All Projects and Updates

Seasonal Climate Action Programming – SUMMER NATIVE PLANTING 101

Beth El Synagogue (St. Louis Park, Minnesota)

Project Description

Last year our congregation implemented “Seasonal Climate Action” programing for our congregants. It has been challenging keeping momentum going but we are proud of several events we held thus far.
I will submit separate projects for each.

On August 8th, 2021, Our Climate Action Team hosted a “Native Planting 101: Landscaping for a Changing Climate” program that took place on our synagogue property.

Green Team member Heidi McCalla, together with Rabbi Davis, met to explore how to use native prairie plants to create lawns and gardens that are sustainable and adapt to changing climate conditions. The 15-20 participants learned why landscaping with native plants is better for the environment and how planting native prairie flowers and grasses can add beauty and bio-diversity to your yard. There were a variety of prairie plants available to see to implement in their own prairie landscaping and participants got to leave with one of their own!

We received great feedback on this event.

Updates

Farber Farm Calendar Garden Raised Beds

Tamarack Camps (Ortonville, Michigan)

Project Description

The Farber Farm at Tamarack Camps is seeking a $1,000 grant from Hazon to put towards our new raised beds in our Calendar Garden. Currently, a quarter of our large calendar garden is extremely difficult to cultivate. The soil profile is very dense, floods often, and not many plants are happy there. After 5 seasons of attempting to cultivate in-ground growth, we have concluded that the best way forward would be to install raised beds instead.

The raised beds will be made up of artfully placed “Country Line” stainless steel campfire rings filled with a top quality compost/loam soil mix. Below the rings, we will landscape fabric the soil for ease of upkeep and apply a thick layer of woodchips over the top.

These raised beds will be where we grow our calendar garden crops. In addition to the better growth habitat for the plants, these raised beds will be easier for young children and elderly folks to access and work with.

Updates

Terrace Design & Landscaping Work

B’nai Jeshurun (New York, New York)

Project Description

In Summer of 2022, we completed a redesign of the green spaces on our terrace. We worked with consultants to design green walls and benches along two walls of our terrace, which allows for a therapeutic and social garden space at our synagogue. All of the materials used were chosen with sustainability, longevity and environmental value in mind, including cedar lumber, a drought-tolerant and lightweight gaia soil system, an irrigation system, biodiverse native pollinator plants and species which are designed to be a haven for bees and butterflies, and green walls which combat urban heat island and offer filtration for both air and noise pollution.

Updates

Lox-free Kiddush

B’nai Jeshurun (New York, New York)

Project Description

In an effort to reduce our community’s purchasing and consumption of animal-based food and increase our plant-based food offerings, we have eliminated smoked salmon as a standard item offered during our weekly Kiddush offerings.

Updates

Food Waste & Rescue

B’nai Jeshurun (New York, New York)

Project Description

We are partnering with Rescuing Leftover Cuisine to donate all leftover, unused food from events at BJ. They will be picking up every week after Kiddush so that leftover food from Shabbat dinners and Kiddush can be put to immediate use at organizations such as soup kitchens and shelters serving food insecure New Yorkers. This is connected to our big picture goal to reduce food waste. We are also redesigning our food ordering protocols and tracking systems to try to reduce our production of unused food overall.

Updates

Organics Compost / Recycling

Beth El Synagogue (St. Louis Park, Minnesota)

Project Description

In July 2021 we began instituting a synagogue wide organics/recycling program. This was challenging amidst pandemic conditions but when we began our Hazon Seal, this we bean to formalized Beth El’s Climate Action Team and Waste Watchers to support our efforts at synagogue functions.

Our kiddish luncheons have two – three main stations.
Dawning Green Aprons with a creatively designed button alerted congregants to our new presence and let them know we were there to ask questions about this new transition.

The staff kitchen now has compost recycling as well as the main catering kitchen. The custodial staff has been trained throughly and are very supportive of this change.

This particular waste management initiative is ever evolving and tweaking as we return to open buffet kiddish, full synagogue systems back in place.

