Report from Rabbi Hillel

It has been a busy week, and it’s only Tuesday!

March for Charlottesville

On Sunday, 8-10 people from the Jewish Community joined about 100 people from Fort Collins and the area to demonstrate our rejection of the hate and violence that was on display on Charlottesville, VA, on Saturday.  For about half an hour, we lined College Avenue at Oak Street to wave signs and join in chants rejecting hate and violence, and making it clear that “all are welcome here,” and “this is what democracy looks like!”  We then marched through the closed-off streets of New West Fest, again with our signs and chants, to near universal approval from New West Fest participants.

Above is a photo of some of us who participated in the march.

Public Forum on Climate Change in Colorado – some good news!

On Monday, I attended a public forum on climate change in Colorado, sponsored by Rep. Jared Polis, and including a panel of climate scientists and people involved in advocacy for dealing with climate change.  The good news, according to the scientists on the panel, is that it is still possible to head off catastrophe by switching to renewal forms of generating electricity, such as solar power and wind.  Although the costs of that switch are potentially high, those costs would be offset within a relatively short time by savings that would accrue; and by the reduction of CO2 in the atmosphere.

Members of the panel also agreed that, despite the President’s withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Climate accords, states and cities are moving ahead with plans to move from fossil fuels to renewables. Some of them are doing so not for ideological reasons, but because they have found renewables to be the most cost effective for themselves and their residents.  A member of the audience pointed out that the City of Fort Collins has adopted a goal of 80 % renewable energy sources by the year 2030.

Sen. Gardner’s Town Hall in Greeley

On Tuesday afternoon, I attended a town hall meeting of Sen. Cory Gardner, in Greeley, with about 450 other citizens.  The Senator opened the meeting with a repeat of his tweeted message from Saturday evening condemning the white supremacy marchers in Charlottesville, VA, earlier that day. That received the loudest applause of the meeting.  After that, the audience was very vocal in its opposition to positions Sen. Gardner took, particularly on health care.

More than once, Sen. Gardner asked how many in the audience favored a single-payer health insurance system. Each time, the vast majority of those attending raised their hands.  Each time, he repeated:  “I am not in favor of socialized medicine,” a response that drew loud negative responses from the audience.  Although asked, he never explained why that is his position.  He did call for a bipartisan approach to the health insurance issue, and noted that the Senate will begin committee hearings on the issue in September.

The involvement of so many people at all these events is a source of hope for me that there is still time to save both the environment, and this historical experiment we call American democracy. Thank you for all that you do!

In solidarity, Rabbi Hillel