We welcome people of every faith to join us for Hoshi’a Na: Please Save Us, a Multi-faith Teach-In on Climate Change, at Germantown Jewish Centre on Sunday, October 4 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM. The readings for the day will draw from Pope Francis’ Encyclical, Laudato Si’ , from the Rabbinic Letter on the Climate Crisis, the Islamic Declaration on Climate Change, among other sources.
This program will take place on the day known to Jews as Hoshanah Rabah (“the great saving”), the last day of the fall festival of Sukkot. According to Jewish traditions, on this day we chant, sing, and process in circuits around the sanctuary, bearing willow branches, to pray for the Earth and all who live on it.
On the same day, many Christians will be celebrating the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals and the environment. We will also have seen the impact of Pope Francis’s encyclical on environmental stewardship and his subsequent visit to Philadelphia.
Gathering all of those strains of religious tradition, this program will serve as a response by religious communities to the crisis of climate change. Together, we will combine prayer, ritual, and learning about what we can do to combat this serious threat to Creation.
We will begin with a welcome and a ritual inspired by Hoshanah Rabah involving seven circuits around the Charry Sanctuary, one for each day of Creation, accompanied by prayers and readings from multiple faith traditions.
We will then hear from a number of speakers who will touch on different forms of action that we can take to combat climate change, interwoven with music and meditation.
To end, we will go outside and perform the ancient ritual of beating willows against the ground, symbolizing our connection to the earth and our commitment to protecting and caring for it. We will leave inspired and empowered to enact our religious beliefs and teachings about the earth and to safeguard it for generations yet to come. Please join us!