Thursday 10 November
This event, a partnership between Edinburgh Jewish Cultural Centre (EJCC) and Edinburgh Interfaith Association (EIFA), provided the opportunity for community consultation following the Together for our Planet environmental concert which took place in November 2021. Both events received funding through the National Lottery Community Fund Awards for All and the recording equipment was provided through Jewish Scotland Connected, a partnership project led by the Scottish Council for Jewish Communities. 17 participants attended the workshop in person, augmented by an online audience of 12, from diverse faith traditions including Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Zen Buddhism, Hinduism and Paganism. There were also representatives from different religions’ schemes promoting environmental sustainability within their congregations.
Those who were unable to participate in the live event are able to view a recording uploaded to EJCC’s Youtube channel – https://youtu.be/TdZNa0CHKfw.
The format of the evening comprised an introduction by EJCC’s Rachel Caplan, followed by keynote speaker Alastair McIntosh, Fellow of the Centre for Human Ecology and author of “Riders on the Storm – The Climate Crisis and the Survival of Being”. Alastair laid out the relevant principles in Jewish tradition especially as laid out in former Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks’ book “To Heal a Fractured World” and what Jewish teaching can bring to the table of world faiths. “Tikkun Olam” is the Jewish concept of taking responsibility to mend or heal the world. Alastair quoted from Lord Sacks’ book and references from other faiths, along with diverse sources from Robert Burns to Led Zeppelin, to emphasise that we all need to dig deep into our spiritual traditions to draw out their calling and live that calling out into the world to address the climate challenge.
Alastair’s presentation provided a springboard for group discussions. Feedback from each group revealed wide-ranging debate touching on many themes, including:
The discussions revealed an acknowledgement that the values embedded in our respective faith backgrounds stimulate a shared responsibility to respond to the climate emergency individually and collectively and to encourage others to do so.
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