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When a group of us – congregants from University Synagogue in Los Angeles, CA – attended the Consultation on Conscience a few years ago, we learned about the GreenFaith Energy Shield, a program that encourages faith communities to reduce their carbon footprint. We returned home ready to put our faith into action.
With help from our then-rabbinic intern, the synagogue’s plant manager, and a team of lay leaders we installed energy efficient light bulbs and a solar powered eternal light; initiated a recycling program and recycled materials used in our building’s construction; began using zoned temperature controls within the building; planted an organic garden and began composting organic waste. Thanks to these energy improvements – which contribute to environmentally sound maintenance of our facility and our world – University Synagogue received a GreenFaith Shield, the first Reform synagogue to earn this honor.
The Shield not only recognizes our accomplishment, but also stands as a challenge, reminding us of what we must continue to do to change our collective culture and ensure our certificate does not merely hang on a wall. Rather, it must be inscribed on our hearts, prompting us to act – as we are commanded – to care for God’s creation. University Synagogue observes this commandment every day through our continued care of and consideration for the environment.
Here are eight things that helped our congregation – and can help yours, too – earn a GreenFaith Shield, making our community a holy place that does not destroy God's earth:
Our GreenFaith Energy Shield reminds us of our pledge to continue to commit ourselves – as a holy community – to protecting our environment. Likewise, it’s a great way to engage your congregation in environmentalism and greening.
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