Learning From Solar Congregations is a great booklet from Greater Washington Interfaith Power and Light that describes how 12 churches and synagogues installed solar energy systems. Starting to think about how your community will observe the upcoming Shmita (Sabbatical) Year? At Building Community and Consciousness for the Shmita Year, co-sponsored by UJA-Federation’s Wiener Center and JGF, we learned about g’machs (free loan groups), gleaning, composting, and ways to invest money that support local communities and sustainable food systems. The presentations are now online. Rabbis who offer a sermon on fossil fuel divestment and clean energy investment before May 14, 2014 can win a cash prize. Check Greenfaith’s website for sermon tips and send in the date you’re planning to preach to get a free copy of Moral Ground, a collection of writings on religion and the earth. 596 Acres will bring a Community Land Access Workshop to your community to teach you about NYC’s land use practices and mapping tools you can use to identify unused parcels that can be turned into community gardens. Climate Access will help you find just the right way to talk about climate change in your community.
Topic: Jewish Greening Fellowship
Torah Learning Inspires Green Congregations
On a recent webinar for JGF Board Fellows (volunteer leaders) from congregations, the Executive Director of Canfei Nesharim, Evonne Marzouk, shared these tips for engaging congregations in learning about environmental responsibility and action: Identify your goals. Do you want to build community? Make practical changes? Educate? Advocate? Pace yourself. Build a big enough committee to serve your goals. Or, prioritize goals with the committee you have. Don’t neglect your committee! Continue to include people who miss a meeting. Continue to add members. Celebrate. Make it fun. Make it feel possible. Stay positive. Nobody likes a downer environmentalist. Be open to change. Committees and communities evolve as the program grows. Be willing to evolve with them. Include and engage the people who already agree with you. Don’t feel you need to invent the wheel. Use existing tools as appropriate. Canfei Nesharim ‘s mission is to engage Jews in “sustainable living, inspired by Torah.” Evonne led the webinar participants on a tour of Torah learning materials available on the internet including video, audio, study sheets, ebooks, podcasts, and articles, available from Canfei Nesharim and Jewcology. You will find Hanukkah resources that you can put to good use right now. Share these resources […]
Seniors are Homebound and Globally Minded
by Naomi Singer, Community Services Social Worker, Greening Fellow, DOROT DOROT’s goal is to alleviate social isolation among the elderly and provide services to help them live independently as valued members of the community. Through concrete services as well as social, cultural, and health-promoting opportunities, we help seniors “age in place” safely and with dignity. At first glance, environmentalism may seem tangential at best to our mission. In reality, though, the goals and opportunities of greening are closely aligned with the needs of older adults. For those frail seniors who lost power during Hurricane Sandy and were reliant on volunteers to deliver basic necessities, the impact of climate change was all too real. Beyond that, healthy aging and healthy greening both are rooted in social connections and interrelatedness. DOROT’s involvement with seniors, whether at our offices, in the community, or in their homes, offers opportunities to disseminate environmental education while promoting social connections. For our recent Package Delivery Program, over 600 volunteers visited seniors at home, bringing a bag of holiday-related treats that included a flyer highlighting the elements of the package that are recyclable and outlining NYC’s new, expanded recycling program. For mobility-impaired seniors who have lost some of […]
The Miracle of Solar Energy
“In the case of mortal danger, where a person is within inches of death…being saved from death is a miracle and divine providence, and it is clear that everyone agrees that she should say a blessing.” —Nishmat Adam 1:65 Why do people get so excited about solar energy? I finally figured it out last week when I participated in a study session about how miracles are defined in Jewish law. In preparation for Hannukah the topic of our study session was miracles. Since ancient times there has been an ongoing debate about what miracle we celebrate on Hannukah. Perhaps the miracle is the military victory of the small band of Maccabees over a powerful enemy. Or, alternatively, the miracle is that when the Maccabees lit the menorah in the rededicated Temple one day’s supply of oil lasted for eight days. Was the miracle the human achievement or the supernatural occurrence? The definition of a miracle is a halachic matter (question of Jewish law) because the rabbis needed to decide when a person has to say a blessing of thanks for a miracle. As I followed the debate from generation to generation, guided by Rabbi Jason Rubenstein of Mechon Hadar, I […]
ReSources You Can ReUse!
