Steward of God's Creation Award
The Steward of God?s Creation award is bestowed to those individuals who exhibit courage and commitment in the caring and keeping of the earth in a heroic, distinguished and effective manner. Awardees are determined by a vote of religious leaders and bestowed at a public event, normally the National Prayer Breakfast for Creation Care, which is sponsored annually by a coalition of religious organizations and affiliates.
Dr. Barak Gale, OD
Dr. Barak Gale left his professional career as an eye doctor to serve as a religious environmental leader and voice for forest protection both for the San Francisco Bay area and the national Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL). From 1997 until the present, Barak labored to save the old growth forests of the West Coast. He initially organized Jewish synagogues to help preserve Headwaters Forest in northern California; he then worked within the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life to pass the first formal declarations calling upon all people of the Jewish faith to protect America’s national forests from logging. In conjunction with a spectrum of religious leaders, he has lectured, developed insightful articles and widely promoted the importance of saving what is left of America’s once-great forest legacy. An ophthalmologist by profession, he says that he can do more to heal the vision of America by working to save its remaining forests than by working to save its citizens’ eyesight.
In a citation delivered by Rabbi Warren Stone at the National Prayer Breakfast for Religion and the Forests at the Willard Hotel in Washington, DC, the following citation was read:
To Barak Gale, who bound by Jewish spiritual tradition has been an untiring advocate for protecting and preserving the life of the forest, the care of species and has been a true guardian of the earth.
To Barak, who left his own career for further dedication to serve as a religious environmental leader and voice for the San Francisco Bay area and national area Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life.
To Barak, who has given his moral voice to the Campaign for Forest Conservation helping to bring about wilderness and roadless acts for future generations in America.
To Barak Gale, whose Hebrew name means lighting and serves as a lightning rod to others, leading others in Tu B’Svat Seders honoring trees and the forests and ultimately honoring his Creator.
To Barak, a person a great inner faith and a dear friend and a model of righteousness to us all,
We honor with a 2001 “Steward of the Forest” Award.