"Luke Ford reports all of the 'juicy' quotes, and has been doing it for years." (Marc B. Shapiro)
"This guy knows all the gossip, the ins and outs, the lashon hara of the Orthodox world. He’s an [expert] in... all the inner workings of the Orthodox world." (Rabbi Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff)
"This generation's Hillel." (Nathan Cofnas)
Jeffrey Goldberg Analyzes Newsweek’s Top 50 Rabbis
These days, religious environmentalism is nothing new. It’s been five years since the "What Would Jesus Drive?" campaign and Evangelical Climate Initiative brought climate change into evangelical communities, and even longer since groups like Greenfaith began claiming that "God is green."
But fully twenty eight years ago, in April, 1981, a sermon on renewable energy was given by a very unlikely figure: the Lubavitcher Rebbe, the charismatic Hasidic leader who even after his death in 1994 was believed by many of his followers to be the Messiah.
The occasion was a little-known Jewish prayer called Birkat HaChamah in Hebrew, and is translated as the Blessing of the Sun. Most Jews don’t know about this prayer — it’s recited only one time every 28 years, when, according to the Talmud, the sun returns to the position it held when it was created. The prayer is next being said this Wednesday.
While this year, many ecologically-minded Jews plan to recite the blessing with much fanfare and celebration, back in 1981, few were even aware of it. Yet in a video which recently surfaced on YouTube, the Lubavitcher Rebbe used the occasion to advocate for developing solar energy, as well as exploiting domestic oil and coal reserves. In a Yiddish peppered with equal parts mystical symbolism and worldly understanding of global energy politics, the Rebbe argued that the United States must "overcome the subservience and the need to request other countries to provide these [energy] resources."