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Topic: Hazon Seal of Sustainability

Updates on the Hazon Seal of Sustainability

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Hadar Chooses Higher Welfare

by Jenny Koshner, Program Coordinator, Hadar Institute Hadar empowers Jews to create and sustain vibrant, practicing, egalitarian communities of Torah, Avodah, and Hesed. They are a Hazon Seal of Sustainability site based in New York, NY. This past year at Hadar has been a transformative year for us. As an educational institution in New York City that empowers Jews of all ages to build and sustain vibrant, practicing, egalitarian communities of Torah, tefillah (prayer), and chesed (service), we have always cared deeply about integrating our lives of study and ritual practice with living according to our tradition’s principles. Since our founding a little over ten years ago, we have integrated our dedication to sustainability, part of our practice of chesed, into our programming and operations. Whether we are purchasing primarily compostable meal-time materials for our immersive programming, or spending an extra thirty minutes when formatting a sourcesheet to reduce the paper we’ll use, or researching biodegradable alternatives to the standard office supplies we purchase, we’ve always striven to incorporate our commitment to sustainability into our programs.   This past year, inspired by the commitments of many in our alumni community to fair treatment of animals and responsible-sourcing of food, we’ve made some exciting changes […]

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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 […]

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The Miracle of Chanukah: A Lesson on Longevity

Wondrous as it is, the miracle of Chanukah, in which an oil flask meant to last one day instead lasted eight, seems dwarfed in today’s world of everlasting products: plastic bottles, diapers, aluminum foil, electronics, to name a few. But its essence remains, teaching us the importance of valuing what we have. On the eve of Thanksgiving, I attended an event at John Jay College of Criminal Justice on behalf of Hazon. The college’s Hillel and environmental club teamed up to hold an hour-long “decomposition activity” to shed some light on just one of many environmental issues: waste. I witnessed students and faculty – some perplexed, some intent on finding answers – try to guess the rate of decomposition for a variety of items for the prize of a reusable water bottle or mug. Placed on two long tables were numerous objects: paper towels, banana peels, orange peels, plastic bags, batteries, plastic bottles, diapers, glass containers, electronics, and tin foil (purposely put in order from shortest to longest decomposition rates, unbeknownst to the participants). Some participants intuitively knew that the fruit on the table decomposes – decays or breaks down into simpler matter – faster than, say, a cell phone. […]

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Ten New Sites Get the Green Light!

A warm welcome and mazal tov to the Fall 2017 Seal of Sustainability Cohort! We are excited that these 10 new sites – from the east coast, west coast, and in between – are joining the Seal Network on a journey toward sustainability! As part of the Seal of Sustainability, sites will proverbially, and in some cases literally, plant the seeds that will flourish into the institutions’ green visions. Each site leader will form a Green Team that will serve as the organization’s roots to support the three branches – or greening projects – that will be implemented over the course of the certification process.   Whether they decide to serve higher-welfare eggs and meat for their Yeshiva program like Mechon Hadar, an educational institution in New York City, or expand their existing composting program to all school buildings, like Allegheny College Hillel aims to do at their Pennsylvania campus, the 10 Fall 2017 sites will commit to three sustainability projects that will have a lasting impact on their institutions. By participating in the Hazon Seal, sites will have the opportunity to transform their institutional food policies, remodel their waste practices, or even re-energize their buildings with solar power! Joining […]

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Hurricanes, earthquakes, floods… and chicken coops

by Judith Belasco October 3rd, 2017 | 13 Tishrei 5778 Dear All, My family built our sukkah this past Sunday. I felt an uneasy juxtaposition between the joy of this holiday – freely choosing to create and decorate a temporary home in which we will share our abundance with friends – and the cruel fate of so many that now find themselves forced into temporary homes. From Puerto Rico and Florida to India and Nepal, the devastation and destruction from climate change is a new normal. We can’t let ourselves see this as a problem in some other place that someone else needs to fix. This planet is a permanent home – for all of us. We have estimated that the current carbon footprint of the US Jewish Community is about 86,920,000 metric tons.* As a community with less than 2% of the US population, we have a carbon footprint larger than 119 countries, including Denmark, Israel, Morocco, New Zealand, and Sweden. In addition to the personal impact that we are making from our lives, the American Jewish Community owns thousands of buildings across the United States. There are roughly 3,500 synagogues in the US, and thousands more day schools, camps, social service […]

