UK Rabbis: this week’s heatwave offers nightmarish glimpse of future

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UK Rabbis: this week’s heatwave offers nightmarish glimpse of future

Cross-denominational rabbinic group are urging British Jews to push their synagogues and MPs to meet net zero carbon target

The aftermath of a fire at Shirley Hills in Croydon, England, on 19 July 2022, the hottest day in the country's history
The aftermath of a fire at Shirley Hills in Croydon, England, on 19 July 2022, the hottest day in the country's history

A cross-denominational group of rabbis has said this week’s extreme weather is down to climate change and urged British Jews to do all they can to help meet the net zero carbon target.

In a statement, the Rabbinic team at EcoJudaism pleaded with communities to “work with us in raising the profile of getting to net zero as soon as possible and certainly by 2050”. They quoted the great sage Hillel, saying: “If not now, when?”

It follows a week of record high temperatures in the UK, the heat having led to several deaths across the country. “Climate change, specifically the increase in atmospheric temperatures caused by fossil fuel emissions, are contributing to the present extreme weather we are facing,” they said.

“Extreme weather may be something we experience more often, and in a more intense way. This is a time for us all to be absolutely clear about the effects of climate change on our lives, livelihoods, and communities. The knock-on effects on health, employment, and prosperity will not be long in coming.”

The EcoJudaism team includes the United Synagogue’s Rabbi David Mason, Liberal Judaism’s Rabbi Tanya Sakhnovich, Sephardi Rabbi Jeff Berger, Senior Masorti Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, and Reform Rabbi Mark Goldsmith.

They asked community members to make sure that their synagogues had committed to a pathway for lowering its carbon footprint while writing to their MPs to ensure the government’s continued commitment to the 2050 pledge.

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