Leading Reform Movement Body Fights Climate Crisis Through Investment Strategies

April 9, 2024 - As humanity struggles to address the worsening climate crisis, the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), the largest denomination in North American Jewish life, has taken a landmark step to encourage positive climate action through the Movement's investment strategies. In a newly adopted resolution, the URJ has committed to "till and tend the earth," as the Book of Gensis teaches, by divesting the organization's pensions and investment plans from direct investment in fossil fuel companies; engaging in shareholder advocacy with companies adjacent to or supporting the fossil fuel industry; and adjusting holdings in mutual funds. The resolution also makes clear the URJ's commitment to redirecting investment into the development of renewable and clean energy solutions.

"Climate change's impacts are being felt in communities worldwide," said Jennifer Brodkey Kaufman, URJ North American Board Chair: "We have the ability and responsibility to use our dollars to make a positive difference on climate, rather than to continue funding investment in damaging fossil fuels. Through this resolution, which was crafted by the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism before being adopted by the URJ, we can build on decades of past action and advocacy on climate and socially responsible investing."

The URJ is proud to join other faith denominations, pension funds, and academic institutions in taking this vital step. The organization is also proud to have had the guidance of Dayenu, which is helping lead the Jewish community's efforts to use investments to drive climate solutions. This resolution builds on others the URJ has adopted throughout the decades to provide Jewish wisdom and inspirational guidance that will allow congregations and individuals to align their Jewish values and civic responsibilities - while recognizing that no congregation or congregant is bound by URJ resolutions.

"When we act together, we can help care for the earth as Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden. And we can care for our financial health, recognizing that fossil-free portfolios over time perform equal to or slightly better than those holding fossil fuels," said Rabbi Jonah Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.