Sukkah and drawings collage

Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot are major Jewish holidays. But Rabbi Ruhi Sophia Motzkin Rubenstein says much of the meaning behind these festivals has been forgotten.

Rubenstein: “I think a lot of Jews have a sense of these holidays that is very divorced from their ancient agricultural context. But these were all harvest festivals, and they all involved praying for rain and praying for the climate to be maintained in the regular hoped-for ways throughout the year and giving thanks for the abundance of the earth.”

At Temple Beth Israel in Oregon, Rubenstein uses these holidays as an opportunity to talk about climate change. As droughts and extreme storms become more common, praying for good weather takes on a new significance.

'We have to make sure that we are stewarding this gift of being humans on earth well ...' Click To Tweet

To emphasize the importance of climate action, Rubenstein’s temple hosts youth trainings and movie screenings about global warming. It also has a green team that participates in regional climate activism.

Rubenstein: “We have to make sure that we are stewarding this gift of being humans on earth well, because if we don’t, no one’s going to fix it for us.”

Reporting credit: Rosie Simon/ChavoBart Digital Media.
Image graphic: Created by David McCarthy. Modern version of a sukkah (right).

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