All Projects and Updates

Congregation Etz Chaim Environmental Task Force

Congregation Etz Chaim (Lombard, ILLINOIS)

Project Description

To address climate change and pollution through education and action.

Updates

December 22, 2020:

We presented a program on climate change and the significance of trees, we have posted information to help congregants recycle, reuse and reduce, we obtained a no idling sign for the parking lot, we are planning additional projects focusing on trees and recycling.

Improvidng Building Sustainability

Town and Village Synagogue (New York, New York)

Project Description

T&V is upgrading its building. A fund raising effort is underway. A new sustainable HVAC system is included in this project.

Updates

Providing Healthy Options at Kiddush

Town and Village Synagogue (New York, New York)

Project Description

Once T&V reopens, we will work with the Kiddush Committee to offer avegetarian/vegan option on Shabbat

Updates

December 9, 2021:

We installed solar panels on the rooftops of 4 lodge buildings

The Green Team at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale-The Bayit

Hebrew Institute of Riverdale (Riverdale, New York)

Project Description

Because we cannot have any events or in person meetings right now, we plan on the following activities in 2021:
1. Continue to organize with the Riverdale Jewish community to increase our influence with local, state, and federal elected officials in order to promote climate and climate justice legislation.
2. Continue to meet as a group virtually in order to assess progress and consider new projects.
3. Continue to support the educational efforts of our Yeshiva Chovevei Torah to bring climate and environmental information and advocacy to the Orthodox and other Jewish denomination communities.
4. Continue to educate our congregation via flyers and newsletters about what they can do to protect the environment.
5. Work more closely with our education department to bring youth into our climate activities.

Updates

December 29, 2020:

The Green Team at the Hebrew Institute og Riverdale–The Bayit

Hebrew Institute of Riverdale (Riverdale, New York)

Project Description

Our Work falls into three categories:
1. To make our building as energy efficient and green as possible
2. To adopt food policies for our congregation that emphasize plant-based menus, reduction of food waste, and composting
3. To advocate with elected officials and others on behalf of confronting the climate crisis and promoting climate justice.

Updates

December 20, 2020:

1. We have conducted energy audits prior to 2020 and all possible procedures for energy efficiency are now in place.
2. Because no events are now occurring in our building due to the pandemic, we have communicated with members of the congregation via flyers and newsletters about how they can continue to recycle, eat plant-based foods, avoid food waste, and compost.
3. We have met virtually with our state and federal elected officials and successfully convinced them to support climate-appropriate legislation.

Solar Power for outdoor spaces

Hillel at Colorado State University (Fort Collins, Colorado)

Project Description

Install solar powered lighting for our new outdoor shed and picnic table area

Updates

Compost and Recycling Program

Ramah in the Rockies (Denver, Colorado)

Project Description

Continuing to improve systems for waste at Ramah in regards to food waste and more efficent/effective recyling systems.

Updates

December 17, 2020:

Even with a lost summer up at camp and no programming going on we were still committed to recycling and composting. With appx 6 staff doing work on our site all summer we were still able to use our own composters at camp. We also committed to taking our recycling down to Denver as it was much cheaper than having it picked up for us. I personally took down 2-3 garbage 55 gal garbage bags worth of recycling every 2 weeks.

New Health Center

Ramah in the Rockies (Denver, Colorado)

Project Description

Building a new energy efficient, green building for our health center.

Updates

December 17, 2020:

We just finished this past summer one of our last major construction projects with our new Health Center. It is a 5,500 sq ft 2 story building that will act as our Health Center over the summer and extra retreat housing during the off season. The whole building is all solar powered and we also have geothermal heating throughout. This is just the beginning of our hopes of more renewable energy sources up on our ranch.

CSU Hillel Ram Kibbutz

Hillel at Colorado State University (Fort Collins, Colorado)

Project Description

Our mission is to foster and showcase urban farming techniques with the joy of a collaborative, supportive and sustainable community, infused with the wisdom of Tikun Olam values and a deep love and compassion for our earth.

Established in the Summer of 2020, this Pandemic Project started with the need to re-home three adorable, Plymouth Rock, soon to be homeless chickens (currently named, Bestie, Cupcake and Chester – we are working on a fundraiser and program to give them Hebrew names). CSU Hillel spent the summer rehabbing the chicken coop in the back of the Hillel house and setting up a loving home for our newly adopted chickens!
With the inspiration from our newest CSU Hillel Members (the chickens!), the vision and dream of our CSU Hillel Ram Kibbutz came to life.

