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JYCM Newsletter- 4/10/21

Updates from JYCM's Shmita Campaign!

This past month, we started our programming for our Shmita Campaign! First, members of our board hosted a teach-in on food and agriculture. Our second September program was a partner event with Farm Forward, where we learned about their work trying to stop the factory farming industry.

Coming up in October, we are thrilled to be partnering with NFTY to lead a JYCM Youth Climate Activism Series for their members! This is an exciting model of training Jewish youth groups and organizations around the country to take on climate action and social justice through a Jewish lens, led by youth.

ACTION ALERT! Join Jewish Youth Climate Movement and GreenFaith at 8:30 am on Monday, October 18th at 345 Park Avenue in New York City for a Jewish youth-led action demanding that BlackRock's CEO Larry Fink ends its funding of the fossil fuel industry and human rights violations. BlackRock is the world’s largest asset manager and funder of the fossil industry and companies tied to deforestation. BlackRock also contributes to major human rights violations, including abusing indigenous territorial rights and displacing communities from their ancestral homelands. Our demands: 1. Take Climate Action Now, not share plans for the distant future 2. Stop investing in dirty fossil fuels 3. Nix the net, maximize the zero 4. Stop companies from continued destruction of our forests and respect Indigenous rights If you have questions about the action, email Morgan at

COVID SAFETY: To ensure the safety of everyone involved, we're requiring that everyone wears face masks and that everyone is vaccinated (if eligible for the vaccine).

Reminder: Each month of our Shmita Campaign will revolve around one central value (a Shmita Midah) present within biblical and Talmudic teachings on Shmita: Food and Agriculture, Debt and the Economic System, Land, Work and Rest, Equity and Justice, and Time. Each month will consist of teach-ins, policy education events, and direct actions corresponding to the themed month of the campaign. The Shmita Campaign provides the structure to recruit energized youth and garner commitments from our Jewish leaders that our institutions will actively participate in the global movement to pursue a sustainable and just world for all. We are issuing a call to our institutions to support these Seven Shmita Campaign Commitments.



“Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” -Ruth Bader Ginsberg


Indigenous People's Day - October 11th, 2021

On October 11th, we celebrate Indigenous People’s Day. We honor Indigenous peoples and their history, culture and traditions. Until recently, many people have referred to this day as Columbus day where they celebrate Christopher Columbus and his so-called “achievements.” However, celebrating him fails to recognize the violent atrocities, genocide, and colonization that his expedition catalyzed and that continue to this day. Indigenous oppression is a systemic issue in this country.

The suffering didn’t end there. Indigenous people are currently suffering the abuse of power from mining, logging, and oil corporations who are invading their sacred land and resources. Recent examples include the deforestation from loggers in the Amazon or the Line 3 pipeline in the U.S. Line 3 is a pipeline expansion proposed to bring almost a million barrels of tar sands from Canada into Wisconsin. It was proposed by a Canadian pipeline company called Enbridge, which is responsible for the biggest inland oil spill in the U.S. The pipeline would disrupt sacred Native American historic and cultural sites such as burial grounds. The plan is being met with resistance from Indigenous groups as well as climate activists and should be fought by us as well. In Judaism, we have the value of Ve-ahavta Lereacha Camocha or love your neighbor as yourself. As Jews, it is our duty to treat those we share land with as our true neighbors, and help ensure they have equitable opportunities, equitable rights, and equitable treatment. We must support the rights and justice for Indigenous people of the U.S. and of this earth. We must also work for Indigenous Jews to feel welcome and safe within the Jewish community. Not only have Indigenous people disproportionately experienced the impacts of the climate crisis and environmental destruction, but they hold wisdom and leadership integral to solving these crises. Indigenous activist Julian Brave Noisecat talks about a “Green New Deal built with rather than for indigenous peoples,” emphasizing that the climate movement should center the leadership and wisdom of Indigenous people. We must work toward that.

There are many other ways we can support Indigenous communities. We should help ensure Indigenous voices are included in the discussion of land use. Their livelihoods are directly impacted by companies invading their home, taking their resources, and disrupting their religious grounds. Also, we can donate to Indigenous rights organizations. You can find some of the most prominent organizations here. As climate activists, we must uplift and advocate for anyone whose rights are being infringed upon, including and especially Indigenous people.

For a better world,

Elijah Harris and Rivka Schafer


Welcome to our new JYCM Kvutzot!

We now have 30 Kvutzot (chapters) - welcome to our newest members:

Rabbi Jacob H. Epstein School of Jewish Studies, Syracuse, NY

Temple Torat Israel, East Greenwich, RI

To learn more about building a JYCM Kvutzah, visit our Kvutzah page here.


A Word from a Board Member

My name is Ilana Zahavy, my pronouns are she/her, and I am 15 years old.

I am a high school student who enjoys any type of art, cross country, and basketball. About a year ago, during the presidential election, my friend had shared with me an opportunity to do text banking, advocating for awareness of the climate crisis, and making sure people knew how to vote. This event was my first introduction to JYCM. Shortly after this, I reached out and asked if I could create a Kvutzah (local chapter) at my synagogue, and that is how I became involved in this wonderful youth-led organization! The environment has always been a huge part of my life and has always had a special place in my heart. I grew up being in the outdoors a lot and I continue to enjoy and learn about the outdoors as a teen. Given my love for this, I feel it is my obligation to preserve and protect the environment and mitigate climate change.

Being Jewish has also been a huge part of my life, so JYCM is such a great outlet for me. As Jews, it is our duty to rebuild the world, as stated in the Hebrew phrase, Tikun Olam. It is such a fulfilling experience to be able to rebuild the world collectively with such a strong youth community in this Jewish organization.

Ilana, 9th grade, PA, Public Relations Team


Sharing our Stories

Speaking Hebrew

My mouth twists two voices

and I don't have to make no choices

of which I am.

My language isn't bad

just because it’s from an experience you’ve not had.

Once my dad was speaking עברית, Hebrew

and the girl next to me said, "hey, you!

why is he speaking gibberish?"

Your words are gibberish to me.

In Israel, האמא שלי, my mother, speaks Hebrew with desperate care

-words right, accent different-

and people immediately speak their broken English.

"That's not fair!"

I want to scream.

"My words aren't all right and I'm half from here!

Many people who come near

don't even try.

They frown and ignorantly sigh

When you can't speak English."

Wherever I am, I don't feel perfect.

Just sick.

Hey, I'm not weird!

My mouth twists two different tongues.

Without both, I ain't got lungs.

Over the course of our storytelling campaign, we learned the importance of storytelling in the climate movement. We gave everyone a chance to learn how to tell their story and share it with everyone. In the coming months we will be sharing people's climate stories in JYCM's monthly newsletters. If you're interested in having yours featured, please reach out to

Without further ado, we'd like to introduce this month's story written by one of our board members, Maya. You can read her full story here.

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