Passover and Earth Day Converge: Jewish Climate Activists Share What This Means to Them (Exclusive)

"We are given an extra push to think about our holiday of liberation in more expansive ways."

Jamie Bichelman - Author

Apr. 22 2024, Published 12:08 p.m. ET

Collage on a green background with headshots of Yoni Stadlin, Sabs Katz, Lisa Apfelberg, and Rabbi Jennie Rosenn
Source: Green Lovers Composite: Courtesy of Adamah, sustainablesabs/Instagram, Lisa Apfelberg, Dayenu

Earth Day and Passover have a few things in common, from honoring the land upon which we live, to giving back (aka tikkun olam). In 2024, the two holidays share not only a few key themes, but overlapping dates. Earth Day will be celebrated all day on Monday April 22; and that evening, Passover begins. For many, the two holidays will be celebrated together this year.

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The intersection of Jewish beliefs, environmental justice, plant-based meals, and earth-honoring rituals is a natural one. That's why Green Lovers spoke to four proud Jewish climate activists to learn more about the joyous connection shared between Passover and Earth Day.

Rabbi Jennie Rosenn believes we should channel the courage of our ancestors.

Headshot of Rabbi Jennie Rosenn, the founder and CEO of Dayenu, on green background
Source: Courtesy of Dayenu

"With Passover and Earth Day falling on the same date this year, I find inspiration in Jewish history and stories about the will to live l’dor v’dor — generation to generation," Rabbi Jennie Rosenn, the founder and CEO of Dayenu, tells Green Lovers exclusively via email.

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"As we face the existential threat of an accelerating climate crisis, we need the courage of our ancestors — like the midwives who took radical action to save the lives of newborns and like Nachson, who stepped in the Sea of Reeds, wading into the waters up to his nose, until the sea parted," Rabbi Rosenn continues. "We need bold collective action for systemic change, and the radical imagination to envision a just, sustainable future for all people for generations to come."

Lisa Apfelberg reflects on farmed animal liberation during Seder.

"This year, with the first evening of Passover falling on Earth Day, we are given an extra push to think about our holiday of liberation in more expansive ways," Lisa Apfelberg, the executive director of Jewish Veg, tells Green Lovers exclusively through email. "For many Jewish plant-based eaters who are celebrating Passover, it is difficult to ignore that the spirit of the holiday — which is all about celebrating and calling for liberation — is contradictory with many of the foods placed on the Seder table."

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"Foods that come from the industrialized animal agriculture industry are responsible for the destruction of our natural resources, some of the most egregious treatment of workers, and the horrifying abuse of animals who grow up in miserable and confined ways," Apfelberg continues. "Let us allow the convergence of these two observances to encourage us to expand the ways we are not free and think about how we can make a difference by what we place on our Seder table."

Sabs Katz's Jewish identity informs her environmental activism.

"So many Jewish holidays are connected to land and to the seasons, so when I think about Passover starting on Earth Day it only further enforces that! Much of my climate activism is informed by my connection to Jewish culture and our history, so it makes me happy that two of my favorite holy days are converging," Intersectional Environmentalist cofounder and influencer Sabs Katz exclusively tells Green Lovers through email.

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Yoni Stadlin believes in challenging old ways of thought.

Yoni Stadlin headshot taken outside, with yellow borders
Source: Courtesy of Adamah

"This year, Earth Day falls on the eve of Passover, representing the confluence of the ancient Jewish festival of liberation and springtime harvest with our contemporary holiday elevating awareness of our connection to and responsibility for the Earth," Yoni Stadlin, the chief immersive programs officer at Adamah, writes to Green Lovers in an email.

"The Passover story reminds us that sometimes, a dramatic shift, such as getting up and leaving what we have been accustomed to, is what is called for," he continues. "With Earth Day coinciding with Passover this year, we are called to ask ourselves and each other, 'what dramatic exodus from our old ways is needed to ensure the protection of our natural world?'"

This article is part of Green Lovers’ 2024 Earth Day programming, It's Giving... Earth Day: A series about the people and organizations who are “giving” Earth Day 24/7. We hope these stories inspire you to embody the spirit of Earth Day all year round.

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