Tag Archives: Environment

Green Shevat Challenge: Learn to Cook and Celebrate Tu BiSh’vat!

Welcome to the Jewish month of Shevat and (if you’re on the East Coast) to Storm Juno. While you’re inside waiting out the snow, take this time as an opportunity to take the Green Sh’vat Challenge and make your life a little greener. Unfortunately, massive snowstorms don’t counteract the fact that climate change is real, human-caused and happening quickly. The Green Shevat Challenge is one small, easy way to reduce our carbon footprint by making small changes to our daily routines.

This is my challenge to you: during the month of Shevat, make home-cooked meals. While cooking may seem at first to be unrelated to climate change, making meals at home is significantly cheaper, healthier, more energy efficient and produces less waste than eating out. Check out this video by Grist with How to Cook Everything author Mark Bittman on the environmental benefits of cooking at home.

As Jews, cooking, eating, and sharing food is an integral part of our tradition and our culture. We have a history of being an agricultural people and of celebrating everything from the end of the week to each of our holidays by eating together. In the month of Sh’vat we celebrate Tu BiSh’vat, the New Year of the Trees. For many, the holiday includes hosting a Tu BiSh’vat Seder to celebrate as a community the beginning of the spring harvest. Bring your friends and family together for a Tu BiSh’vat Seder and home cooked meal to both learn about environmentalism in our tradition and to minimize your negative impact on the environment as we celebrate. You can check out the Religious Action Center’s environmental Tu BiSh’vat Seder here.

If you’re interested in doing more, tell Congress that you support the Green Climate Fund to protect vulnerable populations from the dangers of climate change or talk to your congregation about enrolling for GreenFaith’s Energy Efficiency Certification. You can take a look at my Green Tevet Challenge to recycle old electronics and my Green Kislev Challenge to use energy efficient light bulbs for more greening ideas!

Happy New Year to the Trees!

Tu BiSh’vat, also known as Chamishah Asar BiSh’vat (the fifteenth day of the month of Shevat) is commonly known as the New Year for trees and falls this year on February 3. Historically, it was the date on which trees in Israel were determined to be mature enough for their fruit to be harvested. Tu BiSh’vat was the date designated because by then, the early winter rains had largely subsided and the period of “budding” was just commencing, making the holiday a celebration of renewal.

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picture of sign outside cape cod synagogue

Doing Well by Doing Good

Doing the right thing paid off at the bottom line. How often can you say that about doing a mitzvah? My experience with solar power at the Cape Cod Synagogue has been just that: our investment in renewable energy has been a positive for the environment, an expression of our Jewish values, and a net budgetary savings. Read more…

Neesh Noosh recipe

Bo: Liberation

By Sarah Newman

This piece is crossposted from Neesh Noosh.

This week, in Bo, the remaining three plagues—locusts, darkness and the death of first-born sons–-are inflicted upon the Egyptians. While Egypt was shrouded in darkness, “all Israelites enjoyed light in their dwellings” (Bo, 10: 23).  How, despite the plagues and the continuing hardening of Pharaoh’s heart, did the Israelites live at the precipice of freedom and eventually gain freedom?

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President Obama at the State of the Union 2014

#SOTU Preview

On Tuesday night, the Sergeant-at-Arms for the House of Representatives will stand on the floor of the House chamber and announce to the assembled Members of Congress, Supreme Court Justices, Cabinet members, an array of guests in the gallery (including the First Lady and Dr. Biden) and millions of the American people watching live, “Mr. Speaker, the President of the United States!” This now-iconic declaration opens the State of the Union ceremony, as the President ascends the dais, hands copies of his speech to the Vice President and the Speaker of the House, and begins his address. Read more…

Urge Congress to Take Action for the Environment!

The 114th Congress has been in session for just a little over a week now and already we have seen that rollbacks on environmental protections are looking like a priority for many members over the course of the next two years. Here are a couple things to watch out for in the coming weeks and over the course of the 114th Congress: Read more…

Climate Impacts: Protecting Vulnerable Communities

January 6 marked the Epiphany for Christians around the world. But, epiphanies in my view happen to us all, and often at unplanned moments in our lives. Mine happened on a late August afternoon, days after Hurricane Katrina hit my hometown of New Orleans in 2005.

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Shedding Light on Lima: #LightForLIMA

By Fletcher Harper and Paul Kaufman

OurVoices and #LightForLIMA

OurVoices has emerged as the leading international, multi-faith campaign supporting a strong climate agreement. We were busy during the UN climate meetings in Lima!

In fifteen countries on four continents, and in countries vital to the negotiations, OurVoices organized vigils in support of strong agreement.  #LightForLIMA vigils took place adjacent to iconic locations (the White House, the Sydney Opera House, Jerusalem’s Jaffa Gate). They attracted international media coverage. They performed powerfully on social media, with the vigil’s hashtag attracting almost the same number of shares as the hashtag for the entire UN conference during the week of the vigils.

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