News flash

Videos of SAL/UER Climate Week events

Racism and the Collapsing Society, Barbara Love and Tim Jackins, June 7, 2020

RC Webinars listing through July 2021

New Online Workshop Guidelines Modifications


Jews & Climate Justice: Building a United Front

Billy Yalowitz


10-15 min


  • Introduce workshop; goals of workshop  (see attached Introduction)
  • Ask members of organizing team to raise hands or stand to identify them as helpers in the workshop
  • Land acknowledgement
  • Brief description of RC and a description of RC’s work on the environment and racism:

Sustaining All Life/UER is  a project of the Re-Evaluation Counseling Community. We offer tools of mutual support, engaged listening, and a process that frees people from the effects of the hurts and oppression. We can also use these tools to resolve many of the difficulties of working together in the CJ and other liberation movements. . This personal work heals the emotional damage and, as a result, people are able to think more clearly about the environmental crisis, build and strengthen alliances, and fully enjoy working together to set the world right. This healing work also builds courage and stamina, and the confidence that we can create a just, sustainable future for everyone.

5 min

Introduce listening exchange 

  • What we know about listening
  • Why listen? Why share?
  • Guidelines for listening:
  • Pleased and delighted
  • Withhold judgement, complete respect
  • Confidential listening, ask for permission to share
  • If feelings come up – welcome and make space for them. Crying, laughing, yawning, anger, are all signs that healing is taking place.


Listening Pairs: - 4 min each way 

Jews and connection to land. 

As with all groups of humans, the origins of the Jewish people are inextricably connected to the natural world, including a commitment to ethical relationships with the land, animals, and all peoples. However, in the different lands and times periods in which Jews have lived, we have been targets of genocide, been prohibited from owning land, and exiled from our countries.  As part of the climate justice movement, Jews can reclaim our relationship to the land, in cooperation with all the world’s peoples. 

It is sometimes difficult for some of us to notice that we Jews are in fact connected to the natural world and our environment.

This listening exchange is a chance to notice that connection -

whether it is from memories and experiences at Jewish summer camps, the feel of the air when spring came to your urban neighborhood, the New York harbor, a favorite boulder or tree you climbed  in a city park, a place in the woods near your suburban home, a time you were in the wilderness, connections to plants and animals, or current ways that you connect to the natural world.

Reminder of guidelines for listening.


What was it like to be listened to?  To Listen?



Among Jews – the importance of a caring, non-critical space to be listened to as we engage in the climate battle.   Have you noticed that we are sometimes critical of one another?   This is an unintentional transmission of trauma – having been targeted as a people – this happens intergenerationally  within Jewish families. We can heal it using these tools. 

Connection of CJ work and use of these tools:  We can use paired listening to discharge grief and fear about the collapse of the environment; discouragement about the long-haul work of CJ organizing, recover from defeats along the way.   Ways of deepening relationships in building our resilience and unity strengthens our movement.

10 min

Panel    - a diverse panel of Jews – on use of SAL/UER tools in climate justice movement other movements, transforming institutions, and other settings  

    • How have you have used the theory/tools/practice of SAL-UER to build connection, resilience, effectiveness, leadership, power in your movement  (wide world) work (2 min each)


Possible demonstration with workshop participant:

What is it like facing the climate emergency, as a  Jew?  OR

What is it like in the climate justice movement, as  a Jew?

5 min

Mini – you as a Jew and the Cliamte Emergency  or the Climate Justice  movement, wherever you are with it – 2 min each


Anti-semitism  (a/S) and how it functions to divide movements

We define anti-semitism as the

  • Institutionalized/systemic singling out of Jews for blame for world’s problems
  • this is  divide and conquer strategy to protect the interests of the ruling classes
  • back in the day story
  • Dividing Jews from each other  and from our natural allies is an entering wedge for disrupting and attacking progressive movements. 
  • inflicts terror and violence v. Jews – aimed at all working class people
  • A/s divides the working class and diverts us from organizing effectively to secure equal access to the world’s resources
  • Current rise – income inequality, neo-fascism, immigrants being attacked:   In desperate economic and climate conditions – w/c anger and betrayal diverted to scapegoats also happens among Jews – internalized anti-Semitism. Unintentionally we can turn on one another and undermine the common effort.  We cannot allow ourselves as Jews to be divided from one another in the CJ movement.

What we can do to end anti-Semitism, especially its effects on the climate justice movement

  • Understand the mechanisms of a/S and recognize it when underway
  • Learn to interrupt these mechanisms  when they are operating
  • Agree to practice being non-critical and appreciating, treasuring, caring about other Jewish CJ activists –even those you disagree with
  • Deepen trusting and close relationships with Jewish leaders and organizers –  that we can become accountable to each other for the inevitable mistakes we have made and will make -  but that even these we won’t allow as a pretext to be divided.
  • Develop close relationships with Gentile allies – train them to begin to act independently to interrupt a/S and dare to trust them

.Refer people to the antisemitism pamphlet with questions – and that we will do more on this in support groups, which follow this workshop. Also the Jews and Climate Justice handout

Building a united front while we work together to resolve any differences: We commit to continue our work together after the Climate Action Summit on any differences that cannot be resolved quickly.  We commit to come together to solidify our connections, strengthen our movement, and ensure that the same mistakes are not repeated.  We have much to learn from one another.  Addressing the ways we have been set against each other will take lots of listening, lots of time, and much effort on everyone’s part.

Last modified: 2020-04-06 20:43:07+00