Washington, D.C., November 10, 2015 – The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) and its Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life initiative (COEJL) are proud to announce that COEJL Manager Liya Rechtman will be travelling to Paris for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change as a Religions for Peace delegate. She is the first Jewish community professional to have announced that she will be attending the conference. Rechtman will be available for interviews and will be writing for the COEJL website, among other publications, from Paris.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is a major convening of governmental policy-makers, as well as business, non-profit, academic and faith leaders from around the world. The Conference of Parties will address climate change mitigation and adaptation globally. Negotiations will are expected to conclude with an international agreement on emissions reductions.
The Religions for Peace USA Paris Cohort is comprised of Jewish, Muslim, Mennonite, and Zoroastrian lay leaders, and a Baptist preacher. The diversity of the delegation mirrors the spirit of the UNFCCC. In the same way that the United Nations represents international collaboration, the delegation learn collaboratively and across faith lines as well as to bring climate mitigation and education best practices back to their respective faith communities. While there, they will attend prayer vigils, the conclusion of the People’s Pilgrimage to Paris, and climate protests demanding a strong final agreement.
The Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life understands combatting climate change to be an inherently Jewish value. In Deuteronomy 16:18 we read, “Justice, justice, you shall pursue.” Our text tells us not only to pursue “justice” on a case-by-case basis, but also as to pursue “justice, justice,” addressing inequality at its systemic roots. Interfaith collaboration and international agreements are needed in order to tackle the global, systemic issue of our increasing greenhouse gas emissions and our degraded planet.
COEJL is an initiative of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and the Jewish partner to the National Religious Partnership on the Environment. The Jewish Council for Public Affairs is the public affairs arm of the organized Jewish community and serves as the advisory body for the 16 national and 125 local Jewish community relations organizations.