Blow that Shofar: Gearing up Towards the High Holidays

With the High Holiday around the corner, we want to make sure you are also geared up and ready for a meaningful and sustainable Jewish New Year. Once again, we bring you a well-curated bouquet of resources and calls for actions. Whether you are starting or continuing your sustainability journey, we encourage you to consider the ideas below to help you lead for change in your personal and communal lives.


Education: High Holidays Resource Packet

We are excited to share a wonderful resource with you from our friends at the Jewish Climate Action Network NYC:

click here to download

This educational and informational packet includes a suggested sermon, prayers, and creative readings, as well as the basics about the climate crisis.

Highlights of what you’ll find in this resource and ideas of how to bring them to your community:

  • Learn about how climate change is affecting the world by reading the fact sheet on climate change with your family and friends!
  • Read and discuss the essay entitled Religion and Environmental Responsibility: An Address to Jews and Christians by Rabbi Dr. Art Green to learn how Jewish values and sustainability intersect.
  • Take action by performing any and all of the tasks set out in the Action Steps for High Holidays and Sukkot flyer
  • Encourage your Rabbi and High holiday team to build out a study session during the break on Yom Kippur using any of these commentaries (two by Ben Orlove), or Hody Nemes’s Six Biblical Values for an Age of Climate Crisis.
  • Use the Tashlich texts during the Tashlich service.

Please consider sharing this resource with your Rabbi and High Holiday committee and urge them to learn about the importance of sustainability and how it connects to Judaism. In addition, consider using these materials in your more immediate circles, family and friends!


Education 2: Food Waste Weekend (Sept 6-8, 2019)

Did you know that 50% of produce in the US is never consumed? Globally, “a third of the food raised or prepared does not make it from farm or factory to fork. Producing uneaten food squanders a whole host of resources—seeds, water, energy, land, fertilizer, hours of labor, financial capital—and generates greenhouse gases at every stage—including methane when organic matter lands in the global rubbish bin. The food we waste is responsible for roughly 8 percent of global emissions”. (from:Project Drawdown)

Food Waste Weekend is a shared opportunity for clergy of all faiths to give a sermon on food waste and hunger. Go to and click on “Sermons” for all of the resources you need for giving a great sermon. Share this with your faith leaders and with your interfaith counterparts!


Action: Starting Clean with Sustainable High Holidays

“In the sanctuary we hear about doing all these mitzvot [Torah Commandments], but then we go to kiddush next door and we defy the mitzvot, we do the opposite.” – Rabbi Valerie Lieber, Director of Education & Family Programming, Kane Street Synagogue (Brooklyn, NY).

This is a great time of year to commit or recommit yourself to living and promoting a sustainable way of life. As Shomrei Adamah, guardians of the earth, we are entrusted with a precious gift. What kind of a celebration disregards the system that enables our very existence? How can you demonstrate gratitude at the start of this new year?

If you are interested in engaging your Jewish community to become more sustainable, see if your organization is part of the Hazon Seal of Sustainability! If it is, inquire about joining the green team. If they are not a part of it yet, consider creating a green team and joining! Check out our website here!

The Hazon Seal is a great way to get people in your community to start thinking about sustainability. Here are some tips and inspiration to start making sustainability part of your life and part of the lives of your Jewish community.

  • It can be done! We organized a conference for 570 people without using plastic. Here’s how it went– We strongly encourage all individuals interested in sustainability read this article. They offer amazing, practical lessons from a plastic free conference that you can use for future events. Plastic is truly everywhere and it’s up to us to break the cycle. Another relevant and interesting read along these lines is this one: You could be swallowing a credit card’s weight in plastic every week.
  • Are you planning a Bar or Bat Mitzvah? Maybe you are simply planning a Shabbat dinner at your house. Check out these inspiring lessons from greening kiddushes at Kane Street Synagogue in Brooklyn, NY to see how you can integrate sustainability into your next event.
  • More sustainability tips and ideas for activities and rituals can be found in Hazon’s Holiday Resources: Rosh HashanahYom Kippur. These resources provide ideas for fun activities to do with your family or with your larger Jewish community.
  • Check out our greening resources page to see more resources on various aspects of sustainability such as gardening and waste.
  • We have even more resources available on our Hazon Seal resource bank. Have your organization join the Hazon Seal of Sustainability to get full access to hundreds of sustainability related resources!

Have questions about the Hazon Seal? Reach out the us at!


Advocacy: A Call for Climate Action on Sept 20th

This is an excellent opportunity to get your family and community engaged in sustainability work and environmental advocacy:

In case you missed it, sixteen-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg has been taking the world by storm in her brave fight against Climate Change, and the prevailing inaction by governments worldwide. She is most famous for starting “Fridays for Future,” an international movement that has inspired hundreds of thousands of students to ditch school on Fridays in protest, demanding governments to wake up and protect their future. Her campaign has reached hundreds of countries, and she’s been featured in interviews and stories all over the world (which she typically attends via video chat to avoid flying). Check out her TED talk here.

The Climate Action Summit of 2019 will be on September 23, and Greta is calling for all adults and youth to join the latest strike by walking out of work before the event. The walk-out will be on Friday, September 20. The aim of the strike is to inspire change and awareness, and we have no time to waste. Consider inviting your community to join Greta in this strike for our future.

“We’re asking adults to step up alongside us … today, so many of our parents are busy discussing whether our grades are good, or a new diet or the Game of Thrones finale – whilst the planet burns,” they write. “But to change everything, we need everyone. It is time for all of us to unleash mass resistance … if we [demand change] in numbers we have a chance.” – Greta Thunberg

 Click HERE to read more.


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