Summary: Dr. Mirele Goldsmith explains the background, purpose, and stunning accomplishments of the first cohort group of the Jewish Greening Fellowship, a campaign of the UJA-Federation of New York to green Jewish institutions.
The Jewish Greening Fellowship was designed, implemented and directed by [Rachel] Jacoby Rosenfield. A key decision was made to provide funding directly to each agency to defray the expense of the staff time devoted to the fellowship. By supporting the salary of the fellow, the fellowship was able to insist that every fellow spend four to six hours per week on greening activities. Agencies in the fellowship also could apply for additional matching funds to help them meet the requirements of the fellowship. All together, agencies received between $15,000 and $20,000 each.
Participating agencies were expected to set goals to be accomplished during the period of the fellowship. Although there was plenty of room for the agencies to tailor the goals to their own situations, expectations were high. Every agency was required to complete an energy audit. Each agency also set goals in seven required categories: implement facility energy efficiency upgrades, improve sustainable operations, create educational programming, inspire cultural and behavioral change, facilitate youth involvement, heighten community engagement, and build community partnerships.
Dr. Mirele Goldsmith is the director of the Jewish Greening Fellowship, an initiative of the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, and principal of Green Strides Consulting. Her clients have included UJA-Federation of New York, BBYO International, the Foundation for Jewish Camp and the Supportive Housing Network of New York’s Green Housing Initiative. She is a Strategic Sustainability Consulting-certified Green Auditor, and she serves on the boards of Hazon and the American Friends of the Heschel Center for Environmental Learning and Leadership. Goldsmith is also the lead organizer of Jews Against Hydrofracking. She completed her doctorate in environmental psychology at the City University of New York.
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