All Projects and Updates

Decreasing energy use in synagogue building lighting

Congregation Beth Israel (Vancouver, British Columbia)

Project Description

The synagogue VP (soon to be president) had a prior relationship with an energy/lighting consultant from a major company in the field. She connected Rabbi Stein with him, and there was a meeting/building tour on January 27, 2022, with Rabbi Stein, the lighting/energy consultant, and the synagogue building supervisor (Chuck)… the meeting with very fruitful and we learned a lot about the opportunities we have to decrease energy usage. Chuck has had subsequent meetings with a representative from a company that may sell us the actual (lower wattage) lighting fixtures, and meetings with our executive director and board treasurer… and the project is moving along to the point that we should be able to move forward sometime soon with the first phase of our purchases.
Note that this should result in the retrofitting of something like 70-80% of the lighting fixtures in our building and there was some work done to find that the capital cost will be returned in the form of energy savings in something in the order of 3-4 years.
This is a project that is moving forward in the sense that the Board believes that the funding is allocated.

Updates

Double Mitzvah Reverse Tashlich – October 2 @ High School Park

Congregation Adath Jeshurun (Elkins Park, Pennsylvania)

Project Description

Instead of putting crumbs into Tookany Creek, we will clean up around the creek to keep trash and debris from polluting the water, hence the reverse Tashlich. And the double mitzvah comes from doing this at High School Road Park after Arts in the Park when all the volunteers are exhausted. We will be doing a mitzvah for our community and our watershed! – unfortunately this effort was rained out, but we will be continuing the effort in 2023

Updates

Recycling is Re-Newed in time for the holidays!

Congregation Adath Jeshurun (Elkins Park, Pennsylvania)

Project Description

To renew our recycling program and increase the rate of recycling from our building we have purchased blue buckets which have been placed in the early learning classrooms for collecting recyclables and conducted a teacher training on September 13 with Early Learning Center staff to get the program rolling. In the future we will be conducting more training with AJ staff and congregants, affix labels to the blue cans as to what is recyclable and hopefully track the improvements in our recycling efforts with input from Republic. Sinage for the proper items for recycliing is being created by congregants and will be affixed to each recycling bin by December 30, 2022.

Another training will be conducted with the housekeepping staff to assure that recycleables get placed in outdoor bins for pickup.

We will be in touch with Republic Waste Management to try to track our volume of recyclables v. trash.

Updates

Pollinator Garden

Congregation Adath Jeshurun (Elkins Park, Pennsylvania)

Project Description

In September 2022, after two days of planting and zillions of hours planning, AJ volunteers planted a Pollinator Garden on the north slope of the synagogue property. It is complete with perennials that are in bloom in the fall and the spring and summer and some that will be peeking up their heads in early spring. A team of 10 volunteers created the garden to attract butterflies, bees, and other pollinators. Signage will be created in the spring and the garden will be a fun place for pre-school children at the synagogue to learn about their natural environment.

Updates

Pickling/Jewish Cooking/Sustainability Event

Hillel at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, Michigan)

Project Description

We’re gathering students from our sustainability club and pickling club to have an event learning about Ba’al tashchit and the role that sustainability has traditionally played in jewish cooking. We’re bringing in a chef who specializes in jewish learning and cooking to teach students how to pickle and how to make a vegetarian flatbread.

Updates

(Farber Hebrew Day School) Waste Free Lunch Initiative

Young Israel of Southfield (Southfield, Michigan)

Project Description

All of the details are not finalized, but the project would entail education about single use plastic and waste prevention surrounding school lunch. We will examine a student’s average lunch and the amount of waste that is produced. Then we will examine the alternatives and explore how we can implement those changes by doing a raffle of planet box lunch boxes and reusable silverware, etc. Then we will also share lunch ideas of what can be packed in the planet box.

Updates

Green Kiddush

Young Israel of Southfield (Southfield, Michigan)

Project Description

We are using cloth table cloths, compostable paper plates, compostable silverware, bamboo napkins, compostable cups. We must spend extra money to launder the table cloths every week and money for the premium cost of compostable products.

Updates

Tu Bi’Shvat Sutainability Awareness Weekend

Congregation Schara Tzedeck (Vancouver, British Columbia)

Project Description

We are planning on hosting a locally sourced vegan Shabbat dinner for the community that will be followed by a panel discussion on what we as both individuals and a community can do to make our lives eco-friendlier and more sustainable. We hope to have the Rabbi include something environment focused in his Shabbat drasha and potentially changing kiddush for the week to include more local products. We are also contemplating several other ideas to incorporate in the weekend.

