A Prophetic Voice in Jewish, Multireligious, and American Life
4 Jewish Summer Camps Sell "Fracking Rights"
That Endanger Drinking Water, Food, Health, & Climate
The Forward, the leading national Jewish weekly, has just reported that four
Jewish summer camps in Pennsylvania have signed leases with gas exploration
companies to allow "fracking" — the hydro-fracturing method of pouring
tons of highly chemicalized water to smash shale rocks into releasing
The four are Starlight's Perlman Camp, which is owned and operated by B'nai
B'rith; Camps Nesher and Shoshanim, which share a property in Lakewood and
are owned and operated by the New Jersey Federation of YMHA and YWHA; and
Camp Morasha, an independent camp in Lakewood.
The Forward reports that "Fracking of a single well creates more than 1
million gallons of wastewater awash in pollutants, including some
radioactive materials. According to a February report in The New York
Times, state and federal documents show that the wastewater is sometimes
hauled to sewage plants not designed to treat it and then discharged into
rivers that supply drinking water."
The Shalom Center views it as a profound violation of Jewish wisdom and
values for summer camps or other Jewish institutions to sell the rights to
use their land in ways that will poison God's and humanity's earth, air,
food, and water. See below for actions you can take to halt this.
Normal Federal protections for drinking water and clean air have been
thwarted by the Halliburton Loophole pushed through Congress by former
Vice-President Dick Cheney. It prevents application of these protective
rules to drilling by the gas and oil industries. As a result, no one knows
what chemicals are causing the dangers to water, food, and health that are
appearing in fracking areas.
Fracking has turned the drinking water of farmers near well-heads into
"water" that turns to flame when a match is lit at the kitchen faucets.
Fracking threatens the drinking water supply of the Philadelphia and New
York City metropolitan areas, and has been charged with raising cancer
rates in communities near fracking sites.
Fracking is also a planetary threat. Scientists at Cornell University have
analyzed fracking and report that it leaks methane, a planet-heating gas
much more powerful than CO2, at such a rate that "if you do an integration
of 20 years following the development of the gas, [fracking] shale gas is
worse than conventional gas and is, in fact, worse than coal and worse than
On September 7-8, the national commercial association of companies that are
fracking shale rock regions will gather for a national convention in
So environmental organizations are planning to face the "Fracking
Association" with major demonstrations on September 7-8. The goal is at
least 2500 demonstrators, with a rally, a march, a counter-conference, a
"Blessing of the Waters," and a free outdoor concert.
The Shalom Center is taking the lead in bringing together an interfaith
planning committee to put together a "Blessing of the Waters" as part of the
Sept 7-8 arrangements.
We invite religious folk, clergy and lay, who want to take part in these
events to get in touch with us by writing Rabbi Arthur Waskow at
[email protected] with "Interfaith Blessing Waters" in the subject
The two-day anti-fracking event will include: a large rally at the
Philadelphia Convention Center from 8 am to noon, Wednesday September 7; a
march through Philadelphia to Gov Corbett's office that day; interfaith
"Blessing of the Waters" at Penn's Treaty Park on the Delaware River at 6
pm; an open-air free concert at 7 pm there; and on Thursday, an all-day
conference to plan strategy to stop fracking.
Fracking is currently under a moratorium in New York, but Gov. Cuomo has
indicated he may end the ban. New Jersey has just outlawed it, Wells have
been drilled in parts of Pennsylvania. The Delaware River Port Authority has
imposed a moratorium that may expire in September.
What you can do to stop fracking:
. Call your child's summer camp to urge they NOT OK any leases or plans
that might allow fracking.
. Call B'nai Brith/ BBYO at 202/857-6580 for Matther Grossman (Exec Dir)
and YM-YWHA / Jewish Community Centers Assn at 212/ 532-4949 for Allan
Finkelstein (CEO) and urge them to cancel the fracking leases of their
. Sign a petition for a national ban on fracking at
. If you live in NYS, call Gov Cuomo at 518/ 474-8390 and tell him to ban
fracking throughout New York State. In Pennsylvania, call Gov. Corbett at
717/ 787-2500 with the same demand.
. Call your members of Congress and tell them to pass the FRAC Act to
repeal the "Cheney-Halliburton" exemption for hydrofracking from
. Show the documentary film Gasland in your community. It documents the
dangers of fracking. To
S7MinF1j%2BdKRgq> get a DVD copy, click here.
PSnF1j%2BdKRgq> Save the dates of September 7-8 to attend the interfaith
events on fracking in Philadelphia. Click here for more information.
rinF1j%2BdKRgq> our article here for background.
. For the full Forward article, click
Prepare to use Shabbat Noach, October 28-29, when Jews read the biblical
story of the Flood, the Ark, and the Rainbow, as a time to address fracking
and other threats to our planet, and act to heal our Earth in the spirit of
Please feel free to forward this message to thers. To help The Shalom Center
work to heal the Earth,
please make a (tax-deductible) donation by clicking on our logo, below!
Blessings of shalom, salaam, peace, and healing — Arthur