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Chief Rabbi tells EcoSynagogue event we must all bear responsibility for addressing ‘horrifying’ climate change
12 October 2021
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis at Carbon Zero, If Not Now When? event at the London Jewish Museum on 10 October 2021 in advance of the COP-26 Climate Summit
“No one is an island, no one can say this has got nothing to do with me – we have to bear the responsibility individually and collectively for this horrifying situation which threatens our world and which threatens our grandchildren and our great grandchildren. All of us together must play our part in guaranteeing that we fulfil our religious obligation to do what we can.” Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis
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Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has told a pre COP-26 EcoSynagogue event that we all need to share responsibility for addressing climate change, describing it as a “horrifying situation which threatens our world, and which threatens our grandchildren and our great grandchildren”.

Chief Rabbi Mirvis was speaking at an event entitled Carbon Zero, If Not Now When? at the Jewish Museum on Sunday. He said: “No one is an island, no one can say this has got nothing to do with me – we have to bear the responsibility individually and collectively for this horrifying situation which threatens our world and which threatens our grandchildren and our great grandchildren. All of us together must play our part in guaranteeing that we fulfil our religious obligation to do what we can.”

Rabbi Mark Goldsmith (Edgware and Hendon Reform Synagogue), Rabbi Tanya Sakhnovich (Nottingham Liberal Synagogue), Marie van der Zyl (President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews), Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg (New North London Synagogue and Senior Rabbi of Masorti Judaism), and Rabbi David Mason (Muswell Hill, United Synagogue). ©Susanna Fields, 2021

Rabbi Mark Goldsmith (Edgware and Hendon Reform Synagogue), Rabbi Tanya Sakhnovich (Elstree Liberal Synagogue), Marie van der Zyl (President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews), Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg (New North London Synagogue and Senior Rabbi of Masorti Judaism), and Rabbi David Mason (Muswell Hill United Synagogue) at the ‘Carbon Zero: If Not Now When?’ event hosted at the Jewish Museum on Sunday 10 October 2021. Photo: ©Susanna Fields

Also speaking was EcoSynagogue co-Chair Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg. He said: “Now is perhaps the most urgent time in the history of humanity to play that role of partnership and interdependence with all living things and an essential part of that is: Carbon Zero: If Not Now When? Judaism tells us that we shall teach our children, but there won’t be Torah to teach our children if there isn’t a world in which they can live.”

Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl said that this was “one of the most important subjects not just for the Jewish community, not even just for humanity but for the entire planet – it threatens to upend life as we know it, that our impact on the environment has led to deterioration of climate control – but we can all still make a difference, it’s not too late.” She added that the Board of Deputies recently passed a resolution with 85 per cent  in favour of declaring a climate emergency and taking appropriate steps alongside EcoSynagogue to achieve net carbon emissions.

As part of the event there was an expert panel discussing the subject, featuring Jonathan Waxman, an entrepreneur with 35 years’ experience in electrical engineering, financial market options trading and renewable energy) and Dr Michal Nachmany, an international climate policy and governance expert with background in law, finance, and multinational project management.

Following the expert panel, Jewish Environmental Organisations and initiatives were spotlighted including: OLAM, Commonwealth Jewish Council, World Jewish Relief, EcoSynagogue, JTreeSadeh, and the Social Justice Committee of The Board of Deputies of British Jews.

You can watch the event on the EcoSynagogue YouTube channel.

We have several more exciting COP-26 and EcoSynagogue events and activities planned in the coming weeks including: