Rabbi Marla Feldman: ““Climate change is the crisis of our time, and we must confront this challenge in our individual and communal lives.”
Contacts: Emily Grotta, 212.650.4227
Rabbi Marla Feldman, 212.650.4000
NEW YORK, January 31, 2009— The Reform Jewish Movement today launched Greening Reform Judaism (www.urj.org/green), a comprehensive Web resource on greening and other environmental issues for use by its 900 congregations and their members across the United States and Canada.
“Climate change is the crisis of our time and we must confront this challenge in our individual and communal lives,” said Rabbi Marla Feldman, Director of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism. “While many of us have already begun to take steps, much work remains to be done to assist our congregations in managing their synagogue facilities and developing the mechanisms and resources to face environmental challenges.”
The Greening Reform Judaism web portal at www.urj.org/green has two primary audiences: individuals and congregational leaders. “Our goal is to help them incorporate an ethic of environmental stewardship into every aspect of Jewish life,” said Judith Erger, director of Communications and Special Projects for the Union’s Department of Synagogue Management. “Many of our congregations have already made considerable strides in this arena, and we are grateful for their leadership. But much remains to be done. Our goal is to provide congregational leaders with the tools and practical applications to manage sustainable sacred institutions, while also helping their members recognize the urgent need to follow the Jewish mandate to be stewards of the earth.”
Resources available include educational curricula, tools for an energy audit, worship materials, best practices from “green synagogues”, environmental holiday guides and resources on Israel and the Environment. The Greening Reform Judaism site also connects users to the environmental advocacy work of the Reform Movement’s Religious Action Center (www.rac.org) as well as resources from other environmental organizations.
“In the Book of Genesis, we are taught that God placed human beings in the Garden of Eden ‘to till and to tend it,’” said Rabbi Feldman. “With the launch of our Greening Reform Judaism website, we move forward as a Movement on the path to honor this call.”
The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 1,800 Reform rabbis.