Navigate to News section

Climate Change, Sure, but What About My Schmear?

All these studies about arctic sheets and rising sea levels have me freaking about about my favorite Jewish locales, which may eventually be submerged

Raquel Wildes
May 13, 2016
Arctic Ocean at 85°41‘N, 135°39‘E (polar ice limit), August 2014. Wikimedia
Arctic Ocean at 85°41‘N, 135°39‘E (polar ice limit), August 2014. Wikimedia

I’ve been thinking a lot about climate change lately, and it’s got me feeling cloudy. Take this a study, for example, which says that sea levels could nearly double over previous estimates over the next 100 years; or these related articles about the “unstoppable ice collapse” in Antarctica if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise; or this recently updated New York Times infographic showing which low-lying American cities “could disappear.” Apparently, New York, Boston, Miami—all areas with large Jewish populations—could eventually be submerged in water. And I. Am. Freaking. Out.

Where will I get my bagels? What will happen to all of the silver Judaica, brought over from Eastern Europe and housed in Miami’s Tower 41? And what about the Jewish academics in the ivory, ivy-covered towers? Who will then hear their important, fact-checked opinions, which need to be heard. And what about my lox and cream cheese? Where I get my slivers of wonderful, dill-sprinkled fish slices if Russ & Daughters takes a dive?

Will all the Borscht Belt memories of my heritage be drowned alongside Miami’s nightclubs? Speaking of, where will I go for Passover? Do you really expect my family to look for the afikomen on a ship!? It’s going to be hard to train a generation of doctors and lawyers to build a three-story ark. Jewish men are not known for being handy.

And for all of those climate change deniers out there (blessed be you), expecting to remain dry and tanned, it’s time for a reality check. If these studies don’t get your antennae’s attention, then surely you’ve seen Evan Almighty, right? Well, spoiler alert from Genesis 7:11, it rained. A lot. And then in rained some more. So get out your hammers and gopher wood, stock up on your favorite babka, bagels, and cold cuts. It may be time to follow Noah’s lead and start construction on your 450,000 square cubits ark. Your Jewish world may depend on it.

Raquel Wildes, a graduate student at Columbia Journalism School, is an Audio Consultant at Tablet.