Topic: Hazon Seal of Sustainability

Updates on the Hazon Seal of Sustainability

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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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Full-Circle Sustainability at CSU Hillel

At the Colorado State University Hillel, sustainability is coming full circle. The C.S.U. Hillel’s Green Team is improving their food sourcing and starting a composting program to support green meals and programming at Hillel. In September, Green Team members Alex Amchi and Nevan Mandel, along with other C.S.U. students and volunteers, planted a small food bearing garden. According to Nevan, “It is growing well, and we can expect kale and other delicious goodness within a few weeks.” C.S.U. also received a donated CSA share, which has allowed them to source much of their produce locally. The Green Team at the C.S.U. Hillel is also moving forward with building an on-site composter. Despite hectic student schedules, they’ve collected the raw materials needed to build a composter and are holding building days for the Hillel house to put the materials together. Kol HaKavod to Alex, Nevan, and the whole team at C.S.U. Hillel for their great work as part of the Hazon Seal of Sustainability!

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Updates from the Hazon Seal of Sustainability

The Seal of Sustainability is now launched! Nearly two dozen Jewish organizations around the country are assembling Green Teams, taking a food, facilities, or healthy ecosystem audit, and launching new sustainability projects at their organizations. At synagogues, community centers, social service organizations, and summer camps, people are working hard to make their organizations uphold their values of sustainability. We’re excited about the two chicken coops that will provide humane eggs at Bonai Shalom and Colorado State University Hillel; a new community composting initiative at B’nai Jeshurun; expanded recycling programs as Jewish Family Services of San Diego and Hannah Senesh Day School; sourcing toxin-free art supplies at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale; an ethical food purchasing policy at the Pearlstone Center; and much more. Check back on hazon.org/seal for updates on organizations and projects, new resources, and stories about successes and challenges. Want to post a sustainability success story? E-mail seal@hazon.org to feature your organization.

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NY Finalizes Major Initiative to Expand Solar Access

From the Press Office of Vote Solar Diverse Coalition Applauds Cuomo Administration’s Commitment to Improving Community Health, Resiliency, Opportunity through Clean Energy Albany, NY – July 16, 2015 – Today the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) established an innovative Shared Renewables program that will expand consumer access to local solar, wind and other clean energy resources, particularly among low- and moderate-income New Yorkers. More than 70 local and national organizations join together in applauding state leaders for their commitment to a healthier, more resilient clean energy system that creates opportunities for all New Yorkers to thrive. “Solar is working for the Empire State in a big way. Record numbers of New Yorkers are harnessing sunshine to save on their energy bills, which is creating local jobs and reducing the need for traditional polluting power. This new program will empower even more communities, families and businesses to participate in that great solar success story,” said Sean Garren, Northeast Regional Manager for Vote Solar, a national solar advocacy organization. “We thank Governor Cuomo, his administration and the PSC for making equal access to solar a priority and for speeding our transition to a healthier, more resilient clean energy system.” New York […]

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