It is time to take our faith into the streets.

From the end of March to the beginning of May is a sacred season, and this year many of the world’s religions will celebrate holy days then. Because of this, Third Act Faith, GreenFaith, and Exodus Alliance will be celebrating these events by using the symbolism of our traditions to call for the end of investing in the fossil fuel industry. On March 28th, Bill McKibben, Molly Brown, and Rabbi Arthur Waskow will be in conversation about ways that you can join us, with Nana Firman from GreenFaith moderating. RSVP for the event here.

I believe that acting on our values and ideals is the essence of vitality. What could be more energizing than embodying the rituals of our faith tradition in bringing about the world that we would like to see? This work not only energizes me, but it makes me feel alive.The impetus for this comes from Rabbi Arthur Waskow of the Shalom Center and the author of the groundbreaking Freedom Seder.

The original Freedom Seder was written in 1969 and was catalyzed by  Rabbi Waskow seeing Federal troops occupying the streets of Washington D. C in response to the uprising following the assassination of  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  It was during Passover of that year and what he saw in his mind’s eye was Pharaoh’s army. Over the years, the Freedom Seder has gone through a number of iterations.

Today, there is an Earth and Justice Freedom Seder said in the streets outside of financial institutions that invest in fossil fuels. It was created to be used by all faith traditions, as part of the Exodus Alliance, a group of multi faith organizations, faith leaders, and everyday people taking action for climate justice this Passover.

In 2021, Citibank, Wells Fargo, Chase, and Bank of America invested over 150 million dollars into the fossil fuel industry, with three of the four listed banks being some of the leading investors in fossil fuel.  Projects like fracking, oil drilling, and pipeline laying are so costly that the fossil fuel companies could not continue with business as usual if the financial institutions that fund them withdrew their support. In essence, these institutions are funding the proliferation of life-killing energies and we’re demanding that they fund renewable, life-giving energies instead. This Passover, we’re asking these “Corporate Carbon Pharaohs” to let all people and our planet go free!

With the Sacred Season almost upon us, we invite all faith traditions to contribute their own rituals as well as join in our upcoming events!

From Monday, April 18th to Friday, April 22nd, Earth Quaker Action Team will be partnering with Exodus Alliance for a Four Day walk, where they will end  at Vanguard’s southeastern Pennsylvania headquarters! Vanguard is one of the world’s leading investors in oil, gas, and coal, which means it is a major driver of climate destruction and environmental injustice. Starting at the industrial banks of the Delaware River, the route includes sites of environmental injustice and climate destruction. There will also be opportunities for training in nonviolent direct action, reaching out to Vanguard customers, and inter-generational support. Sign up: here.

There is a special Grandparents contingent being organized by the Elder Action Network, where you can participate for an hour or all four days. Make sure that on this form, you identify yourself as an Elder or a Grandparent so that they can help support you the best way they can.

On Wednesday, April 20th, there will be a  special interfaith action highlighting the powerful symbols of the Passover story and the role of Chase and Vanguard as “climate pharaohs” of our time by Exodus Alliance, Dayenu, Jewish Youth Climate Movement, Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light, and more. They will conclude with a powerful action at Vanguard’s global headquarters in Malvern on Earth Day.  Learn more: here.

I’m saddened to hear that Joanna Macy, one of the wise women of the planet, who has been a leader for decades in bringing our awareness to the depth of our connection to Earth and how we must honor the pain that we feel in this ecological crisis, was not able to join us due to health reasons, but we wish her a speedy recovery. She has taught many of us how we can channel that pain, and the love beneath it, into action to bring about a more just and sustainable world.

Mordechai Liebling

Rabbi Mordechai Liebling

Rabbi Mordechai Liebling is a part of the Third Act Faith Working Group Coordinating Committee. He previously served as the Executive Vice-President of Jewish Funds for Justice, the Torah of Money Director of the Shefa Fund, the Executive Director of the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation , and the Director of the Social Justice Organizing Program at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. 

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