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Hurricanes, earthquakes, floods… and chicken coops

by Judith Belasco October 3rd, 2017 | 13 Tishrei 5778 Dear All, My family built our sukkah this past Sunday. I felt an uneasy juxtaposition between the joy of this holiday – freely choosing to create and decorate a temporary home in which we will share our abundance with friends – and the cruel fate of so many that now find themselves forced into temporary homes. From Puerto Rico and Florida to India and Nepal, the devastation and destruction from climate change is a new normal. We can’t let ourselves see this as a problem in some other place that someone else needs to fix. This planet is a permanent home – for all of us. We have estimated that the current carbon footprint of the US Jewish Community is about 86,920,000 metric tons.* As a community with less than 2% of the US population, we have a carbon footprint larger than 119 countries, including Denmark, Israel, Morocco, New Zealand, and Sweden. In addition to the personal impact that we are making from our lives, the American Jewish Community owns thousands of buildings across the United States. There are roughly 3,500 synagogues in the US, and thousands more day schools, camps, […]

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In the News: Styrofoam Bans, Paw Paw Trees, and a Home for the Chickens

Across the country, over forty Jewish organizations are committing to making a better world through the Hazon Seal of Sustainability. Local papers nationwide have highlighted Seal organization’s innovative sustainability initiatives. Read on for stories about planting of paw paw trees, building chicken mansions, urban farming initiatives, and more! “Going Green,” Hillel News, 26 May 2017 “Shaarey Zedek, B’nai Moshe and Hazon partner to provide organic produce,” Detroit Jewish News, 16 June 2017 “Hazon Seal, Louisville Grows grant to be parts of J’s enhanced sustainability,” Jewish Louisville, 26 May 2017 “Congregation Bonai Shalom Awarded 2016 Hazon Seal of Sustainability,” Boulder Jewish News,  3 May 2017 “Emanuel Synagogue Green Team launches new sustainability initiatives,” West Hartford News, 26 April 2017    

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When It Rains It Pours | D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

Ryan Kaplan, Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta Parshat Chukat “Moses made a copper serpent and mounted it on a standard; and when anyone was bitten by a serpent, they would look at the copper serpent and recover.” Numbers 21:9 As I write this post, I sit in my office in Atlanta with the threat of rain clouds to my left and blueberry waffles, coffee, and a coworker’s copy of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) to my right. Georgia’s summer has been very wet thus far, and the promise of the coming downpour outside my window sets a looming melancholic tone for this week’s cinematic Torah portion: Chukat (Numbers 19:1-22:1). Much happens in the chapters of Chukat. In the interest of brevity: The wandering Israelites are taught in “the ways of the red heifer” (that is to say, they’re told how to purify themselves after coming into contact with a human corpse); Miriam dies and water becomes scarce; Moses and Aaron fall out of G-d’s good graces after striking a rock in search of water instead of speaking to it; Aaron follows Miriam in death and a 30 day period of mourning begins (up from the normal 7 days of Shiva); a […]

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Sign | Seal | Deliver

from Judith Belasco June 29th, 2017 | 5th of Tamuz, 5777 Dear all, Last year, from the bimah at Greenburgh Hebrew Center, a shul outside NYC, there was a reminder to attend the annual meeting and vote to approve the budget. I overheard the whispers of two men discussing the budget: “We are saving money on our electric bill…” “Really?” “We actually have solar panels on our roof…” I couldn’t help but smile. In 2013, with help from Hazon, Rabbi Barry Kenter led Greenburgh Hebrew Center to install 200 solar panels on its roof. The panels meet more than half of GHC’s annual electricity demand, reducing the congregation’s electricity bill by more than $7,000 per year. Fast forward four years, and the 62 organizations Hazon has partnered with on greening in the NY area are now estimated to save at least $8.3 million over the next 10 years. Leading these reductions are solar energy projects like GHC’s, or the 103 kW solar PV installation at the JCC of Staten Island, which saves an amount of carbon dioxide equivalent to planting 63 acres of trees. The Hazon Seal of Sustainability is a national effort to connect environmentalism and Jewish values and to put sustainability at the forefront […]

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Cutting our waste – with compostable knives

The Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto, CA is a haven for green-focused Jewish community. Already OFJCC’s campus is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Certified for its environmentally progressive features, and they’ve continued their environmental leadership with their diverse projects as a member of the Seal of Sustainability Cohort 2016! OFJCC’s switch to purchasing only compostable utensils in September 2016 has made a large impact on their 2,000 daily visitors to their cafe, afterschool program, camps, preschool, and events.  They plan to run a full-time 3-bin system for trash, recycling, and compost collection, and so far they’ve been successful at getting all of the compostable utensils in the correct bin. Tzachi Flat, a JOFEE fellow and member of OFJCC’s Green Team, has also spread knowledge about the importance of composting in the local community.  Tzachi “spoke to our local high school, Kehillah Jewish High School… about the shift and how they can play an important role by throwing trash in the correct bins.”   In addition to their excellent composting efforts, OFJCC installed low-flow showerheads and three water bottle filling stations at their fitness center.  They have also recently installed two electric car charging ports! Kol HaKavod […]

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