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From the Torah’s dietary laws to the modern Jewish synagogue dining culture, food and Jewish values have gone together for a long time. Food is often an integral part of Jewish experiences; eating meals and sharing kiddushes and onegs together shapes relationships that endure for decades. Social halls are not just places where we eat, but where we learn, pray, dance, sing, make friends, and forge Jewish identities. Food is also where a host of Jewish ethical concerns intersect.
We at Hazon are eager to partner with synagogues to offer programming that explores some of the most pressing and relevant ethical issues of our time through a Jewish lens: how farmed animals are treated in today’s industrialized food system, the carbon footprint of our food choices, food waste, and healthier meal options.
To that end we have created this easy-to-use guide to help you host a Green Kiddush. Our hope is that this foray into increasing animal awareness, exploring healthier options, and reducing animal product usage, waste, and your carbon footprint—all through a Jewish lens—will prove beneficial and will inspire further work in your congregation. Included in this guide are specific suggestions on how to schedule and promote a vegetarian Green Kiddush, a list of concrete ways to make it “green,” tips associated with each suggestion, and templates of educational signage. Ideally, the programming your synagogue does would eventually both teach Jewish values and lead to enacting these values in ethical food policies.
In Sum: Why Host a Green Kiddush at Your Synagogue?
- To align your practices with your Jewish values and have a lasting impact on the lives of farmed animals and on the world through your congregation’s actions
- To educate your community about more humane and sustainable choices we can make at our synagogues and at home every day
- To demonstrate to yourself and model to your community how easy it is to make these choices once you set your mind to it
- To inspire your community to make sustainable choices throughout the year
By hosting a Green Kiddush, you may find a couple of elements that become standard practice year-round. This guide is in its first iteration. We welcome your feedback and hope this guide can grow to be a forum for all Jewish organizations.
This guide was created thanks to a generous grant from the Emanuel J. Friedman Philanthropies. Much appreciation to Sarah Chandler and Aaron Gross, the Riverdale YMHA, Rachel Jacoby Rosenfield and Jessica Haller, the Riverdale Green Team, Judith Belasco, and Nigel Savage.
If/when you hold a Green Kiddush, if you have questions about Hazon’s work, or suggestions for this Guide, please email Hazon’s Jewish Food Education Staff at email@example.com. We look forward to hearing from you.