Palms, Passover, and Climate Change


ALEPH is lending a hand along with grass-roots and national interfaith groups to take “climate action” during the week of Passover and Holy Week all across the country. The prime focal point will be Wednesday, March 27 of Passover week.  ALEPH urges its affiliated communities, members, and all Jews concerned about caring for creation to take appropriate action wherever they can.

The Shalom Center  has posted to their website is an outline for an interfaith seder and climate awareness event entitled “Palms & Passover: Interfaith Healing Seder for the Earth.” The Seder integrates a Palm Procession drawn from Christian tradition for Palm Sunday with a Seder drawn from Jewish tradition. The text of “Palms & Passover” can be found at — 

We are asking the  ALEPH & Ohalah communities to do two things:

  • Read the draft Seder and comment on the Shalom Center website with thoughts, comments, criticisms.
  • If you find this is a promising approach to multi-religious follow-up to the participation of many faith-full folk in the amazing “Forward on Climate” Rally in Washington last month, please reach out to other climate-conscious religious folk in your communities and begin organizing for this sort of action during the Holy Week/ Passover season.
  • Let the ALEPH know what you have planned, so we can share your  ideas and innovations with others across the Renewal community.

Here are some excerpts  from the outline:



The people gather at a central point, perhaps a synagogue or  church. Each takes a frond of the palm tree, and in pairs they bless each other, each tapping the other on the shoulder with a palm frond, saying:
May the Holy One Who interbreathes all life, breathe life between you and this palm branch, between the forests of the Earth and our communities.
The people move into the streets. Chanting and singing as they go, carrying a portable large-sized globe of Planet Earth, waving the Palm branches, they walk toward a Pyramid of Power of our own day: perhaps an office of Exxon or BP, or a coal-fired power station, or a bank that invests in a coal company that is destroying the mountains of West Virginia,  or a religious or academic or governmental institution which they could call on to end its investments in Big Carbon and invest in renewable energy companies instead.

And as they walk they sing:

We’ve got the sun and the rain in our hands,
We’ve got the wind and the clouds in our hands,
We’ve got the whole world in our hands.
We’ve got the whole world in our hands!

As they arrive at the point they have chosen, they share in this reading, each person reading a passage and then passing it on to another:

Rabbi Jesus and his companions called upon their followers to “Occupy Jerusalem, ” “Challenge the money-changers,” “Lift high the Green faces of God, the Palms of Possibility.”

“Gather,” they said, “on the eve of Passover to recall the fall of Pharaoh. For in every generation there is a Pharaoh who arises to enslave us and destroy us. In every generation we must all see ourselves: It is we who must go forth from slavery to freedom, not our forebears only.” [Quotation from the Passover Haggadah]

Defenders of the status quo told Rabbi Jesus to tell his followers to shut up.  
And the Gospel  (Luke 19:40) says: “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep silent, the very stones will cry out.”  

In our own generation, the stones are crying out.

The frozen stones we call glaciers are groaning as they melt. The rivers cry out by flooding one-fifth of Pakistan and the entire City of New Orleans, by washing out the sturdy bridges of Vermont and flooding the subways of Manhattan.

The rains cry out in silence as they fail to fall, bringing unheard-of droughts to central Africa, Australia, Russia, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Iowa.

The community returns to where it began and shares —


Part I, Celebration of God’s Earth, uses greens, charoset (embodying Shir HaShirim), and shmitah. Part II, Lament for the Wounded Earth, uses the Bitter Herb and Ten Plagues of today. Part III: Heal the Earth, uses wine and matzah  and Ten Healings we could be using now.

See the rest on the Shalom Center website. If this inspires you take action, please do so, and share your efforts with the larger community of Renewal Jews who care for this one green planet we all share. Let’s move toward a Promised Land of safe, balanced climate. Happy Green Pesach!