So, Rosh Hashanah is over for another year and all the elements were there that should have been. Shofar, apple, honey, great tunes, good food, friends and family, tashlich and tshuvah. Topped off with the discovery that we now have a new Prime Minister – Malcolm Turnbull – and new hope for serious climate action in Australia (although the first signs indicate that hope may be very quickly dashed). Our Rosh Hashanah meals were fun and lively and covered a wide array of conversation – shule politics, home renovations, gay rights etc, but it is only now that I realize that I didn’t once indulge in my favorite topic of conversation. In fact I realize that I venture into that arena very rarely over Shabbat or Yom Tov meals. In speculating why, the most obvious answer is that the conversation simply doesn’t go in that direction. Social norms dictate that conversations flow from one subject to another naturally and seamlessly. I love talking about climate change and I love hearing what other people think of it. I don’t, of course, love climate change. I do see it as an interesting conversation. And I do love persuading people that it is real and threatening. However, it would be socially quite weird to introduce it into the conversation without any relevant prequel and I may find myself without any more dinner invitations.
But there are many more Chaggim to come, following by endless Shabbats (please God) and so I now set myself the challenge to subtly steer the conversation in the direction of climate change during each meal we share with friends.