Heard Round Wexworld: Climate Change
I wrote “The Tide is Rising” after being asked to lead a song at Coming Together In Faith On Climate, an interfaith service at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC during Pope Francis’s visit. Raised in the folk scene, I have experienced the power of music to move groups of people and inspire shared vision and identity. “The Tide Is Rising” has gone viral in the climate movement, and I’m delighted that it’s been sung not only in New Hampshire and Boston, but in Brazil and on the streets of Paris during the COP21. You can hear me leading the service at the National Cathedral by clicking here.
For me, climate justice work is an act of devotion. It is one of the main ways I show up to God these days, doing my best to respond to the wild call of pain coming from the havoc wreaked by climate change, and the fierce strength of the human spirit that beats in all our hearts. Music is a powerful way to express that pain and that love. In the climate movement, I’m involved in education, community organizing, legislative initiatives and civil disobedience in the Boston area.
Rabbi Shoshana Meira Friedman, a Wexner Graduate Fellowship alum (Class 22), is the Assistant Rabbi at Temple Sinai of Brookline, and brings a love of music, prayer, social justice and relationship-building to the Jewish community. Integrating her background in environmental studies with her rabbinate, Rabbi Shoshana is a leader in the interfaith climate justice movement. She was ordained by Hebrew College Rabbinical School, and is an alum of Oberlin College and JOIN for Justice. Her publications and music can be found at www.rabbishoshana.com and she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In September, I was honored to be one of the organizers and leaders of Yom Kippur at the Lincoln Memorial. Yom Kippur this year was the day before Pope Francis made his unprecedented address to the United States Congress. We gathered for contemplative Yom Kippur services in solidarity with Pope Francis, a beloved moral and spiritual leader who has written an important and powerful Encyclical (letter) to all humanity: Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home. I recommend creating multi-faith study groups to read the Pope’s Encyclical together. I was also one of 425 rabbis across the Jewish spectrum who signed onto a rabbinic letter on the climate crisis. The challenge before us in preserving a livable climate for future generations is complex and daunting, yet it is upon each of us to use the influence we have to address this crisis. I am inspired by the reluctant prophet Jonah, who tried to run away from God’s call, yet ultimately witnessed a transformation of the people’s wickedness after he delivered his prophecy. May we all find our prophetic voice.
Rabbi Malkah Binah Klein, a Wexner Graduate Fellowship alum (Class 12), lives in Philadelphia with her spouse, Neysa Nevins, and their son Tani. She serves as a spiritual guide, community leader and activist. She is the co-chair of the Philadelphia Chapter of Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light (PA IPL), an organization devoted to addressing climate change as a moral issue. Malkah Binah creates sacred spaces for deepening and experiencing joy and authentic connection, such as the monthly Friday night musical chant service she co-leads at P’nai Or Philadelphia. She leads spiritual writing groups and retreats and offers individual spiritual direction. She leads transformative rituals and is the author of “Jewish Ritual Across the Life Cycle” in A Guide to Jewish Practice, Volume III (Teutsch, 2014). She can be reached at email@example.com.