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Bar mitzvah pursues climate recovery from his African-American heritage, and studied with Rabbi David Zaslow, Rabbi Elizabeth Dunsker and others. He also prepared and rehearsed with his family. Isaac’s dad, Rob, with his guitar co-led with Isaac and Rabbi David. As his mom and a maggidah, I helped him prepare and joined him on the bimah. Miko added her lovely voice and served as the gabbai for Isaac’s beautiful, awesome Shabbaton. It marked the culmination of more than two years of mitzvah work on climate change and the beginning of his work on climate recovery.

By Maggidah Pam Vergun

Isaac Vergun knew about climate change before meeting Bill McKibben – co-founder of 350.org and author of Oil and Honey: The Education of an Unlikely Activist – in front of 400 people in Vancouver, WA. When Isaac asked Bill, “Do you think that an 11-year-old like me with a supportive family could get a local city like Beaverton, OR, to join your divestment campaign?” Isaac’s bar mitzvah project was born. That day he took a huge step toward becoming a young leader in the struggle to stop climate change. Isaac had already surveyed and used statistics to see whether figuring out your carbon footprint might increase your knowledge of climate change – all for his 5th-grade science project. (Miko, his sister, has also been working on climate change and was featured in an Isaac Vergun, Mayor Denny Doyle and Miko OJL article in April 2014.) Vergun at the Beaverton City Council Meet-

Since meeting Bill McKibben, Isaac has jumped at opportunities to protect his own – and our – future. Through 350’s Fossil Free Divestment Campaign, he began working with the city of Beaverton to fully divest from the fossil fuel and nuclear power industries. In preparation, he analyzed the current climate situation and prepared a petition as part of his environmental ing where the siblings spoke about climate Isaac, a member of Congregation P’nai Or innovation science project. After meeting change. Photos by Pam Vergun Jewish Renewal of Portland and Kol Ami with financial advisors, gathering more of Vancouver, celebrated his bar mitzvah than 400 signatures from as far away as the this past May 8 and 9. He studied the melodies of both conU.K. and Japan, and meeting with Beaverton’s Finance Departgregations, added clarinet and drumming, wove in prayer songs ment, on June 2 Isaac spoke before Mayor Denny Doyle and the

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Profile for JewishLifeMagazine

Oregon Jewish Life October 2015 Vol 4/Issue 7  

Andrea White brings dual perspective to play. Explore hidden history in Oregon. Holocaust and slave testimonies. Film recaptures life in Vil...

Oregon Jewish Life October 2015 Vol 4/Issue 7  

Andrea White brings dual perspective to play. Explore hidden history in Oregon. Holocaust and slave testimonies. Film recaptures life in Vil...

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