Climate change protesters to hold demonstration Seder in Westminster

Extinction Rebellion Jews say it is a religious duty to care for the planet


Climate change protesters are to stage a demonstration Seder in Parliament Square on Wednesday as part of a wider international campaign of action this month by the group Extinction Rebellion.

The Seder will link the Ten Plagues of the Haggadah with the threat to the earth if greenhouse gas emissions are not reduced and global warming brought below two degrees.

Bitter herbs and greens grown at Sadeh, the Jewish farm at Skeet House in Kent, will be used for the event.

Talia Chain, Sadeh’s farm manager, said Jewish traditions “teach us to plant trees for our children and grandchildren. It is our religious and human responsibility to tend and to care for our planet, our divine home. We must stand up against those who wish to harm it and join those who wish to protect it.”

The event is being organised by Extinction Rebellion Jews and Yelala, the group promoting “earth-centred” rituals co-founded by Yael Tischler and Kohenet (Hebrew Priestess) Rachel Rose Reid.

They also urge all Jews to place a chili on the Seder plate at family gatherings at Pesach on Friday night, symbolic of the dangers of global warming.

The organisers have produced a special Haggadah insert, which warns that the world is facing an emergency, quoting the prophet Joel who spoke of “blood, fire and pillars of smoke”.

Ms Tischler said Pesach was “fundamentally about telling and re-telling the story of our ancestor’s mythic journey from oppression to liberation. We do this year after year to remind ourselves that a different reality is possible, that we don’t have to accept the way the world has been shaped by those who currently monopolise and misuse their power.”

Elinor Milne, a founder of Extinction Rebellion Jews and a member of South London Synagogue, said: “Unless we see drastic government action, the existence of future generations is in jeopardy.” 

She has been trying to eat more locally produced foods and reduce her use of plastic bags “like so many in the community”, she said. “But in the face of the catastrophe scientists tell us we currently face, this doesn’t feel like enough. That’s why I decided to organise a Jewish response as part of Extinction Rebellion.”

At the launch of this week's protests in London on Monday, Jewish participants sounded 12 blasts of the shofar.


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