Rise to the Challenge – Every Month!

To start off the secular new year with sustainability in mind, the Hazon Seal launched its first monthly sustainability challenge! Open to everyone, participants are given the opportunity to challenge themselves to bring sustainability into their lives in engaging, creative ways.

The monthly challenge demonstrates a range of simple projects to integrate environmental practices and values in individuals’ lives; achievable for sustainability beginners and experts alike! The topics include a range of environmental issues tied to Jewish learning and holidays — for example, January’s challenge encouraged participants to upcycle plastic containers into planters in celebration of Tu b’Shvat, the Jewish New Year for trees, with the aim of reducing waste that piles up in landfills.

In addition to being eligible to win fun prizes, like a vintage Hazon t-shirt, reusable Hazon bottles, or delicious jam from the Adamah Farm at Isabella Freedman, participants get a glimpse into how Jewish values and sustainability intersect in their lives. They also then have a platform through which they can share these learnings with those in their social networks and work together to complete the challenges. The outcomes aim to be multi-fold: diverse networks learn about sustainability, sustainability is put into action, and the culture around how we consume, waste, and impact our environment begins to shift.

Spreading the sustainable word has never been so easy! Be a part of the sustainable surge. Keep an eye open for the monthly sustainability challenge and post your own creative piece by tagging Hazon and using the hashtags #sealchallenge #hazonseal.

How to participate:

– Post publicly on your Facebook/Instagram profile and tag Hazon OR post your photo entry in the comments of the post; email submissions welcomed at seal@hazon.org

– Tag 1 friend to do the challenge next

– Use the hashtags #sealchallenge #hazonseal

– Extra points for creativity!

Explore below the creative projects — and winners — of our monthly sustainability challenges!

January Sustainability Challenge

The January Sustainability Challenge gave participants the option to upcycle — re-purpose — items in their lives, whether it was transforming plastic bottles into bird feeders or re-fashioning plastic containers into office supply holders. This gave participants the opportunity to be creative in terms of how they can re-purpose existing items into useful new items, rather than purchasing new materials.

Kol Hakavod to the January Sustainability Challenge winners featured above — students from Ben Porat Yosef in New Jersey — showcasing their upcycled menorah crafted primarily from plastic bottles.

The project submitted above showcases plastic bottles that were creatively upcycled into planters.

One challenge participant explained how she took a newspaper stand and transformed it into a compost drop-off bin in her local neighborhood to encourage passersby to “think outside of the box”!

February Sustainability Challenge

The February Sustainability Challenge had Purim in mind, asking participants to think about how they can make their holiday more sustainable. Ideas included using sustainable jam and ingredients when baking hamantaschen, or creating upcycled Mishloach Manot (Purim baskets).

Mazal Tov to our two February sustainability challenge winners:

Amanda Lindner


Debra Fricano!

They each baked sustainable hamantaschen in honor of a more sustainable Purim celebration: Amanda made vegan hamantaschen and Debra used higher-welfare eggs and Adamah Farm & Fellowship jam. They have each won their own jars of Adamah jam!












March Sustainability Challenge

Want a chance at winning a Hazon lunch bag next month?

We’re excited to announce our March sustainability challenge:

Sustainable Passover Celebration!

To enter:

– Post a photo publicly on your Facebook or Instagram profile and tag Hazon

– Tag 1 friend to do the challenge next

– Use the hashtags #sealchallenge #hazonseal

– Extra points for creativity!

Looking for some examples? Think about making a vegetarian or vegan seder, or using higher-welfare eggs or sustainably sourced meat this holiday. For more inspiration, visit Hazon’s Passover page here or download our higher welfare egg Haggadah supplement to use at your seder.

April & May Omer Challenge

Sefirat Ha’Omer — the counting of the Omer — is rooted in the Biblical mitzvah of counting the 49 days between Passover and Shavuot. In anticipation of the giving of the Torah, the Omer, according to Kabbalistic interpretation, is a time to reflect and pursue inner growth.

At Hazon we’re reflecting on the inner growth that can flourish out of sustainable living. And we can all start with the Hazon Seal of Sustainability April & May Omer Challenge! We’ve teamed up with The Bayit on their Post-Pesach Plastic Purge Challenge to bring you exciting weekly challenges throughout the counting of the Omer.  

Read below the weekly challenges with these instructions for posting:

How to participate:

– Post a public photo of the challenge you’ve completed

– Tag 1 friend to do the challenge next

– Use the hashtags #sealchallenge #hazonseal

– Join the Bayit’s challenge here: https://www.thebayit.org/plastic

(April 1- 7) Week 1 focuses on Chesed – kindness and the absence of boundaries.

