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WATCH: Lulav-Wielding 77-Year-Old Rabbi Dragged Away By Police At Climate Protest

A 77-year-old rabbi protesting in London on Monday was arrested and dragged away from the protest by police.

Rabbi Jeffrey Newman was among dozens of Jewish protesters demonstrating in the streets outside the house of the Lord Mayor of London, the Jewish News reported. The group, affiliated with the Extinction Rebellion movement, was protesting what they see as governmental and corporate responsibility for climate change and their failure to properly address it.

Newman, who was wearing a kippah and tallit and holding a lulav and etrog – ceremonial plants used to commemorate the current Jewish holiday of Sukkot – was arrested by police for sitting in the middle of the road. After refusing to move, he was dragged away into a police van.

Newman led a Shacharit morning prayer service, and protesters sang Jewish songs and held signs stating “Conservation is a mitzvah,” according to local reports.

Newman, the emeritus rabbi of Finchley Reform Synagogue, told the Jewish News that his and Extinction Rebellion’s actions were reflecting Jewish values. “The highest principle is the saving of life, pikuach nefesh,” he said.

Newman told the Evening Standard that his temple wasn’t connected to his actions. “I haven’t tried to involve the synagogue, because if you are asking for permission, you might not get it,” he said. “”I think it’s much more important to do what I’m doing, and they can approve or not approve at a later date.”

But it appears Newman’s fears were unfounded – a post praising Newman was shared on Finchley Reform’s Facebook page.

Aiden Pink is the deputy news editor of the Forward. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @aidenpink

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