August 11, 2014; Washington, DC – In a move that will bolster the Jewish community’s commitment to the environment, the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL) elected eco-Judaism activist and leader Rabbi Fred ScherlinderDobb as new chair of the organization, last week. COEJL, an initiative of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), works to strengthen the Jewish community’s commitment to the stewardship and protection of the Earth and all its inhabitants though Jewish life and learning. Rabbi Dobb will take the position of immediate past COEJL co-chairs, Dr. Mitchell Thomashow, environmentalist and author, and Rabbi Steve Gutow, president of the JCPA.
“We are thrilled that Rabbi Dobb will step into this new role for him. He has already been an innovative and thoughtful leader of COEJL for many, many years,” said Rabbi Gutow. “Rabbi Dobb has long been an ardent supporter and fierce advocate within the Jewish and global communities for the environment and social justice,” said Rabbi Gutow. “Under his purview, COEJL will thrive and continue to grow and make a difference.”
“As a Jewish people, our values of tikkun olam (repairing the world) and tzedek (justice) clearly apply to the environment, as well as to all of humanity,” said Rabbi Dobb. “Our rich social justice tradition insists that we defend ‘the least among us,’ those today who did the least to cause climate change, are feeling its effects first, and are least able to adapt to the changing environment. I am honored to continue the great work of the outgoing co-chairs Rabbi Steve Gutow and Dr. Mitchell Thomashow, of protecting both people and the ecosystem, as we further engage and educate the Jewish community. This is how we help protect God’s Creation, and preserve it for future generations.”
Rabbi Dobb has previously served as a COEJL board member and served as the rabbi at Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation in Bethesda, MD since 1997. He is the immediate past Chairperson of Maryland/Greater Washington Interfaith Power and Light and past President of the Washington Board of Rabbis. Rabbi Dobb contributes regularly to Moment magazine and other publications and has served in numerous interfaith leadership capacities. He has helped Adat Shalom become a widely-acclaimed green spiritual center and has been active within and beyond Adat Shalom on social and economic justice, LGBTQ and gender equality and progressive Israel education and advocacy, as well as eco-Judaism. A Wexner Graduate Fellow, Fred received a Doctor of Ministry from Wesley Theological Seminary in 2009. His nine- and five-year old children provide both impetus for, and limits upon, his activist rabbinate.