JR looking over solar panels
Bronx House Teens Farmers Market - edited

Hazon Seal of Sustainability

As we worked on the Hazon Seal, I was tremendously amazed by how our Hillel was able to find new students who had felt left out in other Jewish spaces because of their sustainable ideals. And as I learned more, I was personally surprised by the extent to which Jewish ideals really align with sustainability.
—Nevan Mandel, Student, Colorado State University Hillel


Would you like your synagogue’s weekly kiddush to be healthier, more delicious, and less wasteful? Want to cut the energy costs of an aging building? Advocate for clean energy in your community? Or reignite students’ curiosity about Jewish tradition through hands-on, outdoor learning?

Many institutions want to engage in healthier, more humane, and more sustainable behaviors, but don’t know where to start. Others have already begun – be it starting a garden, composting food waste, or installing LED light bulbs – but don’t know how to keep up the momentum. The Hazon Seal of Sustainability provides a roadmap to advance sustainability-related education, action, and advocacy in the Jewish community.

In 2016, the Hazon Seal of Sustainability pilot engaged 23 organizations across the country. Synagogues, day schools, camps, social service agencies, Hillels, and other Jewish institutions each made meaningful, measurable steps towards increasing their sustainability.

Applications for the Hazon Seal of Sustainability are now closed for 2017. Contact seal@hazon.org with any questions.




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Many institutions want to engage in healthier, more humane, and more sustainable behaviors, but don’t know where to start. Others have already begun – be it starting a garden, composting food waste, or installing LED light bulbs – but don’t know how to keep up the momentum.  The Hazon Seal of Sustainability provides a roadmap to advance sustainability-related education, action, and advocacy in the Jewish community.

Functioning like LEED certification, or a “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval,” the Hazon Seal certifies that a Jewish organization has committed to meet a set of criteria marking it as a good world citizen with regard to its food and environmental practices, treatment of animals, and impact on climate change.

The Hazon Seal is capable of driving significant change within, and ultimately beyond the Jewish community in the next seven years. Specifically, the Hazon Seal:

  • Enables organizations to establish baseline impact through a series of online audits — in multiple spheres related to food, energy efficiency, waste reduction, carbon footprint, and health.
  • Provides an easy, clear roadmap to help Jewish institutions set goals for becoming healthier and more sustainable — and save money, and enrich their Jewish education, and improve their branding, and excite existing members, and bring new members in the door.
  • Celebrates success and progress, and incentivizes institutions (via awards and publicity) to improve their performance, year-on-year.

The Hazon Seal offers 3 user-friendly online audits:

  1. Food, Animal Welfare, & Food Justice – Food purchased, prepared, and distributed by the organization (e.g., meat reduction, nutrition, CSAs, pesticides, fair trade, composting)
  2. Facilities & Energy – The physical building, energy systems, and waste stream (e.g., lighting, energy efficiency, solar energy, water efficiency, heating and cooling, recycling)
  3. Healthy Ecosystems – Landscaping and outdoor ecosystems, human health in the “indoor ecosystem,” and transportation (e.g., green cleaning, biking, pest management, toxins, native landscaping)

The audits help institutions evaluate what they’re already doing well in the realm of sustainability, while offering ideas for improvement and inspiration for new projects. A wealth of resources — greening guides and Jewish environmental curricula — are attached to the audits. After taking an audit, institutions choose three substantive projects appropriate for their institution and implement them over the course of 2017, with advice and guidance from Hazon (where helpful).


What will Jewish institutions receive as part of the Hazon Seal of Sustainability pilot cohort?

  • Access to our three innovative online audits
  • A wealth of resources to help meet their improvement goals
  • Two individualized support calls with Hazon greening staff hazon_seal_banner_100q_711x350
  • A cohort of peers to learn with and from
  • Cohort training events, including four calls/webinars on greening topics
  • National publicity
  • Eligibility for Hazon Seal certification (which includes a physical certificate, digital logos, and language explaining the certification)
  • Eligibility to receive awards and prizes

What is required of institutions to receive the Hazon Seal?

By December 31, 2017:

  • Form a Green Team / Hazon Seal implementation team that meets regularly
  • Confirm executive support for Hazon Seal participation & designate a liaison (ideally a staff member) to Hazon
  • Publicize Seal participation by using the Seal logo in communications and through a public announcement by an institutional leader
  • Complete at least 1 of the 3 audits
  • Accomplish (or make measurable progress on) at least 3 substantive sustainability projects
  • Participate in four training webinars throughout the year
  • Participate in at least two consulting calls with Hazon staff, and report on progress and challenges
  • Pay a sliding scale fee to Hazon to offset program costs.  Note: Fee does not apply for sites in the Detroit area in 2017.
  • At year’s end, commit to new sustainability projects for 2018

See the “Hazon Seal Process” tab for dates and further details.

