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Jeffrey Levine
CFO | Seeking a just world I Author

Embracing Second Chances: Resilience in the Face of Adversity

As we delve into this week’s Torah reading, the concept of Pesach Sheini, or a second chance, feels profoundly relevant. In a world often overshadowed by doom and gloom, it serves as a poignant reminder that despite the hardships, there’s always an opportunity for renewal and making things right.

Second Chance

This week’s Torah reading features Pesach Sheini, a second chance to make things right. Despite the doom and gloom of war, propaganda, and blood libels, we have a second chance. This ties into the upcoming PLANETech event, which was initially scheduled for mid-October but now taking place this Tuesday in Tel Aviv.

Personal Reflections

I always seem to be on the wrong side of the “fence.”

  1. Born as a Jew: I was born a Jew in the post-Holocaust period and am subject to the effects of continued antisemitism. Even more so after October 7th!!
  2. South African Roots: I was born in South African Apartheid. My country was boycotted. South Africa’s painful transition has left millions in poverty and violence, and the country’s ongoing denial of Israel adds another layer of frustration.
  3. Aliyah to Israel: Making aliyah to Israel was a quest for belonging and purpose, yet Israel continues to face global judgment and exclusion. Israel is subject to anti-Zionism, anti-racism, anti-colonialism, BDS, and general pariah state status. It’s very sad to see this lack of due process, speculation, and no fact-checking, exemplified by the ban on Israeli participation at the Eurosatory 2024 defense and security event in Paris. Despite the event hosting deals with various regimes, Israeli companies are barred, highlighting a troubling hypocrisy. This exclusion reflects broader issues of anti-Zionism and unjust treatment of Israel on the international stage.

As reported in Globes.”’No Israelis allowed’: France stiffens anti-Israel stance.

Furthermore, the court ordered the exhibition organizers to display large signs at the entrance stating officially and prominently that Israeli companies, representatives, and agents may not enter. In the exhibition halls, African dictators will cut deals for receiving French protection through arms contracts in the billions of euros; Iranian representatives and agents on Iran’s behalf will roam freely; but Israel will be banned.”
Source: Globes

Embracing ESG

I have promoted the principles of ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) for quite a few years. ESG has come under fire and has faced obstacles due to political and monopolistic economic dynasties resisting change.

I published my first book, “Upgrading ESG: How Businesses Can Thrive in the Age of Sustainability,” just before October 7.

Introduction:

The “age of sustainability” reflects a growing recognition of the need to address pressing global challenges, such as climate change, global warming, resource depletion, social inequality, and environmental degradation. We are now in the age of sustainability. This transition will not be easy. It will require collective efforts to transition toward more sustainable practices in daily life and various industries. This involves adopting the UN SDGs and eco-friendly technologies, promoting responsible consumption, supporting ethical and fair business practices, and pursuing policies and initiatives that protect the planet’s natural resources and ecosystems. This book is primarily intended for business leaders, including CEOs, CFOs, and directors, but it is recommended for anyone concerned with creating a fairer and more sustainable world. For more information, you can visit Upgrading ESG.

Finding the Resilience to Move Ahead

Where do Israelis and I find the resilience to try again? Following past efforts to help Africa and other regions, we continue to push forward, helping people and leading in climate change technology. I believe this is in our DNA – based on the social covenant of our Bible and history – We believe in Tikkun Olam – repairing this broken world. Despite political and economic misalignments, we persevere because making the world a better place is ingrained in our psyche.

PLANETech World 2024

I am super excited to attend the Main Event of PLANETech World 2024, The Climate Tech Day, at the Jaffa Port in Tel Aviv on June 18th!

This year’s PLANETech World conference carries special significance. It is dedicated to accelerating the Israeli climate tech ecosystem and showcasing its resilience. Climate leaders, entrepreneurs, investors, policymakers, and academics will come together with a shared mission: to take climate tech to the next level and drive impactful change in the fight against climate change.

