldsmith, Founder Jewish Earth Alliance
Am Kolel, Maryland
Arizona Jews 4 Justice, Arizona
Aytzim: Ecological Judaism
Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life
Congregation Adat Shalom Climate Action Team, Maryland
Congregation Beth Am Israel, Pennsylvania
Congregation Beth Shalom Creation Care Task Force, Indiana
Dayenu: A Jewish Call to Climate Action
Ekar Farm, Colorado
Fort Tryon Jewish Center, New York
Higher Ground Initiative, Florida
JCC Chicago, Illinois
Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action, Massachusetts
Jewish Climate Action Network DC/MD/VA
Jewish Climate Action Network NYC, New York
Jewish Climate Action Network MA, Massachusetts
Jewish Council for Public Affairs
Jewish Council on Urban Affairs (JCUA), Illinois
Beit Am Sustainability Committee, Oregon
Pearlstone Center, Maryland
Real Food U, LLC, Kentucky
Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association
Riverdale Jewish Earth Alliance, New York
Shamayim: Jewish Animal Advocacy
Shomrei Olam – Jewish Environmental Advocates of Cincinnati, Ohio
Society for Humanistic Judaism
Torah Trumps Hate
Union for Reform Judaism