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E-M:/ Press Release from SE Michigan COEJL

Enviro-Mich message from Anne Leavitt-Gruberger <aleavitt@umich.edu>

For Immediate Release

Contact: Anne Leavitt-Gruberger, SEMCOEJL, 734-769-0500, aleavitt@umich.edu

              Michael Sklar, SEMCOEJL, 248-223-3318, tigers3@mediaone.net

Citing religious and moral values, diverse group within the Jewish
community expresses profound disappointment in President Bush's actions on
global warming

Detroit, Michigan  April 3, 2001 -- Jewish organizations in Michigan and
around the country are deeply troubled by President Bush's decision to
abandon the Kyoto Protocol, the international global climate change treaty.

"We are concerned that the emerging energy policy of the Administration
does not address the central energy challenge of today: that our reliance
on fossil fuels threatens serious harm to both humankind and all of
creation," says Michael Sklar, co-chair of the Southeast Michigan Coalition
on the Environment and Jewish Life (SEMCOEJL).

Jewish leaders across the nation view climate change as a religious and
moral issue.  Global warming violates God's creation and our responsibility
as Jews to protect and restore the world's bounty.  Global warming
threatens all of God's children, both those living and those of future
generations.  We are particularly motivated by our spiritual traditions to
seek justice for the most vulnerable among us.  It is these people, in our
own and other societies, who will suffer the most from rising seas, extreme
weather, agricultural disruptions, and migrating diseases - all of which
are likely to happen if we do not rapidly address our greenhouse gas

With less than five percent of the world's population, the US produces 22
percent of greenhouse gas emissions.  As the richest and most powerful
nation on Earth, we have the ability and the responsibility to lead the
world's efforts to address the threat of global warming.  As people of
faith, we call on the US to take action and provide the leadership that
global warming deserves.  Only after this happens can we expect developing
nations to follow suit.

In more than 20 states around the US, communities of faith are actively
organizing to address climate change.  In Michigan, leaders from Jewish,
mainline Protestant, Episcopalian, and Muslim denominations, as well as
others, have joined together to advocate action to address global warming.
This interfaith effort is rooted in common theological principles and a
shared concern for God's creation, as well as the overwhelming scientific
evidence regarding global warming.  Michigan's Interfaith Global Warming
Campaign has been working on this issue locally for the past two years
under the auspices of the Michigan Interfaith Coalition for Creation (MICC).

The Southeast Michigan Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life
(SEMCOEJL) is an active member of the MICC and has been working on climate
change issues since the organization's inception.  Recently, SEMCOEJL has
been partnering with a number of local Jewish institutions to explore the
connection between Jewish traditions and the environment, and to oversee
building-wide energy audits to make the Jewish community more ecologically

"Jewish tradition teaches that 'The earth is the Lord's and the fullness
thereof.'  We are merely caretakers of God's creation, and are obligated to
preserve and protect it for future generations.  Responsible stewardship
demands that we address the damaging effects of global climate change and
other environmental threats," says Rabbi Marla Feldman of the Michigan
Board of Rabbis and the Jewish Community Council.  It is theological
teachings like this that inspire SEMCOEJL to do this work in the Jewish
communities of Ann Arbor and Detroit.


Anne Leavitt-Gruberger
University of Michigan Hillel
1429 Hill Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104


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