Updates

WRSSJCC Tikkun Olam Project 5783: Climate Action

White Rock South Surrey Jewish Community Centre (Surrey, British Columbia)

Project Description

Tikkun Olam, “repairing the world,” is a central tenant of Jewish culture. These days, it is hard to think about repairing the world without thinking of Climate Change. For our 5783 Tikkun Olam project centring climate action, the WRSSJCC we would like to host 3 consecutive Tuesday evenings of informative yet hopeful documentary film nights featuring climate change (1. A life on this Planet with David Attenborough 2. Kiss the Ground and 3. Biggest Little Farm) with a vegetarian dinner served, followed by a 30 mins conversation/debrief where participants commit to something to think about, research, or an action item. This portion of the initiative is sponsored by a Small Neigbourhoods Grant. The group that participates in the film series would be considered our “green team.” In early March, the WRSSJCC will host an author Q&A night with public policy researcher and author Seth Klein. The Green Team will be invited to a small group dinner with Seth Klein before the author Q&A to explore creating our community’s climate action project based on the knowledge we gained and conversations we had. That climate action project will take place during Summer 2023.

Updates

Update Waste Sinage

Hillel BC Society (Vancouver, British Columbia)

Project Description

Waste is not going into the correct places much of the time. We will rearrange the bins (where and in what order people encounter them) and make new, clear (and hopefully encouraging) signage.

Updates

December 15, 2022:

Just rearranging the bins so that Compost is first and easiest helped a lot. It thankfully, didn’t increase the amount of non-compost that went into the bin either!

Community Food Relief Garden

Temple Emanu-El (Oak Park, Michigan)

Project Description

Temple Emanu-El Community Relief Garden
Start Date: Jan 1, 2022

Submitted: Dec 10, 2022

We rebuilt 11 of our 18 raised beds with grant money from Hazon and with Temple Emanuel donations. The funds paid for lumber. After rebuilding (a 4-week long project in the spring) we planted and maintained our community garden. All produce went to Yad Ezra. All of our costs (below) for this season have been met by funds from Hazon Seal of Sustainability Grant last December and from private donations.

Our 18 raised garden beds were originally constructed about 13 years ago, and most are in dire need of repairing and/or replacing. We had enough funds to repair 11 of the beds and wish to repair the remaining 7 in the early spring of 2023 before planting.

Compost used for the season was donated by Hazon, and we also used the municipal compost from the City of Oak Park.

We continued to use the wood chips for pathways from trees that were trimmed a year ago.

Other Season Chai-Lights of 2022 include:

· Over 136 lbs of food grown and donated to those in need, a 10% increase from last season.

· Over 280 volunteer hours provided by a dedicated core of 8 volunteers.

· Many seedlings started in Kelly’s (Our cantorial soloist) office in early spring by her 6th grade students.

· 11 beds repaired with grant money from Hazon.

· Luffa gourd tunnel built.

· Pollinator beds thrived this season with a visible increase in pollinators.

· Wood chip pile dispersed.

· One volunteer earned Master Gardener certification!

· Many more students involved than previous seasons, including 5th and 6th grade Yachad classes as volunteers, and all grades as visitors.

· Compost bin repaired and compost being made and used.

· 2nd plantings of beans and peas helped with production increase, with pea harvest going through late October.

· Succah decorations supplied by garden.

· Hazon Jewish Food Festival Garden display.

With a short break in November and December, we’ll be processing our luffa gourds into sponges with the 6th grade class and starting our spring seedlings in late winter.

Many other side effects that can’t be measured were seen this season, including new friendships formed and old friendships rekindled. Our partnerships with Yad Ezra and Hazon were strengthened, while volunteers were inspired by Mother Nature and by each other.

I was one of four employees selected from my parent company, Trustmark Inc., to feature our Community Garden in their Annual Giving Campaign. This is the link of the video that was sent to thousands of National employees of Trusmark: https://vimeo.com/759213208/cd4fd163e6

Updates

WRSSJCC Frock Swap

White Rock South Surrey Jewish Community Centre (Surrey, British Columbia)

Project Description

Mingle, enjoy homemade baked goods and a closet refresh, the green way at the WRSSJCC rock Swap! It’s estimated residents in the greater Vancouver area throw out about 20,000 tonnes of textiles each year, which is equivalent to the weight of 44 T-shirts per person.
Bring your washed + gently used women’s clothing to the JCC and/or take as much as you’d like (by donation) on Monday November 14th between 12:30-7:30pm! We will have refreshments, snacks and a mingle. Children welcome to play upstairs.

Updates

Tree Planting with City of Surrey

White Rock South Surrey Jewish Community Centre (Surrey, British Columbia)

Project Description

Members of the WRSSJCC were invited to participate in a tree planting event organized by the City of Surrey’s ReLeaf program, focused on renewing Surrey’s urban forest.

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