Updates

December 17, 2020:

Over the past six months we have successfully rehomed chickens and set up a loving home, created a compost system, created a team of student volunteers and a paid internship for our Sustainability Program Lead, as well as developed a swag and a marketing campaign.
Also, this past November we were able to fundraise enough money to purchase a shed, outdoor picnic tables and to increase our paid internship opportunities.

The Greening of the T&V Infrastructure

Town and Village Synagogue (New York, New York)

Project Description

Plans are currently in development to upgrade T&V’s infrastructure

Updates

December 16, 2020:

Increasing Community Involvement in the Green Effort

Town and Village Synagogue (New York, New York)

Project Description

The initial goal was to work with the T&V Hebrew School to increase youth interest in involvement in the Green Task Force.

Updates

December 16, 2020:

The Green Committee expanded its initial membership, with many of the original members replaced by an active cohort of about 15 members including two youth from the Hebrew School. The focus on the Hebrew School Community had to take a back seat given a change in leadership in July and alterations in the curriculum in the Fall

Increase Vegan Options at Kiddush

Town and Village Synagogue (New York, New York)

Project Description

The goal was to increase the number of vegetarian and vegan only Shabbat Kiddushim

Updates

December 16, 2020:

We sponsored two Green Kiddushim, one that served vegetarian and one that was totally vegan. Members of the Green Team prepared such foods as apple crisp, apple squash soup, corn and bean salad, vegan cake and challah, and order a vegetarian/vegan cholnt and chile from the caterer. Jodi Graber from JVeg spoke about the benefits of a vegetarian diet after one of these Kiddushim and on a panel with physicians on the same topic in November 2020.

T&V Synagogue Green Project

Town and Village Synagogue (New York, New York)

Project Description

Where are we as a community? This is a new project. A Green Survey was conducted to assess what T&V households are doing in terms of sustainable activities in their home, preferences for more sustainable Kiddushim, and preferences for learning opportunities related to sustainability.

Updates

December 16, 2020:

Seventy-nine people responded, almost three-quarters (73.1%) of whom were 55 years or older, an over representation of this age group which constitutes about half of T&V’s membership.

TreesforlifeIRC

Temple Beth Shalom (Vero Beach, Florida)

Project Description

We are part of a project to plant 100000 new trees in our county in the next 10 years.

Updates

December 15, 2020:

We have partnered with one community organization to generate fruit trees that can be given out in the community. We have identified a few locations to do mass tree plantings.

(Virtual) Earth Day Program – Sunday April 25, 2021

Congregation Agudath Israel of West Essex (Caldwell, New Jersey)

Project Description

We will be engaging Dr. Jeremy Benstein – I’m sure Hazon is familiar with him – but this is from his Linked In page:
I [Dr. Benwstein] am (still) a founder and senior staffer at the Heschel Center for Sustainability. We train, nurture and connect a committed, creative, multi-disciplinary cadre of change agents to promote Israel as a sustainable society – meaning a strong, democratic economy in a resilient just society made of vibrant communities in a healthy and productive environment – for ourselves and future generations. Now, we are crucially involved in helping to shape Israel’s response to the climate crisis, including expanding the movement for sustainability to other social change organizations, and influencing government policy on renewable energies and climate policy.

Will will be working with him to refine the specific topics he will cover.

Updates

May 11, 2021:

On April 25, 2021, CAI conducted a virtual Earth Day celebration. The CAI Education Committee co-sponsored the event with the CAI Environmental Committee. The celebration began with a d’var torah by our Associate Rabbi, Ari Lucas. Tov M’Od, the young children’s choir, sang “This Pretty Planet.” Our featured speaker was Dr. Jeremy Benstein, who did his usual wonderful job educating us about climate change and other important environmental issues.

(Virtual) Tu B’Shavat Seder – January 2021/5781

Congregation Agudath Israel of West Essex (Caldwell, New Jersey)

Project Description

We will be conducting a Zoom virtual seder for the evening January 27, 2021. As we did last year -we will be using Hazon’s Tu B’Shavat Haggadah as a framework – but with our own liturgical changes. We will have to adjust our presentation for the virutal presentation (last year was very hands on – smelling, tasting etc.) One way we plan to handle this by making up bags to be delivered to participants beforehand with various materials including some foods.

