Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Sharon Shapiro-Lacks on Banning Plastic Straws

The issue of plastic straws is one that is very topical at this time. For environmental reasons, there are various places in the world -- including, in the U.S., the city of Seattle -- which are banning them. On one level, such undertakings raise the halachic issue of what we should do in response to environmental concerns -- a true Torah topic that is, often, not considered. On this level alone, we should know of this issue.

In this particular case, though, there is a further Torah issue of, perhaps, greater magnitude, as this ban impacts negatively on many disabled individuals who need such straws in order to efficiently consume liquids. Even in our pursuit of good undertakings, we must always consider how such actions may impact on other human beings. This is the sensitivity that is demanded of us by such mitzvot as V'ahavta l'rei'cha kemocha, [Love your neighbour as yourself]. The call of Torah is always to see all sides.

It is, in this regard, that we invite you to watch this video from Sharon Shapiro-Lacks the Executive Director of Yad Hachazakah-JDEC  


Yad Hachazakah-JDEC is, of course, an organization with which Nishma has a close connection in that I serve as its Rabbinic advisor. (It should be noted that Sharon is also the wife of Nishma's U.S. Coordinator, Wayne Lacks.)

Rabbi Ben Hecht

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