Earlier this year, more than 5,000 people gathered online for the first Big Bold Jewish Climate Fest, a five-day festival designed to connect Jewish values with climate action.

Lisa Colton produced the festival. She says that for many Jews, climate change has become a moral issue.

“When framed as a moral issue, it requires that people get off of the sidelines, that you are either on the right side of history or you’re not,” she says. “And the question is not whether you think this is real or you think it’s important. The question is: What are you doing about it?”

She says the festival helped people share ideas, motivate one another, and identify climate actions that Jewish leaders can prioritize, such as divesting rabbis’ pension funds from fossil fuels.

“We heard a lot of leaders – political leaders, Jewish communal leaders, and others – articulate their commitment to this issue,” Colton says.

She says that the challenge moving forward will be to hold them to those commitments, so that the energy and momentum generated during the festival translates into action throughout the year.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media