Who participates?

  • Rabbis, cantors, executive directors, programming directors, teachers
  • Board members and lay leaders

What institutions are eligible?

  • Non-profit Jewish communal organizations in the United States such as synagogues, JCCs, social service agencies, camps, foundations/federations, and schools.
  • Institutions that both own and rent their buildings/spaces.



See below for a timeline of key dates for the 2017 Hazon Seal cohort, as well as a detailed explanation of the 2017 Hazon Seal certification process. We encourage you to read through all of this material.

Key Dates                                                                     

  • March 3 Applications Close
  • March 15 Sites notified of status
  • March 22 Submit Letter of Agreement to Hazon
  • March 30 Opening Webinar
  • April 1 Form a Green Team
  • May 1 Deadline for taking an audit
  • May 15 Deadline for submitting sustainability projects
  • June 8 Webinar #2 
  • September 12 Webinar #3
  • December 5 Webinar #4
  • December 15 Deadline for end-of-year renewal forms

Hazon Seal – Detailed Process

Phase 1 – Commit, Prepare, and Plan
Benchmark your current performance and take the first steps towards making your institution healthier and more sustainable.

  • Apply to the Hazon Seal – Complete application with support of institution’s leadership. (Applications due March 3, 2017)
  • Complete Letter of Agreement If accepted, secure written support from the board or executive director of the institution to confirm your acceptance. (By March 8, 2017)
  • Form a Green Team – Build a green team, or strengthen an existing team. The green team should include one specific Hazon Seal point person who is ideally a staff member. (By April 1, 2017)
  • Attend Opening WebinarReceive a introduction to the Seal process, training on organizational change, and meet the other Seal sites nationwide. (March 30, 2017)
  • Choose an Audit – The green team and/or leadership choose which of the three audits (food, energy, or ecosystems) will be most helpful to the institution, based on its needs and goals. Of course, you may take two or three, but you are only required to take one. (Mid- April)
  • Take an Audit – The audit benchmarks the institution’s current performance and highlights its stronger and weaker areas, while providing ideas and inspiration for new sustainability projects. Each audit has 50-75 potential activities/projects. (May 1)
  • Consulting Call with Hazon staff – The institution receives at least one individualized phone call with either regional or national Hazon staff to review audit results and help in choosing at least three achievable sustainability projects. (For Detroit organizations, ongoing personalized staff support is provided by Hazon’s regional office.)  (April- June)
  • Publicize your participationAn executive leader (rabbi, ED, principal, etc) announces participation in the Hazon Seal to members, the board, and other constituencies. Organization publicizes its participation and sustainability work, including posting the Hazon Seal logo, to community via social media, website, and/or newsletter. (Ongoing)
  • Pay a Sliding Scale Fee to Hazon to Offset Program Cost – Fee can be reduced or waived if cost is a barrier to participation. Note: Fee does not apply to sites in the Detroit area in 2017.

            Institutions with budgets under $500,000 pay $180
            Institutions with budgets $500,000 – $1 million pay $500
            Institutions with budgets $1 million – $2.5 million pay $1000
            Institutions with budgets over $2.5 million are determined in consultation


Phase 2 – Projects Implementation

  • Choose Three Projects and Submit to Hazon – The green team, in conjunction with institutional leaders, commits to at least three substantive sustainability projects with a lasting impact on the institution, and creates a written plan for submission to Hazon. (May 15)
  • Cohort training webinarsJoin three additional greening support and training webinars with other Seal institutions, to learn about creating food policies, changing organizational culture, and marketing your sustainability work. (June 8, September 12, December 5)
  • Consulting Call #2 with Hazon – Check-in with Hazon staff by phone or, where possible, in person, on your progress, and troubleshoot problems in carrying out your projects. (July-September)
  • Track impactCollect statistics on project impact, such as number of people affected, amount of food composted, etc. Document your work through photos and video (and share with Hazon). (Ongoing)
  • Miscellaneous staff support – Receive individualized advice and support from national Hazon staff as needed. (Ongoing)
  • Attend Hazon Retreats (optional, but encouraged) – Organizations are eligible for scholarships to attend the Hazon Food Conference (August 9-13, 2017) and the JOFEE Network Gathering in September 2017. Training and relevant classes will be offered.


