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ARC, 3iG and partnerships

Rabbi Daniel Sperber at Lambeth, 2005:

My involvement with ARC, and subsequently with 3iG, came about to a certain extent by chance.

Professor Arthur Hertzberg, one of the founder members of ARC, asked me to fill in for him at the meeting in Kathmandu and to read his paper.

I willingly concurred, and when I arrived at Kathmandu I found myself in the company not only of Christian Priests and Sisters and Muslim Clerics, but of Zoroastrians, Buddhists, Daooists, Shintos, Hindus and Sikhs etc.

The theological distance between an orthodox Jewish Rabbi and a Zoroastrian or Sikh is surely immense. Yet I have never felt such a feeling of amity, of what one might term “brethrenhood”, as I did in Kathmandu.

"And to ensure this future for subsequent generations we must take a stand and act decisively to minimise the damage we are doing to what constitutes our only home. Our various faith traditions clearly share the view that we are stewards in God’s world, not owners and masters thereof."
For there was a complete unity of purpose which cut across ideological and political differences. We all were keenly cognisant of the fact that all of us live on the same small planet, and we all want our children and grandchildren also to be able to do so.

And to ensure this future for subsequent generations we must take a stand and act decisively to minimise the damage we are doing to what constitutes our only home. Our various faith traditions clearly share the view that we are stewards in God’s world, not owners and masters thereof.

We are mandated le-ovdah u-le-shomiah, “to tend it and look after it” (Genesis 2 verse 15) and our responsibility is far-reaching. It is not only that we must avoid directly polluting our rivers, lakes and atmosphere and so forth.

We must also take full responsibility for all our assets, must become knowledgeable of what our investments are actually doing, whether they are being used with harmful results, or whether we can proactively harness them for the betterment of humanity.

Hence, I felt it my obligation to seek to persuade friends, investors and fund managers upon whom I have some influence to examine their portfolios and reconsider them so that they conformed to certain ethical principles. But a single individual can have little effect, and the challenge is immense.

To have real impact one must work in concert with others, and who better than the faith groups who control vast funds and share common ethical ideals, and therefore constitute the logical partners for an alliance towards shared goals.

There is so much mutual understanding and respect among us that religious and cultural barriers simply dissolve when we are together. Together we have the will and the power to stride forward in what I firmly believe to be a holy task, in Hebrew called Tikkun olan, meaning, to rectify faults in order to make the world a better place in which to live for many generations to come. I hope and pray that together with you all I may play a small role in walking the sacred path.



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