Rabbi Joel Abraham
Rabbi Joel Abraham (Image credit: Nexus Media News video)

Last May, Rabbi Joel Abraham drove his Chevy Volt to Mount Olivet Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey. As rabbi of nearby Temple Sholom, he joined other local clergy for an interfaith blessing of electric vehicles.

At the event, electric cars and chargers were on display. The goal was to educate faith leaders about how EVs can help reduce air pollution in Newark.

Abraham: “Newark is a huge port, so one of the problems or challenges with the port is not only do you have many diesel operated vehicles coming into the port to pick up things and take them out, but also, the large equipment that’s used – the cranes, the dock vehicles, all of those things – use petroleum products and create all these fumes for the people who live in the area.”

The event rallied clergy behind campaigns that call for electric cargo handling equipment at the port, electric buses, and more EV-charging stations in the city.

Rabbi Abraham says there’s a moral reason for clergy to lead on this issue.

Abraham: “In the Jewish context, what we usually talk about is that we are given not dominion to rule over the earth, but really given the responsibility to care for the earth.”

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.

Daisy Simmons is a freelance writer and editor with more than 15 years of experience in research-driven storytelling. In addition to contributing to Yale Climate Connections since early 2016, she also...