February 25, 2020

Conservative movement launches ‘green’ initiative

The Conservative movement has launched a movement-wide environmental initiative.

Called the Sustainable Synagogues Initiative, the project seeks to provide resources to encourage Conservative institutions to adopt “green” policies.

The initiative is a joint project of the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs, the Women’s League for Conservative Judaism and the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which have joined the interfaith environmental coalition GreenFaith in what the latter’s leadership calls “the most comprehensive, denomination-wide effort on the environment we’ve ever seen.”

The initiative will unfold over three years, beginning in December with the release of the first resource focusing on energy conservation and renewable energy. Two free resources will be issued each year to help congregations and households address environmental concerns. Materials will be provided to help congregations incorporate environmental practices into their daily functioning and educational curricula, as well as giving tips to individuals to use at home.

Later this fall, a yearlong webinar hosted by the Jewish National Fund will teach synagogues about water and energy conservation. A select number of Conservative synagogues and leaders will be offered scholarships to the GreenFaith Certification and Fellowship program, a multi-faith religious-environmental education and training program.

The Sustainable Synagogues Initiative grew out of conversations between Rabbi Charles Simon of the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs and Rabbi Lawrence Troster of GreenFaith in Israel in 2008.