FAQs: Becoming a Green Synagogue
What is a Green Synagogue?
A Green Synagogue is a congregation dedicated to integrating environmental concerns and behavior into every part of its mission, programs, and business. It is a congregation dedicated to limiting its negative impact on the environment, and inspiring its members to do the same. It is a congregation that stands as a leader and role model for environmentally sustainable living in the 21st century.
What is required of our congregation if we enter this network?
You would commit to several tasks:
- Begin a conversation with your Synagogue Board that explores the Jewish values that compel and inspire Jews to live a “green” lifestyle;
- Undertake an educational program of your choice that helps your congregants understand the urgent and fundamental intersection of Jewish values and environmental needs;
- Assess your energy usage to create a benchmark for future savings.
- Implement one additional project, program, or task selected and endorsed by the Board from the list of possible environmental activities listed in the following pages, in any of the categories (education, social action, or physical plant improvement); and
- Appoint a representative to sit on our congregational network committee and participate toward advancing the overall purposes and goals of the network.
What do we get out of becoming a Green Synagogue?
First and foremost, you will gain the satisfaction of contributing to a healthier, more sustainable, more spiritual, and more politically secure world.
In addition, as public awareness grows, and as the tide increasingly turns toward greener buildings and environmentally-sensitive business and consumer practices, your congregation will be on the cutting edge of environmental behavior and advocacy. By strengthening your green profile, you will also put your congregation on a more secure financial footing for the years ahead, as the costs for fossil fuel, consumer goods, water use, and waste management, among other things, continue to rise.
You will also gain tangible benefits from:
- The ability to connect and network with other local synagogues that are pursuing a common goal; and
- The informational and human resources made available by BJEN to help assess and train synagogue members in environmental initiatives, including ways to save money by going green, undertake an energy audit of your building, offering sessions on building, retrofitting, and maintaining a green building, finding financial incentives to green your life and your Congregation, curricular materials, and the ability to promote your congregation as a Green Synagogue.
How long does our Green Status last?
Green Synagogue Status must be renewed every two years.
We look forward to joining with you in this sacred endeavor.