The Jewish community’s mandate to cherish, cultivate, and protect the earth is informed by traditional Jewish sources and contemporary Jewish insights. As Jews, we are heirs to a tradition of stewardship of the natural world first described in Genesis that teaches us to be partners in the ongoing work of creation. The National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council is united in the deep concern that increasing ecological problems threaten the quality of human life and the earth we inhabit. The NJCRAC affirms our responsibility to address this crisis on a global and local front, in both our personal and communal lives.
Not only is there a Jewish imperative to address environmental concerns, increasingly these issues have become a matter of national and international priority. Conservation and the efficient use of resources promote sustainable growth and economic vitality. At the same time, the NJCRAC has long maintained that environmental advocacy is consistent with the goal of promoting America’s energy independence.
Two years ago, leaders of our community made a pledge to initiate a unified response to the environmental crisis. The Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life was formed to mobilize the Jewish community in a concerted effort of environmental education and action. The NJCRAC calls on the organized Jewish community to:
- mobilize our community, including Jewish institutions, toward waste reduction,
- recycling and conservation policies, and increased energy efficiency;
- initiate education programs on the environment;
- engage in advocacy on behalf of appropriate environmental legislation at every level of government and in international forums;
- develop coalitions to advance these initiatives with scientists and educators, and with environmental, civic, labor, ethnic and interreligious groups.