A Prayer for our Country


Today, the Supreme Court of the United States, in their ruling on the West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) case, stripped the EPA’s authority to limit carbon pollution from power plants, drastically reducing our ability to fight climate change. This ruling takes us in the exact opposite, wrong direction: increasing emissions and accelerating climate catastrophes. And though we are all impacted, those hit hardest by this ruling are our most vulnerable fellow Americans: low-income Black & Brown communities living near power plants and harmed by environmental injustices.

We find this court’s ruling – gutting the EPA’s ability to curtail the existential threat of carbon emissions – to be morally and religiously unconscionable.

And this comes, of course, on the heels of a rather devastating few days, as last week the Supreme Court first eroded states’ abilities to enact gun safety regulations, and then overturned Roe vs Wade, effectively ending the federal protections for the right to an abortion. We are rocked by these rulings, and want to share the Jewish Council for Public Affairs statement on gun safety here, and invite you to join us in supporting our partners at the National Council for Jewish Women.

So it’s been quite a week. And while we will follow the leadership of our partners on these adjacent, critical issues, we are stepping up to lead in response to this catastrophic ruling against the EPA. This ruling will slow our progress, but it cannot stop the climate action movement, and we all must do our part to enact the deep culture change and systemic change we need. That’s why we are building a coalition engaging partners across the Jewish world, bringing together Jewish leaders and organizations to take climate action at pace and at scale–so that every Jewish community can find a way to get involved, to rise up, to be the change. Because the only way is through.

The whole world is a very narrow bridge, and the main thing is not to fear.  — Rabbi Nachman of Bratzlav

We will not give up. And neither can you.

So please, join us and our partners at Dayenu and the Climate Action Campaign, as we demand serious climate legislation. Call Your Senators Today to demand a reconciliation bill that provides justice, jobs, and renewable energy for all.

And start talking to the Jewish leaders and organizations in your life: encourage them to make climate action part of their moral leadership – and sign up for an upcoming Hazon webinar to learn more about the coalition we are building to take this movement to the next level.

These are historic times, moments that demand our full, open hearts and minds. Our best selves. So, two humble offerings for your 4th of July – for you, friends, and family:

  1. Watch this short video of new Supreme Court Justice, Ketanji Brown Jackson, being sworn in as the first African American woman to serve on the highest court in the land.
  2. Then take a few deep breaths, and scroll down to read aloud Amanda Gorman’s poem, The Hill We Climb, recited 18 months ago at the Presidential Inauguration, and deeply needed in this moment we find ourselves in today.

In prayer for our country,

jakir's e-signature

Jakir Manela

Chief Executive Officer

Our mission at Hazon-Pearlstone is to lead a transformative movement deeply weaving sustainability into the fabric of Jewish life, in order to create a healthier, more sustainable, and more equitable world for all. We connect people to the earth and to each other, catalyzing culture change and systemic change through Immersive Retreats, Jewish Environmental Education, and Climate Action.

The Hill We Climb by Amanda Gorman

When day comes, we ask ourselves, where can we find light in this never-ending shade?

The loss we carry. A sea we must wade. We braved the belly of the beast.

We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace, and the norms and notions of what “just” is isn’t always justice. 

And yet the dawn is ours before we knew it. Somehow we do it.

Somehow we weathered and witnessed a nation that isn’t broken, but simply unfinished.

We, the successors of a country and a time where a skinny Black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother can dream of becoming president, only to find herself reciting for one.

And, yes, we are far from polished, far from pristine, but that doesn’t mean we are striving to form a union that is perfect. We are striving to forge our union with purpose.

To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and conditions of man.

And so we lift our gaze, not to what stands between us, but what stands before us.

We close the divide because we know to put our future first, we must first put our differences aside. We lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms to one another.

We seek harm to none and harmony for all.

Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true. That even as we grieved, we grew. That even as we hurt, we hoped. That even as we tired, we tried. That we’ll forever be tied together, victorious.

Not because we will never again know defeat, but because we will never again sow division.

Scripture tells us to envision that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid.

If we’re to live up to our own time, then victory won’t lie in the blade, but in all the bridges we’ve made. That is the promise to glade, the hill we climb, if only we dare.

It’s because being American is more than a pride we inherit.

It’s the past we step into and how we repair it.

We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation, rather than share it. Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy. And this effort very nearly succeeded.

But while democracy can be periodically delayed, it can never be permanently defeated.

In this truth, in this faith we trust, for while we have our eyes on the future, history has its eyes on us.

This is the era of just redemption. We feared at its inception. We did not feel prepared to be the heirs of such a terrifying hour. But within it we found the power to author a new chapter, to offer hope and laughter to ourselves.

So, while once we asked, how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe, now we assert, how could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?

We will not march back to what was, but move to what shall be: a country that is bruised but whole, benevolent but bold, fierce and free.

We will not be turned around or interrupted by intimidation because we know our inaction and inertia will be the inheritance of the next generation, become the future.

Our blunders become their burdens. But one thing is certain.

If we merge mercy with might, and might with right, then love becomes our legacy and change our children’s birthright.

So let us leave behind a country better than the one we were left. Every breath from my bronze-pounded chest, we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one.

We will rise from the golden hills of the West.

We will rise from the windswept Northeast where our forefathers first realized revolution.

We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the Midwestern states.

We will rise from the sun-baked South. We will rebuild, reconcile, and recover.

And every known nook of our nation and every corner called our country, our people diverse and beautiful, will emerge battered and beautiful.

When day comes, we step out of the shade of flame and unafraid. The new dawn balloons as we free it.

For there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it. 

If only we’re brave enough to be it.

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