Updates

February 4, 2021:

The virtual Tu B’Shevat Sedar was co-sponsored by our Education Department, and was attended by Rabbi Lucas, Cantor Caplan, Susan Werk, our Educational Director, all of whom spoke and/or sang at the event, and three congregational rabbis. Jewish National Fund supplied bags and goodies for event participants and presented two videos about JNF’s work in preserving Israel’s environment. Each participant received a Sedar bag containing wine, seven foods, seeds for planting, and the Hazon hagaddah, which guided the service. We had singing, break-out sessions to address the questions in the Hazon hagaddah, and a yoga break, and watched a video on how to make babka. The event lasted 2 hours.

November 30, 2021:

Vegan/Vegetarian Interfaith Holiday Cookbook

Congregation Agudath Israel of West Essex (Caldwell, New Jersey)

Project Description

Congregation Agudath Israel’s Environmental Committee is working with CAI’s Interfaith Committee to produce a holiday cookbook containing only vegan and vegetarian recipes. Several local non-Jewish houses of worship are participating in developing this book.

Updates

December 13, 2020:

CAI was able to get several organizations to commit to and work on this project.

November 30, 2021:

Nourishing Our Souls Cookbook is now available for purchase ($18)! It is a new vegetarian and vegan cookbook brought to you by CAI’s Environmental and Interfaith Committees. Introductions written by Rabbi Ari Lucas, Sister Honora Werner and Hakan Yesilova share the backgrounds of vegetarianism from Jewish, Christian and Muslim perspectives. All proceeds from the cookbook will be donated to local food banks, in collaboration with the Social Action Committee.

The cookbook features over 75 recipes from our congregation and broader community, including beverages, appetizers, soups, salads, side and main dishes, desserts, baked goods, and holiday dishes from our interfaith community. Discover what your fellow congregants and neighbors are eating, including: “Not your Mother’s Applesauce”, “Tofu Scramble”, “Fireplace Hot Not Milk”, “Colcannon”, “Cuban Black Beans”, and much more!

A Different Kind of Heroism: Combating Climate Change by What We Eat

Congregation Agudath Israel of West Essex (Caldwell, New Jersey)

Project Description

Jonathan Safran Foer, the author of three award-winning and best-selling novels and several non-fiction book, spoke at a virtual gathering. The St. Aloysius Green Team of Caldwell co-sponsored the event. Congregation Agudath Israel applied $500 of its Mini-Food Grant from Hazon to pay Mr. Foer. The topic of the seminar was tying food choices to their impacts on the world’s climate.

Updates

December 13, 2020:

Not applicable

End Poverty Now

Congregation Agudath Israel of West Essex (Caldwell, New Jersey)

Project Description

John Craig, CAI member, spoke about End Poverty Now, a no-for-profit organization for which he is executive director. The organization is focused on the Sahel, specifically Niger. It organizes farmers into cooperatives to improve farming practices, and make them more sustainable. It encourages the use of advanced irrigation, using solar panels as energy sources, and integrated pest management, which includes minimizing the use of pesticides.

Updates

December 13, 2020:

Not applicable

Lawn to Garden at Beth Israel

The Center for Small Town Jewish Life (Waterville, Maine)

Project Description

This spring, we worked with the board at Beth Israel Congregation in Waterville to install, fill, and plant two large raised beds on the property—converting the lawn behind the patio into a vegetable garden.

Our rabbi took produce with her on pastoral visits throughout the summer, and community members were encouraged to come help themselves to produce as well. The beds offered the community a tangible touchpoint for our community during a season when so much of our Jewish lives are taking place virtually. It also felt good to repurpose the lawn into a productive garden

We planted cherry tomatoes, carrots, radishes, nasturtium, eggplant, and cucumbers. We planted lots of herbs and made little fresh besamim bundles for folks to use during Havdalah throughout the season. The opportunity to say “borei peri ha’adamah” over food grown on the synagogue’s ground was very meaningful.

The Beth Israel patio is very exposed to Main street, so in addition to the raised beds we also planted four native elderberry bushes that we hope will grow and provide privacy from the street.

We are eager to plant again next year, and I am so proud of this addition to the synagogue property.

Updates

December 11, 2020:

We went from having no garden at Beth Israel to a robust garden that delighted community members and gave them an opportunity to physically connect with the synagogue and Jewish community despite the limitations of COVID.