Rabbi Daniel Swartz is the executive director of the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL), a Jewish Council for Public Affairs program that has engaged Jewish organizations and individuals in environmental advocacy and programs for more than 25 years. He has also held leadership positions with Greater Washington Interfaith Power and Light, the National Religious Partnership for the Environment, the Children’s Environmental Health Network and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. He was recently one of 40 faith leaders from around the world who took part in a Vatican-led effort to promote Climate Justice, “Faith and Science: Toward COP 26.” Under the leadership of Pope Francis, this group met at the Vatican on Oct. 4, 2021, and issued an interfaith Appeal to the countries that were to gather at COP26 for climate negotiations. Rabbi Swartz has explored connections between faith and environmental values in a variety of publications. He is the author of numerous environmental op-eds in media ranging from CNN to The Hill to The Washington Post. He authored To Till and to Tend: A Guide for Jewish Environmental Study and Action, distributed to every synagogue in America. He wrote “Faith Communities and Environmental Health: From Global to Local,” which won the 2005 Award for Excellence in Professional and Scholarly Publishing from the Association of American Publishers. Rabbi Swartz was ordained by Hebrew Union College and earned bachelor degrees from Brown University in geological sciences and in environmental policy. He is the recipient of numerous academic and civic honors.
He has served as the spiritual leader of Temple Hesed since August 1, 2006. At Temple Hesed, he has helped in a resurgence of both breadth of membership and depth of activities, including a national award-winning outreach program, a food drive that collected more food than a Lackawanna County-wide food drive had a few weeks prior, and Purim shpiel productions known throughout the community for their combination of humor and social commentary.
Rabbi Swartz loves Talmud Torah, the teaching of Jewish traditions, history, and thought. At Temple Hesed, he has taught a variety of adult classes, including an upcoming adult b’nai mitzvah program. Most Shabbat services include discussions about the Torah or key prayers. He has also instituted a comprehensive family education program, which brings parents of all our religious school families together with their children three times a year for learning around issues ranging from “the search for God” to “Hunger and Poverty.”
He is married to Rabbi Marjorie Berman and father to Alana Swartz.
February 27th, 2023 | Season 1 | 58 mins 16 secs
Rabbi Daniel Swartz, the director of the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, talks about the philosophical and theological questions he’s wrestled with as he’s marshaled his energies toward activism. He demonstrates his philosophy in action, recalling a 2021 gathering of global religious leaders at the Vatican in which participants shaped an important statement on Climate Change. And he shares his impressions of meeting Pope Francis.