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MEDIA ADVISORY: Earth Day heralds funding of $65,000 for new Jewish environmental network

New York, New York (April 9, 2012) –The Nathan Cummings Foundation and the Morningstar Foundation have awarded the Green Hevra, a new network of U.S.-based Jewish environmental organizations, $65,000 in seed funding. With these funds the group will lay the groundwork for strategic collaboration across the Jewish environmental movement in 2012. “We believe that the global sustainability challenge is analogous to the civil-rights campaigns of an earlier time,” said Sybil Sanchez, director of the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, the organization charged with administering the group. “Just as the Jewish community joined with others to provide leadership in that time, today we’re mobilizing the Jewish community to rise to the environmental challenge.” “The Jewish environmental movement has the potential for real impact,” said Rabbi Jennie Rosenn of the Nathan Cummings Foundation. “But to do that, they need to work together much more strategically.” In recent years, the movement has grown, applying ancient Jewish wisdom to modern environmental challenges. The Green Hevra, Hebrew for “green community”, is fostering growth by sharing strategic knowledge with partner organizations and identifying opportunities for collaboration. The day after Earth Day, the Green Hevra will gather in person through professionally facilitated meetings to identify strategic opportunities for cooperation and impact. It also will map the field of the Jewish environmental movement and develop a plan for broader engagement. “As the field grows, we must take the time to foster trust and forge a collective strategic vision with accompanying partnerships in order to take our movement to the next level,” said Evonne Marzouk, director of Canfei Nesharim and a co-founder of Jewcology.com, the Jewish environmental web portal and a focus of the Green Hevra’s outreach efforts. Inspired by the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable, a similar movement-building initiative founded in 2009, the Green Hevra is a network of national and regional Jewish environmental organizations. While membership is expected to expand in the coming years, the group’s initial 15 members are: Baltimore Jewish Environmental Network; Canfei Nesharim; Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL) / Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA); Eden Village Camp; Green Zionist Alliance; Hazon; Jewish Farm School; Jewish Reconstructionist Federation; Kayam Farm at Pearlstone; Neohasid.org; Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism; Shalom Center; Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center; Teva Learning Alliance; and Wilderness Torah. Contact: Sybil Sanchez, Director, Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life/Jewish Council for Public Affairs; Tel. (212) 684-2513; ssanchez@coejl.org.

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