Topic: Hazon Seal of Sustainability

Updates on the Hazon Seal of Sustainability

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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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Recycling at Adat Shalom

During their first year, Adat Shalom Synagogue in Farmington Hills, MI has proven itself to be a real asset to the Hazon Seal of Sustainability Cohort 2016! From their efforts towards implementing better recycling policies, to using only recyclable paper products at events, we’re excited to continue supporting their progress over the next year. Much of Adat Shalom’s sustainability work focuses on community participation and awareness.  “Our focus is to make members more aware of the importance of taking care of the environment in which we all share,” says Susan Shevrin, Congregation Liason.  Increasing awareness of recycling and improving recycling procedures throughout the entire building was not just a sustainable practice itself, but it provided learning opportunities for members of Adat Shalom.  During Adat Shalom’s Annual Volunteer Day in December 2016, the synagogue hosted Hazon representatives who worked with youth to create recycling boxes for every classroom. In addition to their exceptional recycling work, Adat Shalom is updating their lighting to run more efficiently, and they are hoping to replace all fluorescents and CFL lighting with LED and/ or energy cost saving lighting. Kol HaKavod to Susan Shevrin and the rest of the Green Team at Adat Shalom for their […]

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Old Stones, New Ripples – Reflections on the Close of JOFEE Fellowship Cohort 1 | D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

by Yoshi Silverstein – JOFEE Fellowship Director May 18th, 2017 | 22nd Iyar 5777 | 37th day of the omer | gevurah she’b’yesod 16 Organizations. 17 Fellows. Over 500 programs. An estimated 37,000 participants in Jewish Outdoor, Food, Farming & Environmental Education (JOFEE) programs across the country. These are some of the incredible numbers emerging as we look back at our first JOFEE Fellowship cohort, who completed their closing seminar and siyum last week at our sister JOFEE organization, the Pearlstone Center outside Baltimore, MD. Behind those numbers are thousands of people encountering – many for the first time – the incredible power of a Jewish tradition steeped in deep cultural and spiritual connection with the earth, with place, with human communities and our surrounding ecosystems, with our food, and with each other.  A Jewish tradition that recognizes both the limits and abundance of the resources our home planet provides for us. A tradition that says this world is amazing – there is so much magnificence – and yet we have work to do – not to complete by ourselves, but neither to desist from doing our part. And wow did our JOFEE Fellows do their part! Here are a […]

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Green Kiddush at Shaarey Tzedek

Congregation Shaarey Zedek in Southfield, MI is setting the bar for sustainability high with their excellent work as a member of the Hazon Seal of Sustainability Cohort 2016! Between planning their first Green Kiddush, to using only glass mugs and recyclable paper products at events, there seems to be no limit on what they can achieve. After completing the Hazon Seal Audit, the Green Team at Shaarey Zedek immediately replaced all Styrofoam cups in the Berman Center of Education with glass cups that the congregation had in storage.  They also made sure that the congregation’s clergy team spoke about the Green Team and its work during a Shabbat sermon, to get everyone excited about greening and increase awareness of the important work the Green Team does. Shaarey Zedek’s Green Kiddush and Tu B’shvat Seder on the Shabbat of Tu B’shvat was also well-received.  Wren Beaulieu-Hack – Director of the Berman Center for Jewish Education at Shaarey Zedek – says that “The day we spent celebrating Tu B’Shvat, as a community was the most successful project we’ve completed thus far.  It was wonderful to see our congregants talking with each other about environmental issues through a Jewish lens and to see […]

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Composting as a Community at B’nai Jeshurun

As a member of the 2016 Hazon Seal Pilot Cohort, B’nai Jeshurun (New York, NY) is going above and beyond with their sustainability practices!   As one of their projects for the first year, B’nai Jeshurun implemented Green Kiddush practices each Shabbat.  The Green Team ensures that there are bins at every kiddush to separate waste appropriately and ensure that nothing that isn’t recyclable, reusable, or compostable ends up in the trash. B’nai Jeshurun also started a Composting Initiative at their congregation.  According to Larissa Wohl, Tzedek Program Manager and member of BJ’s Green Team, “There is a composting page on our website with detailed information as well as a tri-fold flyer available. Members can receive free 3-gallon bio bags and/or counter top bins to start composting at home.”  The synagogue provides a convenient compost collection spot that is available more frequently than other collection spots in the area. Around 70 people are actively composting their waste both at home at B’nai Jeshurun thanks to this initiative! In addition to the community compost initiative, the congregation has raised over $6000  through a Giving Tuesday campaign to purchase reusable products for meetings and programs, and updated all eligible lamps and fixtures with […]

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Composting our Way Through Life at Ramah in the Rockies

