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Articles by Arthur Waskow

Rabbi Arthur Waskow is director of The Shalom Center, author of many books on "down-to-earth Judaism," and a frequent speaker for synagogues, Hillels, etc.

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Photo: iStockphoto

The traditional Passover Haggadah teaches that in every generation, some Pharaoh will arise in destruction, and that in every generation, every human being — not just every Jew — must look upon herself or himself as if it is we — not our ancestors only — who must go forth to freedom.

In this generation, what Pharaoh do we face, and what freedom must we seek?

Pesach intertwines human freedom with the renewal of the earth: in the moment of spring when new grain, new lambs, and new flowers rise up against winter, the earth itself rises up against Pharaoh (in what we call the “plagues”).

Today, the global climate crisis threatens the whole planetary web of life, and there are some institutions — pharaohs — that make the crisis worse. They are bringing on us all the plagues of today — rivers undrinkable, frogs dying, the Great Lakes drying, hurricanes worsening, glaciers melting, polar bears drowning, seacoasts rising, droughts consuming.

There is a close relationship between our individual profligate consumption of coal and oil, and the behavior of these Phar... Read more