Link to my blog on the original Planetech Event in October 23.

https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/impactful-climate-change-technology-planetech-world-2023/

Commitment to ESG

Despite challenges, my commitment to ESG principles remains unwavering. Promoting ESG is about making the world a better place, a value deeply ingrained in Jewish and Israeli psyches. The establishment of the Arison ESG Chair at Tel Aviv University signifies a beacon of hope and continued leadership in climate change technology and social responsibility.

Arison Center for ESG

One of the featured events is the launch of the Climate Change Division at the Arison Center for ESG. PLANETech and the Arison Center will announce a unique collaboration to establish a Financial Forum for funding innovative climate technologies during the conference. This forum aims to create financial continuity that supports the maturation of innovative Israeli climate technologies and fosters dialogue among relevant stakeholders.

Arison Center’s vision for ESG: “To lead business companies to implement corporate governance and a business culture that integrates social and environmental considerations into the core of their activity, in cooperation with policymakers and enforcement, and with the developing trends in Israel and the world.”

Source: Reichman University

Moving Forward

In these challenging times, the Jewish and Israeli commitment to making the world a better place remains steadfast. The upcoming PLANETech conference and establishment of the Arison Centre for ESG are testaments to this enduring spirit. As we embrace the lessons of a troubled world, let’s take this second chance to make a meaningful impact on the world.

Thank you for reading. I invite you to reach out to me at Jeffrey@upgradingesg.com. Join us at the PLANETech World conference and participate in this transformative journey. Let’s work together to create a sustainable and equitable world for all.

A Final thought

This week’s Parsha reading includes the start of many complaints:

“וַיְהִ֤י הָעָם֙ כְּמִתְאֹ֣נְנִ֔ים רַ֖ע בְּאׇזְנֵ֣י יְהֹוָ֑ה וַיִּשְׁמַ֤ע יְהֹוָה֙ וַיִּ֣חַר אַפּ֔וֹ וַתִּבְעַר־בָּם֙ אֵ֣שׁ יְהֹוָ֔ה וַתֹּ֖אכַל בִּקְצֵ֥ה הַֽמַּחֲנֶֽה׃

The people took to complaining bitterly before יהוה. יהוה heard and was incensed: a fire of יהוה broke out against them, ravaging the outskirts of the camp.”

It is not clear what they were complaining about. Before October 7th, there were a lot of complaints, bad discourse and a lack of unity in Israel. Our focus was removed from creating a just society, and judicial reform became a battleground. Perhaps we should have chosen social justice and self-introspection. These  words, written in September 23 by  Rabbi Wilk of Yael Shul in Baka Jerusalem, are very telling:

“Dear Community Members,

We are at the end of a particularly raucous year, a year of fraternal discord, demonstrations, and clashing ideologies, while the winds of war continue to threaten all around. What will we pray for on Rosh Hashanah, and what will we beg for on Yom Kippur? The situation calls for prayers for peace and unity, but also prayers for national clarity, for peace that is not only quiet but also complete, and for unity that is not just political tolerance, but a unity of love. But we must be very careful to pray about ourselves and not about others –  for peace within me and unity within me- not for others to be in harmony and of one mind with me.

This is the key to it all: praying for self-improvement and not criticising others, stopping trying to fix the world, and excuse ourselves from the obligation to correct our own values. When we pray that evil empires disappear from the earth, let us focus on the kingdom within each one of us, on the heart that we seek to soften, and on the attitudes that we seek to open up.

This is how peace will come upon us and then upon the whole world. And we hope that God will also bring about peace on high so that, with His help, we can also achieve peace for ourselves.

May this be a good and blessed year.”

Shlomo Vilk

 

The featured image was created by Ai for my use, and I have the rights to use it in accordance with copyright law.

About the Author
Jeffrey is a CFO | Seeking a just world I Author -living in Jerusalem. He is a young grandfather who has five kids and seven grandchildren. Jeffrey is promoting a vision for a better and fairer world through https://upgradingesg.com and is the author of Upgrading ESG - How Business can thrive in the age of Sustainability
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