By Zach Goldberg, JOFEE Fellow at Ramah in the Rockies and Bonai Shalom Ramah in the Rockies started a Bokashi composting system as part of their participation in the Hazon Seal of Sustainability, a roadmap for Jewish institutions to become more sustainable. Learn more about the Hazon Seal of Sustainability.   On the way from Philistine to Beersheba, Isaac digs a series of three wells that were previously excavated by his father, Abraham. At the first well, Isaac meets some people who claim the water as their own. Isaac names it esek, “contention.” At the second well he digs, they meet people who also were not happy about the project. He named it sitnah, “enmity.” At the third well, they find people who were not bothered. He names it rechovot, “spaciousness.” Rechovot is what Isaac was after. He wanted to carve out space for real connection. Isaac understood that the first two wells, associated with fear and scarcity, were not for him. Living there would not allow life to flourish. Fixing our former icemaker, now compost tumbler Last summer at Ramah in the Rockies, I started a project on how to effectively process organic waste on the campsite. On becoming a member […]

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Biking around Boulder with MoHoBo

Moishe House Boulder set up three community members with bikes and helmets as part of their participation in the Hazon Seal of Sustainability. Already a force in the Moishe House platform as one of the most sustainable and intentional communities, Moishe House Boulder (aka “MoHoBO”) continues to build its reputation in the world of sustainability through their Hazon Seal projects.  Focusing primarily on sustainable living practices, MoHoBo’s Seal projects involve education about bike maintenance and safety and events around food, animal welfare, and how Jewish history relates to current events. This past year, MoHoBo helped set up three community members with bikes and helmets, and will host a bike maintenance event at Community Cycles, a local bike shop, this spring.  MoHoBo also launched a “Bike for Beer” initiative to incentivize cycling; donated beer from Upslope Brewing Company was served to community members who participated in MoHoBo’s biking programs, and the initiative was highlighted at other sustainability events.   In addition to educational events, MoHoBo is planning a “Tour de Boulder” bike ride as the weather gets warmer!   MoHoBo has also hosted many events related to other sustainable home and living practices.  They’ve hosted a chicken shechita to highlight importance of […]

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Composting at Hannah Senesh

As part of their three Hazon Seal Sustainability projects, Hannah Senesh Community Day School in Brooklyn, NY is expanding their compost program. Notably, they’ve purchased a second composting barrel; this barrel allows students to set one batch of compost aside to decompose, while still being able to add new food scraps to the other barrel. Though Hannah Senesh has composted for a few years, they previously had no choice but to take breaks from collecting scraps when their single barrel filled up. Their new system allows the school to keep the cycle of composting consistent throughout the school year, keeping food waste from school lunch out of the landfill. It will provide larger amounts of nutrient-rich soil for their educational gardens and tree beds. Most notably, the composting program at Hannah Senesh is student-run! The students see firsthand the magical process of decomposition in all its messy glory. Middle schoolers are responsible for picking up food scraps after lunch, adding a balanced amount of greens and brown scraps, and turning the barrel. Later, once the compost is ready, they spread it on the school’s gardens, enriching the soil. The students have also created composting signs and educated the community about what goes […]

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Seal Sites at the Food Conference

Hannukah, New Year’s Eve, AND hundreds of Jewish foodies and environmentalists… all at the Hazon Food Conference. Last week, six Seal sites — DU Hillel, CSU Hillel, Moishe House Boulder, B’nai Jeshurun, Ramah in the Rockies, Congregation Bonai Shalom — joined together to learn, share, and celebrate Jewish food and sustainability. The conference included an in-depth session about the Hazon Seal and the first in-person meeting for Hazon Seal sites from across the country. Hody Nemes, Manager of Greening and Climate Initiatives at Hazon, said, “At the beginning of 2016, the Hazon Seal was just an exciting dream. Now, after hundreds of buckets of food composted, hundreds of LED lights installed, and thousands of people educated about sustainability and Jewish tradition, the Seal is soaring into 2017.”  

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Sukkot, Market of the 4 Species at Bnei Brak by Flavio@Flickr

What happens to a lulav after Sukkot?

Two weeks ago, right after Yom Kippur, families and communities began erecting beautiful Sukkot. Decorated with gourds, topped with bamboo, tree branches, or corn stalks, these sukkot have provided a temporary home for Jews across the world for eight days. That was yesterday. Today, those Sukkot are coming down– along with tons of schach, organic material that covers the top of the Sukkah. On the Upper West Side in New York City, twelve congregations, organized in partnership with Hazon Seal site B’nai Jeshurun, are doing good with their post-Sukkot waste. Through a unique partnership with the New York City Department of Sanitation, sites are composting schachs, lulavs, and etrogs– diverting literally tons of organic material from the landfill! Throwing organics into a landfill contributes to harmful methane gas emissions and increases our carbon footprint, while composting contributes to healthy soil and prevents the need for chemical fertilizers. What better way to end Sukkot than by re-affirming our commitment to a healthy and sustainable planet?

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