77-year-old UK rabbi arrested at London climate protest
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77-year-old UK rabbi arrested at London climate protest

‘We are in a period of enormous catastrophic breakdown,’ says Rabbi Jeffrey Newman, of the Finchley Reform Synagogue, who is taking part in Extinction Rebellion

Rabbi Jeffrey Newman, 77, is arrested during the Extinction Rebellion protest in London on October 14, 2019 (Screencapture/YouTube)
Rabbi Jeffrey Newman, 77, is arrested during the Extinction Rebellion protest in London on October 14, 2019 (Screencapture/YouTube)

A 77-year-old British rabbi was arrested and dragged away by London police on Monday while taking part in the Extinction Rebellion protests in the city.

Rabbi Jeffrey Newman, of the Finchley Reform Synagogue was part of a group of some 30 Jewish activists taking part in the eighth day of demonstrations to demand more urgent actions to counter global warming.

Newman, wearing a Jewish prayer shawl and waiving a lulav, the palm branch used in the Sukkot holiday ritual, knelt down and blocked a road.

“We are in a period of enormous catastrophic breakdown and, if it takes an arrest to try to find ways of helping to galvanize public opinion, then it is certainly worth being arrested,” Newman said before police took him away.

The rabbi refused a police request to accompany them and insisted they carry him away.

Extinction Rebellion activists have been protesting around the world for more than a week.

Last week British Prime Minister Boris Johnson appealed to the protesters to stop blocking London’s streets. He called the activists “uncooperative crusties” who should abandon their “hemp-smelling bivouacs.”

Founded in Britain last year, Extinction Rebellion has chapters in some 50 countries and wants to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2025.

 

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