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Climate Change


Reversing climate change is a multi-dimensional, multi-generational task. Energy transition will require new policies, technologies, communal thinking, and creative solutions. Our community will need to lead through its actions, advocacy, and intentional leadership. This generational endeavor will need to confront economic interests, conspiracy theorists, anti-globalists, and haters of different stripes.

All to convince you that climate change is not only real, but already here, whether we believe in it or not, whether we prioritize it, whether we are overwhelmed by it, whether we are merely comfortable with the way things are in the last quarter of our lives and just don’t have the bandwidth to deal with this.

The Valley is now a stellar example and an inspiring story of a response to this type of issue and public engagement, such that leads to better social, economic, and environmental benefits, providing solutions for the climate crisis in tandem with a direct improvement in the lives of its local residents.

The inverse of my daughter’s question about the stars (“Why are they there?”) is “Why are we here?” Why are we mortals here on Earth, if not to steward and safeguard this planet so that future generations can live here safely? We are here now, imbued with ru’ah, that miraculous word connoting breath, spirit, and wind, to ensure that our children and our children’s children will also, simply, be here.

If we think only of the enormity of the situation, we will be stifled from action, and there are plenty of actions one can take to move the needle forward, even if it is a small step forward. We cannot forget the prophetic words in Pirkei Avot (2:21), “You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it.”

Jews are remarkably resilient because we cling to hope and make difficult decisions for the sake of our descendants. We plant fruit trees for the next generation. We build endowments. We take action. And we pull back from it all for Shabbat and holidays. We have seeded ideas that billions of people worldwide have adopted, and the Jewish community and Israel can lead on climate issues as well.

As I was integrating the reality of living in this moment of climate emergency, I was having conversations with friends and colleagues about how the American Jewish community was not fully mobilizing our people and power to confront this crisis at the scale that is needed. This is the existential crisis of our time and the Jewish community, for a variety of reasons, has not been fully showing up.

As a lifelong entrepreneur, the last time I had a boss was when I was an associate at a law firm in the 1980s. But I was yearning to do something that would have a profound impact on the world, and which would remind everyone of Israel as a center of innovation.