Wednesday’s Climate Action Rally, held in Fountain Square, would have been incomplete without matzah.
Attendees grabbed chunks of Jewish flatbread while demanding that Chase Bank, across the street, divest from fossil fuels and work towards zero emissions.
Unleavened bread symbolizes urgency, a feeling that also characterizes the need for climate action, said participant Sally Nador, a member of Congregation Hakasa.
Bread’s symbolism is derived from its origins, which legend says followed the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, which was so hasty it didn’t allow time for the bread to rise, Nador said. .
Nador was joined by nearly 30 others, including members of the Jewish community, climate advocates, Jewish allies and rally organizers, leaders of Evanston Beth Emet Dayenu Circle and Makom Solel Lakeside Synagogue at Highland Park.
“Move your dough! rally attendees wept, alluding to the matzah in their hands, but also to the billions of dollars they said Chase Bank is investing in fossil fuels.
Chase Bank must join the fight for a more sustainable future, said one of the rally’s speakers, Hannah Rumsey.
Rumsey said when she first heard about the climate crisis as a child, she felt unimportant and powerless. It wasn’t until she heard about Greta Thunberg that she realized young people can be powerful and they have a right to be angry, she said.
“We can turn around and give up, or we can come here together and refuse to sit idly by as the climate crisis gets serious,” Rumsey said.
Shortly before Chase Bank closed at around 5 p.m., Rumsey, joined by Sally Nador, entered the bank to deliver a letter to the branch manager, addressed to JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon.
The letter called on Dimon to take action and meet Chase Bank’s climate commitments.
Although the branch manager was not present, another person employed by the bank’s management company promised to deliver the letter to the branch manager.
Nador explained that the Jewish faith values action rather than intention or belief, and that’s why the Jewish community strives to find physical ways, like public demonstrations, to draw attention to issues. .
A Jewish commitment to immediate climate action is also exemplified by several key principles, said Beth Emet Dayenu Circle leader Sharon Smaller.
One of those key values is ‘tikkun olam’ or ‘fixing the world’, she said. Another is “L’dor v’dor”, which means “from generation to generation”. This value underscores the need to leave the world in good shape so the next generation can thrive, Smaller said.
Dayenu leaders across the country are leading similar rallies outside the branches or offices of seven companies, called “The Schmutzy Sheva,” meaning “the dirty seven,” which have invested trillions of dollars in fossil fuels.
The Dirty Seven is made up of four banks – Chase Bank, CitiGroup, Wells Fargo and Bank of America – and three asset managers – Blackrock, Vanguard and State Street.
The gatherings take place around Passover because the holiday symbolizes renewal, Smaller said.
One of the attendees, a student from the North West named Madeline Amonick, said the rally helped unite members of the Jewish community passionate about climate justice and helped spread key values that drive action. .
“We can come together to feel more grounded in our efforts to demand action from those responsible,” she said.