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Our Grandchildren's Gratitude - - A visual Shabbat & Thanksgiving Message -- 11/27/2014

Posted on 11/28/2014 @ 11:00 AM

We're making it easy on you this week - just sit back, turn your speakers up, and enjoy a visual Shabbat message! (transcription is below, for easy link clicking)

Our Grandchildren's Gratitude by The BBYO DJEs on Prezi:


Shalom & Happy Thanksgiving! The Jewish Enrichment Team


We’ve got a lot to be thankful for. And when we celebrate Thanksgiving this week, we might articulate some of the things that we are thankful for. But the question that bothers me on this Thanksgiving eve is: Will our grandchildren be able to feel gratitude for the world that they inherit from us?

Recent headlines might fill you with despair. Turmoil in Ferguson, a Druze policeman and 4 rabbis in their tallit and tefillin murdered savagely at a synagogue in Jerusalem, and an article in the New York Times about the disappearance of glaciers from Glacier National Park, among others. The business of social activism can feel so overwhelming – when there’s so much wrong in the world, how can I begin to make things right?

“You aren’t obligated to complete the task, but you are nevertheless still obligated to work on it” (Pirke Avot/Ethics of the Fathers 2:21). Climate change, for example, can feel so daunting. You might ask: “What can I do to reduce the carbon emissions that are warming up our planet?” To this, there are some good answers:

Arm yourself with knowledge. Climate change is a serious matter, and it’s important to do some research on it. I’d suggest starting with David Roberts’ Tedx Talk, “Climate change is simple”, and acclaimed climate change scientist James Hansen’s Ted Talk, “Why I must speak out about climate change.

Be an advocate. Check out – a global climate change movement that our global Jewish teen movement can partner with on climate change advocacy (here’s a 1.5 minute video clip explaining visually what 350 is!). You can also advocate in our regular work – for example, check out “The Environmentally Friendly Conference.”

Teach your teens and community about climate change. There is so much in Jewish tradition that speaks to the imperative to care for the earth. “G-d took Adam and placed Adam in the Garden of Eden to work it and to guard it” (Genesis 2:15). We are still partners with G-d in creation – and it’s our obligation to continue to guard creation.

Partner with others committed to the cause. There are awesome Jewish organizations working on this issue too. The Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL) and Hazon are doing extraordinary work on climate change – especially in this shmita year (check out Hazon’s Shmita Project). Citizens’ Climate Lobby is a grassroots organization committed to advocating for a carbon tax (“Carbon Fee & Dividend”). And there are many other organizations, communities, and individuals out there doing great work too.

So here’s the task: Click on any of the links in the message and spend a couple minutes or longer learning more about climate change. And then to do something meaningful to advocate on behalf of this important issue.

The work that we do on this issue is deeply personal. We do it so that one day our grandchildren may look at us and say: “Grandma/Grandpa, thank you for helping to make sure the world is a safe place for me to live in.”

Wishing you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving!

(This Shabbat message was written with gratitude by Ira J. Dounn, Director of Jewish Enrichment, Eastern Hub).

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