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Jewish Energy Guide: Making your Synagogue a Green Holy Place

By Rabbi Lawrence Troster

Summary: Synagogues are important community spaces, but also important spaces for demonstrating a commitment to environmental values. Rabbi Lawrence Troster, the rabbinic director at J Street, provides detailed instructions on how to green your synagogue.

It is often the case that many religious communities have an initial burst of environmental programming that is often followed by a long period of inactivity. While all institutions need time to rest after launching a new initiative, the religious institutions that enjoy the most environmental success are the ones that demonstrate persistence, and that are disciplined and intentional about working their environmental plan.

There are several things you can do to help your synagogue build environmental momentum. Your Green Team can set a regular meeting date every four to six weeks to identify new activities and assess your progress. You can provide an article or an eco-tip for your congregation’s newsletter. You can meet with environmental leaders from your area, building important relationships. Persistence pays off, so work hard and you will succeed.

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Rabbi Lawrence Troster is the rabbinic director at J Street. An eco-theologian and environmental activist for more than 25 years, he previously worked as a rabbinic scholar-in-residence at GreenFaith, as a rabbinic advisor at Hazon, and as a rabbinic fellow at the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life. Author of the book, Mekor Hayyim: A Source Book on Water and Judaism, Troster also co-chaired the U.N. Environment Programme’s Interfaith Partnership for the Environment.



The Jewish Energy Guide presents a comprehensive Jewish approach to the challenges of energy security and climate change and offers a blueprint for the Jewish community to achieve a 14% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by September of 2014, which is the next Shmittah, or sabbatical, year in the Jewish calendar.

The Jewish Energy Guide is part of COEJL’s Jewish Energy Network, a collaborative effort with Jewcology’s Year of Action to engage Jews in energy action and advocacy. The guide was created in partnership with the Green Zionist Alliance.

Sign up here to join the Jewish Energy Network and receive weekly articles from the Jewish Energy Guide.

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  • Evonne Marzouk
    May 28, 2013 (11:41 am)

    We apologize for the spammed message which was sent to you yesterday as a comment on your “Jewish Energy Guide” blog posting. The comment has been deleted. Rest assured that all your information is secure. Thanks for posting on Jewcology!


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