Sunday morning, 12 people representing 9 synagogues gathered at my house as part of the BJEN (Baltimore Jewish Environmental Network) training kick-off for greening our local synagogues.
We studied Jewish text; reviewed our Green Covenant of Commitment (online at http://www.bjen.org along with our Green Synagogue guide) that participating synagogues will sign as an expression of their values, actions and commitment; we learned about energy audits and greening our simchas, where to find additional practical guidance and resources; and most of all, met to support each other as we all embark on this sacred task.
Each synagogue is approaching this effort in a way that is unique to its needs, demography and capacity. That is as it should be. Greening is not a one-size-fits-all enterprise. But it does have a few elements in come that we felt in abundance yesterday:
—a deep concern and conscientious awe for the natural world and the gifts it offers us
—an optimism and belief that we can make a difference, that the human spirit and technological advances can help us reverse this unsustainable lifestyle, even as they helped us get into it
—that living an environmentally aware and self-renewing (aka sustainable) life brings us meaning, purpose, joy and delight
—that being more aware of our consuming habits and of the origins of the things we eat and use and buy to live, and of all the people along the way who made getting that stuff possible, raises our appreciation for the miracles of life and all those who participated in the long process of enabling us to have what we have.
—a sense that we are privileged to be able to work on this effort
It was a moving, historic morning. Yasher koach, kudos, to all the participants and synagogues involved in greening Baltimore’s Jewish community. May your hard work see great results. And may you be satisfied with the fruit of your labor.