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German Jews Go Green

In 2007 I traveled around Europe to train and organise environmental youth groups, network, give lectures and plant a seed of action. One of the biggest events of that year was the bianual convention of the Evangelical Church in Germany. I was invited to co-deliver the sermon with the topic: Climate Change And Everyones Responsibilities To Protect G_d's Creation. Beside this certainly making the top of my list wired things i have done I was impressed on how a contemporary issue like environmental justice was discussed in this setting.

So when I arrived back to Berlin I started researching on Judaism an d environmental issues. And I realised: Every religious Jew MUST be a dedicated environmentalist!

The reality in the community of course was and is something completely different. People got very defensive and angry when confronted with small issues like the obscene use of plastic dishes. I felt rejected. It was not that I had suggested raising pigs in the synagogue's backyard to reuse food waste – and yet, the reaction could have been worse. Even people who were kind of open to the subject seemed to think that it is enough buying yourself out of any responsibility by donating money for trees in Israel on Tu Bi'Shevat. Eventually I made peace with the fact that there is plenty of room for environmentalist action – but not within the congregation.

In 2012 we hosted a couchsurfer. David, a guy from the states visiting Berlin on a layover from Israel to New York. "What did you do in Israel?" "Attend an environmental conference." Oy, how much I love couchsurfing! Talking to him I realised that I still really long for some environmental action in the Jewish community and that I needed to take action. So my mind was set. However, I didn't exactly burst into activity until an invitation to a Sukkot celebration landed in my inbox. One of the hosts: an organisation called Jews Go Green. I was gasping for breath. Why have I never heard of them? Turns out that someone at the Central Council of Jews in Germany decided that there should be a Jewish environmental movement in Germany. So the task of establishing this was dropped on one young employee. Mazal Tov! So now this young woman, Agata Kaplon, struggles to raise awareness of water and waste issues in the sukka. yey!

And what a match made in heaven we are! Agata is involved in Jewish networks and knows how is how in the community while I can ship in with environmental expertise and contacts in that area. So now, 10 month later, Jews Go Green conducted several events including tree planting, ecologic and fair trade brunches and dinners, a storytelling workshop and a movie night. We have a growing number of activists and supporters, a road to follow and love in our hearts.

So this are the upcoming events of Jews Go Green:

Aug 11-14th: Leadership Training, Kaufungen

Aug 29th: Honey Harvest and Bee-Talk, Berlin

Sep ?: Planting Action, Berlin

Nov 17th: Mitzvah Day, all over (for more information visit:http://www.mitzvah-day.de/)

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