God, Humanity, and the Rest of Creation: Jewish Theology in a Time of Climate Emergency
With Rabbi Shai Held
We live in a time of unprecedented climate emergency: greenhouse gas emissions are causing vast — and irreversible — changes to earth’s climate. Droughts, floods, heat waves, extreme weather events and rise in sea-levels endanger millions of lives. How should religious people respond to the crisis? How does the way we imagine the relationship between God, humanity, and the rest of creation shape our sense of responsibility for the fate of the earth and its inhabitants?
Beginning with the Bible and concluding with contemporary theology and environmental ethics, we’ll develop a textually-rooted Jewish theology for this precarious moment. We’ll bear in mind the sobering words of Governor Jay Inslee of Washington: “We are the first generation to feel the sting of climate change, and we are the last generation that can do something about it.” We’ll conclude with an invitation to connect to Interfaith Power & Light, a grassroots group through which Jewish communities and congregations of many faiths are working together to respond to climate change: www.ipldmv.org and with KOL Foods, a Kosher meat company focused on making a sustainable difference through supporting responsible farming. Vegan snacks from Shouk and other vendors will also be available.
Co-presented by the Morris Cafritz Center for Social Responsibility, in partnership with Hadar, Interfaith Power and Light, and KOL Foods.
Rabbi Shai Held–theologian, scholar, and educator–is President, Dean, and Chair in Jewish Thought at Hadar, where he also directs the Center for Jewish Leadership and Ideas. Previously, he served for six years as Scholar-in-Residence at Kehilat Hadar in New York City, and taught both theology and Halakhah at the Jewish Theological Seminary. He also served as Director of Education at Harvard Hillel. A 2011 recipient of the prestigious Covenant Award for excellence in Jewish education, Rabbi Held has been named multiple times to Newsweek’s list of the 50 most influential rabbis in America. He holds a doctorate in religion from Harvard; his main academic interests are in modern Jewish and Christian thought, in biblical theology, and in the history of Zionism. Rabbi Held’s first book, Abraham Joshua Heschel: The Call of Transcendence, was published by Indiana University Press in 2013; The Heart of Torah, a collection of essays on the Torah in two volumes, was published by JPS in 2017.
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