What does it mean to show kindness to the earth and all its inhabitants? The first week of the omer is Pesach. It’s a time of celebration. We count with love, not with heaviness. Pesach is chag ha’aviv, the festival of spring. Use this moment of spring to reconnect with a place that you love, and be inspired – “hiddur mitzvah” – to start to beautify our world…

CHALLENGE: Did you know that New Yorkers use a whopping 23 billion plastic bags … each year? Show your love and kindness for the environment by bagging the plastic for reusable bags.

(April 8-14) Week 2 focuses on Gevurah – discipline and boundaries.

This week begins as Pesach goes out. We’ve celebrated and we’ve been free – and perhaps we’ve eaten too much. Now we put away our Pesach dishes, and we bring back our chametz. But as we do that – let’s do it healthily. So, first – just chuck out the things that actually aren’t healthy, or don’t replace them. Sauces and things with too much sugar and additives. In the words of one of the rabbis: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” And secondly – The Great Pacific Garbage Patch – growing and doing damage every day – is fed by the plastic bottles that we use for 30 minutes (if that) and which take a century or more to dissolve.

CHALLENGE: We’re inspired by The Bayit on their Post-Pesach Plastic Purge Challenge. Just quit plastic bottles. Soda and fizzy water. You can do it. You’ll be healthier. You’ll save money. Get a Sodastream. Post a photo of how you’re quitting plastic! 

(April 15-21) Week 3 focuses on Tiferet – compassion and balance.

CHALLENGE: balance your week with a sustainable activity – drop off your food waste at a composting location, or offset your carbon emissions in the garden!

Share your awareness and practice with others. But do it in a nice balanced way. Find a way to gently encourage the people you love, live with, work with, to give up or take on practices that help create a healthier and more sustainable world.

(April 22-28) Week 4 focuses on Netzach – endurance.

Keep going!

CHALLENGE: Go an extra 20 minutes. Do you #bike? If not, try going for a gentle 2-mile ride; if you do, ramp it up a bit. Join us Labor Day Weekend for bike rides in the Berkshires and Shabbat at Isabella Freedman. hazon.org/ride

(April 29-May 5) Week 5 focuses on Hod – humility, simplicity, beauty.

CHALLENGE: Purchase in bulk to reduce packaging. Less is more! This may be a week for trying to live more simply in some way. Giving some things to goodwill? Clearing out a closet? Look around at what you may have accumulated to feel “better.” Can we use an aesthetic, a sense of beauty and simplicity to inspire us for positive change?

(May 6-May 12) Week 6 focuses on Yesod – fundamentals.

CHALLENGE: It’s time to compost! In thinking about fundamentals, what other than food waste comes to mind? It’s fundamental to the western world we live in. But so…wasteful. Consider the long-term effects of the waste we can avoid putting into landfills.

(May 13-May 19) Week 7 – last week of the Omer – focuses on Malchut – leadership.

CHALLENGE: Be a leader in your home; with friends; at work. Encourage others to reduce – reuse – recycle. Purchase fewer items this week, or upcycle an old item. The last week of the Omer is the lead-up to Shavuot. We’re about to receive the Torah. Take a stand. Malchut is about paying it forwards. We each have the ability to help lead our institutions in sustainability.

June Sustainability Challenge

Summer is here, so there’s no better time than now to get outside, get healthy, and get connected to an incredible community of cyclists.

CHALLENGE: We’ll make this one easy for you! Get out on your bike in June and snap a photo of yourself – wearing a helmet, of course!

To enter:
– Post a photo on Facebook or Instagram of you on your bike with #sealchallenge #hazonseal #peopleofthebike and tag @hazonvision
– Tag at least 2 friends to do the challenge next
– Most creative photo will win Hazon swag! (Jewish themes encouraged)

July Sustainability Challenge

The Nine Days leading to Tisha B’Av, the day commemorating the destructions of both temples and other tragedies of the Jewish people, are traditionally days of mourning, during which we abstain from eating meat, among other restrictions.

With this theme, our monthly Seal Challenge is to take this opportunity to contemplate your dietary choices.

Think about what was available for people to eat decades ago, and the abundance of our menu today. Think about tragedies that befall not only on the Jewish people and the human race but also other species and the Earth which we all share. And, think about what you can do so as not to contribute to the hurtful practices of modern-day agriculture and to support animal welfare.

Join our challenge. Here are a few options for you to participate:

1. LEARN: See resources here. Comment on our Facebook post with something you learned, an intention for the following month, or share a picture of your delicious plant-based meal.

2. ALREADY PRACTICING MINDFUL FOOD CONSUMPTION? Great! Share with us the steps you are taking to minimize consumption of animal products and/or support animal welfare in your community. Shout out to our Hazon Seal of Sustainability sites across the country – this is your opportunity to shine!

If you post publicly, make sure to tag Hazon and use #hazonseal #sealchallenge #livingthechange!

The most inspiring post/comment will win a Hazon lunch bag!

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