Jewish Energy Guide: Engaging Teens in St. Louis

Summary: Gail Wechsler provides an overview of the successes of the Jewish Environmental Initiative (JEI), the environmental committee of the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis.

Israel isn't the only place where Jews can plant trees. Every year, members of the Jewish Environmental Initiative, a committee of the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis, plant trees here in St. Louis. Over the year, we have planted hundreds of trees, often partnering with groups from other faiths and engaging community members of all ages. In 2011, we joined with the First Baptist Church of Elmwood Park to plant trees in memory of Alfred Kahn, a Jewish environmental leader who co-founded the Jewish Environmental Initiative, and Ida Scott, an African-American community leader from the Elmwood Park Neighborhood.

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Gail Wechsler is director of domestic issues and social justice at the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis, and a staffer of the council’s St. Louis Jewish Environmental Initiative. She also staffs the interfaith Community Against Poverty Coalition and the Jewish Fund for Human Needs, which provides grants to non-Jewish agencies that help at-risk populations. Wechsler has a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University, a law degree from New York University and a master’s of library science degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

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.

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