Phase 3 – Renewal & Certification

  • Renewal and Evaluation – Submit an end-of-year progress report (with photos) to confirm that you have successfully completed your projects, or made substantive progress in executing them. Your organization commits to three sustainability projects in 2018, and has the opportunity (strongly encouraged) to participate in the Hazon Seal 2018 cohort. (December 15, 2017)
  • CertificationEach institution that has completed the Hazon Seal certification process receives and displays a dated, physical 2017 Hazon Seal certificate. Hazon announces and celebrates your certification.



Institutions that take a Hazon Seal audit gain access to a menu of education, action, or advocacy project ideas. In order to receive Hazon Seal certification, institutions need to complete three projects with lasting impact on their institution. Sample project ideas include:

Food, Animal Welfare, & Food Justice

  • Hillel Day School (Farmington Hills, MI) is expanding their garden to provide fresh produce throughout the winter to supply their salad bar and feed the entire school population. Students and staff are working together to assemble the protected winter garden as a community-building exercise. The school received a mini-grant from Hazon to buy the necessary equipment, including seeds, soil, and pots and is receiving guidance with a nearby farm. The fruits of their labor will hopefully include local, organic spinach, lettuce, radishes, and even strawberries.
  • CSU Hillel squareColorado State University Hillel (Fort Collins, CO) is working to source the majority of its food, including eggs, from local farms — and their own backyard. They built a small vegetable garden and received a donated CSA share. Students are participating in trainings to prepare for building a chicken coop and raising egg-laying hens, with guidance  from the Jewish Initiative for Animals (JIFA). Over 300 students benefit from this more sustainable food served at Hillel meals…and the scraps end up in Hillel’s new composter. 
  • B’nai Jeshurun (Manhattan, NY) started hosting regular Green Kiddushes after Saturday morning services. They purchased reusable tablecloths, silverware, and dishware, which will save thousands of dollars and prevent the use of 26,000 disposable paper plates, 5,800 single-use tablecloths and 24,000 pieces of plastic cutlery from going to the landfill annually.  The purchase of the reusable items was funded by their sustainability-themed #GivingTuesday campaign, which was designed with input from Hazon staff. B’nai Jeshurun also completed an LED lighting upgrade.

Facilities & Energy

  • Adat Shalom Synagogue (Farmington Hills, MI) changed all the lights in their main sanctuary to LED bulbs, saving money, energy, and carbon emissions. To continue the upgrade, they will be swapping out the older energy-intensive lights on their Yizkor memorial wall to energy-efficient LEDs.
  • OFJCC recycling 2Oshman Family JCC (Palo Alto, CA) purchased all compostable utensils across campus, and created consistency among all garbage and composting receptacles. After learning about the importance of signage on a Hazon Seal webinar, staff and campers created catchy signs that encourage recycling and composting. These changes will allow them to properly dispose of compost during large-scale events on campus.
  • Greenburgh Hebrew Center built solar panels on-site as part of Hazon’s Jewish Greening Fellowship, thereby saving money, cutting its contribution to the climate crisis, expressing its commitment to Jewish values of stewardship, and setting an early example for families and other congregations.

Healthy Ecosystems

  • MoHoBo Biking 3Moishe House in Boulder, CO led a learning series for young Boulder Jews promoting biking as a sustainable form of transportation. The series included a “Bike for Beer” event in partnership with a local brewery, an event on bike safety and maintenance, and a “Tour de Boulder” which included a tour of the city to encourage biking.
  • Hebrew Institute of Riverdale’s (Bronx, NY) green team researched eco-friendly, chemical-free options in renovating their kids’ play areas. They provided their youth department with resources about purchasing green playground equipment, toys, and art supplies. They also hosted an e-waste collection event to help congregants responsibly dispose of toxic electronics and lightbulbs.
  • Hannah Senesh Community Day School (Brooklyn, NY) began its first-ever school recycling and composting program. Middle school students collect food waste at lunch and are responsible for processing the compost on site in a rotary composter in their back garden. Through the Hazon Seal, they are also working on creating a second, food-bearing garden to incorporate into their elementary and middle school curriculum.
  • Jewish Family Service of San Diego started exclusively using toxin-free green cleaning products across its facilities.
  • Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center (Falls Village, CT) created a “JOFEE” map for visitors to explore its beautiful campus, highlighting sustainability features like solar panels, barnyard, and hiking trails. Isabella Freedman is also installing insulation in the attics of several buildings to reduce energy use.