Updates

Litterless Lunches

Vancouver Talmud Torah (Vancouver, British Columbia)

Project Description

We aim to be a Litterless Lunch school starting next September 2023. We will be introducing our school community to the concept this year with a monthly Student & Staff Litterless Lunch. Students are encouraged to pack a lunch with as minimal waste as possible which encourages thoughtful and healthy choices (like fruits and vegetables), and avoiding single-use food items with its own package (often highly processed, high in sugar, and lacking nutrients). Any organic or plastic waste will be sent home in the child’s lunch kit.
We aim to do a cafeteria waste audit this year as well to ensure that our catering practices align with this litterless lunch vision.

Updates

After School Care reduces single-use waste

Vancouver Talmud Torah (Vancouver, British Columbia)

Project Description

Our after-school care program sent an email home asking parents to send a reusable cup and bowl or plate with their child for shared snacks from communal packages or platters. This reduces singular packaged food items and plateware waste. It has been well received by the community.

Updates

Near Zero Waste Staff Meetings

Vancouver Talmud Torah (Vancouver, British Columbia)

Project Description

Prior to the monthly staff meeting, an email is sent out with a reminder of the meeting and for all staff to bring their own reusable cup, plate and cutlery if they would like to partake in snacks provided. Snacks are vegan and kosher, and offered on platters (not individually packaged).
Need to remind office staff not to put out single use items or napkins so that they are not used and wasted.

Last year, staff were gifted reusable cutlery sets.

Updates

Camp Kennedy Phase One

The Fresh Air Society (Ortonville, Michigan)

Project Description

In the first phase of funding for Camp Kennedy in the Upper Peninsula, we will be purchasing a bear proof composting bin, and reusable plastic bags for backcountry trips. This will enable us to compost our food scraps, and reduce our single use plastic.

Updates

Departmental Environmental Impact Audits

Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver (Vancouver, British Columbia)

Project Description

We have representatives from each department on our green team and each department will be conducting an audit of their operations. The departments are Campaigns, Accounting, IT, Events, Foundations, Executive , Office
Local Community Engagement, Israel Community Engagement, JWest Building Team, and Marketing.

Some changes that have been made so far are: campaigns switching from paper to virtual thank you, switching to default electronic tax receipts, using to vegan, kosher caterers when available, and defaulting to dairy meals otherwise

Each department that has event will have their own sustainability checklist.

Updates

Office Green

Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver (Vancouver, British Columbia)

Project Description

We are progressiving reducing the environmental impact of our office space. We recently just started collecting compost, which is now being sent to the JCC’s compost system.

Updates

Green Fund for Hillel Knesset

Hillel Day School (Farmington Hills, Michigan)

Project Description

The Hillel Knesset will be comprised of a group of 15 students from grades 3-8. The Knesset will identify areas that they would like to strengthen within the school community. They will be focusing on Hillel’s Core Values, which include Tikkun Olam (and other Jewish values). Within this focus, students will identify ways that the Hillel community can become a more green and environmentally aware community. They will discuss and propose initiatives to pursue within the school and beyond. Ultimately, they will choose an initiative that aligns with this core value to enact this school year.

The Green Fund (funding by this mini-grant) would allow these students to have the resources necessary to implement their initiative. Examples of initiatives might include:inviting a speaker to educate students and staff on environmental issues, improving our waste and recycling system, sponsoring a school-wide audit to identify areas of improvement, sponsoring an environmental program in the school, or other green initiatives that the students are passionate about.

Updates

Greening the Negev

Adat Shalom Synagogue (Farmington Hills, Michigan)

Project Description

As a component of our immersive Israel playscape (grant through Hermelin-Davidson), we are building out a full size greenhouse and using drip irrigation and other conservation methods to teach about bringing greenery and food production to the Negev desert. Right now we are in the planning and development phases, and would like to use the funding to develop the curriculum and purchase supplies for this part of the project. However, due to such things as permits and board approvals along the way, it will likely not be functional until early next year.

Updates

Reducing Food Waste

Hillel of Metro Detroit (Detroit, Michigan)

Project Description

Hillel of Metro Detroit will purchase eco-friendly to-go containers so students can take home leftovers after a program. If there is still leftovers, the food will be packaged and put into a community fridge.

Updates

Replace lighting with LED lighting

Beth Israel – The West Temple (Cleveland, Ohio)

Project Description

Replace all incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs with LED bulbs.

Updates

Replace single pane windows in sanctuary lobby

Beth Israel – The West Temple (Cleveland, Ohio)

Project Description

Given limited funds, replace the single pane windows in the main sanctuary lobby with more insulative glass block.

Updates

Food Waste awareness campaign

Congregation Beth Ahm (West Bloomfield, Michigan)

Project Description

The GT will be hosting a variety of educational and participatory events over a 2-3 month span of time focusing on food waste awareness. Potential topics include composting with a trial, food preservation hands-on presentation, educational topics of interest via email/video. Plan to present and complete in Fall of 2022.

Updates