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Hazon Seal of Sustainability History: The Jewish Greening Fellowship

The Hazon Seal has its origin in the Jewish Greening Fellowship. From 2009-2014, more than 50 JCCs, camps, schools, congregations, and social service organizations in the New York region participated in the Jewish Greening Fellowship. They worked to cut their energy use,  reduce waste and pollution in operations, and engage their constituents in Jewish environmental education.

With the generous support of the Jewish Community Development Task Force of the Commission on Jewish Identity and Renewal of UJA-Federation of New York, Jewish Greening Fellows at these institutions received intensive training in environmental change leadership and their organizations received funding to achieve their greening goals.

The Hazon Seal builds on the success of this program, and aims to work with organizations across the country to help green their institutions and become more sustainable.

The information I am learning and the programming the Jewish Greening Fellowship inspires has had a greater impact on my community and my personal life than any other kind of management oriented training I have had before. It has inspired me to action, and to bring others to action, and it has made me a better citizen of the Earth.
—Lisa Feinman, Asst. Executive Director, JCC On the Hudson
 

Jewish Greening Fellowship Network

The following organizations have made a commitment to environmental change leadership and Jewish values of stewardship by participating in the Jewish Greening Fellowship:

Accomplishments

The Jewish Greening Fellowship was one of the most prominent Jewish responses to the climate crisis – and the most significant investment made by any Jewish Federation in this country to address climate change or the environment.

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Saving Energy & Money

  • Over the next 10 years, JGF organizations are projected to save an estimated $8.3 million by cutting energy use, switching to renewable energy sources, and reducing waste in operations.
  • Over the course of the next seven-year cycle in Jewish life, JGF organizations are expected to achieve a nearly 300% return on UJA-Federation of New York’s initial $2 million grant investment in the Jewish Greening Fellowship.
  • JGF organizations have attracted more than $3.6 million in donations and government funding for greening upgrades.
  • In total, 13 JGF institutions have installed solar panels, or are in the process of doing so.
  • 46 JGF organizations have completed energy audits of their buildings.
 
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Strengthening Institutions as a Whole

  • JGF green teams have brought together more than 600 people, including agency executives, facilities staff, and laypeople.
  • In the most recent JGF cohort, 94% of JGF Fellows said their institution as a whole became stronger or much stronger as a result of their greening work.
  • More than a third of these Fellows said they “strongly agree” that greening has become a part of their organization’s identity.
  • Similarly, 94% of organizations in the most recent cohort formed new partnerships in their broader community because of their greening work.
  • The Fellowship has touched more than 175,000 people through the communications efforts of JGF organizations.
 
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Enriching Jewish Life & Education

  • Over the past 7 years,  more than 33,000 people have participated in environmental education programs at JGF institutions — from Tu B’shvat seders to tzedakah gardens to kiddush composting programs.
  • In 2013-2014 alone, JGF agencies created 42 new programs combining environmental education and Jewish values.
  • When asked to rate whether greening has enriched Jewish learning and living in their institution, three-fourths of organizations in the most recent JGF cohort chose the highest possible response of “strongly agree.”
  • During the Shmita (sabbatical) year, JGF funded over twenty different shmita-themed educational programs, from a Shmita Seder held at the JCC of Staten Island to an ecological greenhouse exhibit created by Israeli artist Avital Geva at the JCC of Manhattan.
  • Jewish organizations energized their members around the People’s Climate March, the largest demonstration for climate change in history. Of the 1,500 groups that co-sponsored the climate march, one in 10 was Jewish. This remarkable Jewish support would not have been possible without the participation of many JGF organizations and the diligent organizing work done by JGF staff.