Last week I had the honor to accompany Rabbi Marc Soloway, of Congregation Bonai Shalom, to the White House as he received an award as being a Climate Faith Leader Champion of Change. As he shared the stage with national leaders such as Reverend Al Sharpton, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, and fellow Champion of Change Reverend Dr. Gerald Durley, I couldn’t help to schep nachas for (be very proud of) our local Rabbi and our entire Boulder Jewish Community. When he mentioned our goat co-op and the fact that he milks goats every Sunday morning, I felt a surge of pride that can only be described as caprine – and remembered Rabbi Ruthie Gelfarb’s remarks last spring about the many connections between the Jewish people and goats.
Rabbi Marc asked me to accompany him in order to help represent the many of us in Boulder who work toward a more sustainable community and world every day. None of us do it alone. Perhaps we are a part of synagogue green committees, animal husbandry co-ops, or send our kids to an environmentally themed summer camp. Perhaps we do our best at home to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Perhaps we have our own garden, shop at the farmer’s market, or subscribe to a farm share program. Maybe we even use a bicycle as our primary mode of transportation. There are many actions we take to help enact positive change and reduce our carbon footprint- and probably many more that we wish we could take but for some reason it feels inaccessible at this time.
Last week I also led Camp EcoFun, a Jewish environmental camp for 5-10 year olds at the Boulder JCC. The camp is made possible by a mini-grant from Hazon. In between taking hikes, baking squash bread (fresh from the garden) and challah in our solar oven, and making our own lip balm, we talked about some of the ways in which our tradition helps guide us to make decisions that are more sustainable for our planet. Just as Adam came from Adamah (the Hebrew word for earth), we too are earthlings. Just as Gd rested on the 7th day of creation, we too can rest from our work one day a week and let the earth rest. If everyone on the earth practiced a rest day in some way, we could potentially reduce the greenhouse gas emissions coming from our transportation and other sectors by 1/7. The kids in camp were also quick to remind me that on Shabbat we can also spend time with those we love and that too can help build a more sustainable world!
I am so excited to be working in our community and with our community to build a community farm on the Boulder Jewish Commons, next to the new JCC. In addition to Tuv Ha’aretz, synagogue greening committees, Hazon programming, and goat and chicken co-ops, we will have a physical space in which to gather, learn, and act out our values together; a place to connect, on the simplest level, to soil, plants, animals, and each other. And it’s pretty cool that the things we’re doing on a local level are also gaining national attention! If you’d like to get involved with building the farm, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.