For up to date information about political developments related to Sandy recovery and climate change preparedness, useful planning tools, and more, go to the website of the Brooklyn Community Foundation Recovery Resources — Sustainability & Planning. A Stronger, More Resilient New York is the City’s comprehensive plan for everything from coastal protection to healthcare. Contact NYSERDA for information on energy audits and incentives for lighting upgrades and other energy efficiency measures for your facility. Save energy with these practical tips for congregations from the Interfaith Coalition on Energy. Take this list to a Green Team meeting for a great discussion. Not sure how to make your purchasing more environmentally responsible? The Green Schools Buying Guide includes “primers” on cleaners, paper, art supplies, toys, and many other categories. Climate Communication and Behavior Change: A Guide for Practitioners will help you find just the right way to talk about climate change in your community.
One Year After Hurricane Sandy: Prepare, Protect, and Prevent
“Enlightened stewardship is not only a religious and moral imperative; it is a strategy for security and survival.” —Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, Jewish Energy Covenant On the Friday before Hurricane Sandy hit, Karen Horowitz, Senior Greening Fellow at the Friedberg JCC, moved her computer hard drive from the floor to her desk. She saved the hard drive, but the JCC’s main building in Oceanside, Long Island, was closed for 3 months after the storm. And the early childhood center in Long Beach, flooded with 6 feet of water, has just reopened one year after Sandy. JCCs, congregations, day schools, and other community organizations rushed to help after Hurricane Sandy and they are still helping. Jewish Greening Fellowship organizations are among them: The Shorefront Y in Brighton Beach has disaster case managers and legal assistance on site. Met Council volunteers are distributing food packages and recovery information, and members of Congregation Beth Elohim are still preparing meals for displaced people. While the recovery continues, we must also prepare for the future. Climate change is changing the weather. Higher temperatures are loading storms with extra energy and rising seas mean more flooding from storm surges. Heat waves that are […]
ReSources You Can ReUse!
We want to make the JGF Update more useful for the 36 organizations that have completed the Jewish Greening Fellowship as well as all our other readers. Please send us links to resources that you’d like to recommend so that we can share them with the Jewish Greening Network. Met Council offers green volunteer opportunities for individuals and groups. Ask for the current brochure “40 for 40”. Contact JGF Alumna Stefanie Greenberg, Met Council’s Volunteer Department Manager, at email@example.com. Jewish Education News published two issues on Eco-Judaism: Examining the Relationship Between the Environment and Judaism. Articles address every aspect of Jewish environmental education, and include many practical tips and curriculum ideas. International Walk to School Day is October 9, 2013. Organize an event to encourage active transportation and build awareness of the importance of walkable communities and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from car travel. Walk & Roll to School offers instructions for how to form a walking school bus or bike train. A new film, Symphony of the Soil is a great way to educate about composting. It examines the use and misuse of soil and highlights possibilities of healthy soil creating healthy plants, creating healthy humans, living on a […]
Powerful Jewish Learning & Living
“It is a learning in reverse order. A learning that no longer starts from the Torah and leads into life, but the other way round: from life, from a world that knows nothing of the Law…back to the Torah.” —Franz Rosenzweig, On Jewish Learning Where does food go when we throw it away? This may not sound like a Jewish question, but just ask the campers and counselors at the 14th Street Y’s New Country Day Camp. They spent this past summer immersed in Jewish learning and living inspired by the theme of composting. Powerful Jewish education starts with asking real questions that emerge from everyday life. There is no simple answer to the question of where food goes when we throw it away. As the campers learned, ideally the nutrients in food are returned to the soil and the cycle of life through composting. But more likely, our waste will end up in a landfill releasing dangerous gases. Every answer leads to another question, and ultimately to questions about why human beings act the way we do, and how we can take better care of each other and the earth. Children at New Country Day Camp were immersed in […]
Build a Sustainable Jewish Community with The Jewish Greening Fellowship
Do you want to build a sustainable Jewish Community? You can with the Jewish Greening Fellowship.