Bat Yam celebrates its unique relationship with Sanibel Congregational United Church of Christ, our synagogue home for over 25 years.  In addition to an annual pulpit exchange, Rabbi Fuchs co-teaches classes with Dr. John Danner, Senior Pastor of the Church.  Our two congregations have become a larger family of faith.  We are proud of this wonderful interfaith relation.



From the Green Team

The Green Team is an official committee of Sanibel Congregational UCC dedicated to helping the congregation keep the church covenant, which says in part, “We will serve and support each other and do all we can to protect as well the birds, animals and plants on this fragile barrier island.” Congregants from Bat Yam work on the Green Team’s programs, and more are welcome to engage in educational and advocacy efforts.

Jean Chandler of SCUCC’s Green Team submitted an excerpt from an April 13, 2020, New Yorker article by Kate Brown, “The Pandemic Is not a Natural Disaster.” ( below are some of the article’s salient points.

COVID-19 is an ecological disaster, as well as a public health crisis. The interconnectedness of our biological lives is pushing us to reconsider our understanding of the natural world.


Our picture of the human body is shifting, too. It seems less like a self-contained vessel, defined by one’s genetic code and ruled by a brain, than like a microbial ecosystem swept along in atmospheric currents, harvesting gases, bacteria, phages, fungal spores, and airborne toxins in its nets.

Infectious diseases are only one aspect of a larger, ongoing health emergency. Two-thirds of cancers have their origins in environmental toxins, accounting for millions of annual fatalities; annually 4.2 million people die from complications of respiratory illnesses caused by airborne toxins – 45,000 in the U.S. alone. Pollution from the shutdown of factories in Wuhan has been shown to have saved between 51,000-73,000 lives in China – twenty times more people than the virus has killed in Hubei province as of March 8.

This is an occasion for thinking in broad terms – pesticides from tropical banana plantations end up in Lake Superior. The air helps pollinate our plants; it also transports radioactive particles, fungal spores, bacteria and viruses. The quality of our air matters; reducing pollution in Manhattan by just one unit of particulate matter could have saved hundreds of lives.

Self-isolation is key if we are to stop the pandemic. Isolation is in itself an acknowledgement of our deep integration with our surroundings. Ms. Brown ends by saying, “To fully respond to what’s happened, we need to reflect on the worldwide ecological networks that bind all of us together.” 

Celebrating Earth Day’s 50th

Riv Swartz and Rabbi Fuchs attended (virtually) an event of “Together a Way Forward,” a unique organization honoring Earth Day. Riv’s report follows:

“Together a Way Forward” is dedicated to nurturing and improving the environment as part of a local interfaith initiative. Six houses of worship from the islands, including Bat Yam, joined together to celebrate and care for our planet, Earth.

Wednesday, April 22, marked the historic anniversary of the first Earth Day, which took place in 1970. The Together group wished to commemorate this 50-year achievement by bringing the people of the islands together in celebration. However, the emergence of the coronavirus
necessitated a change of plans.

Instead the Together group created a meaningful collection of readings entitled “HONORING EARTH TOGETHER 2020.” Rabbi Fuchs entered a meaningful contribution to this endeavor. If you wish to be inspired by these readings, please email to request a copy.