How Many Jews Does it Take to Screw in a Light Bulb?

December 2, 2014

Green Kislev and Hanukkah Challenge to Use CFL Light Bulbs

Welcome to December and the Jewish month of Kislev! Hanukkah, the Festival of Light, is just around the corner and as the days shorten towards the winter equinox later this month, it seems fitting to focus on how we light our houses for this month’s Green Challenge. There’s a lot that needs to be done to reduce carbon emissions and decrease our detrimental impact on the world around us, which can be a little overwhelming. Monthly greening challenges are meant to make that burden a little easier by shedding light on one small thing you – and I – can do this month to make a difference in our homes. This is my challenge to you: In the month of Kislev, I am going to replace my incandescent light bulbs with energy efficient compact fluorescent bulbs and I hope you’ll join me. Unlike traditional light bulbs, which produce huge amounts of heat in addition to light, compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) give off high-quality light using 25% of that electricity. In 2007, Congress passed a law signed by President Bush to phase out the most inefficient light bulbs called the Energy Independence and Security Act. While this legislation was a step in the right direction and encouraged the use of CFLs, it did not require households to use the more energy efficient light bulbs. has some useful tips for replacing your household lights with CFLs if you have any questions before you take my Green Kislev Challenge. Hanukkah, which begins on 25 Kislev, puts light at the core of our celebration, reminding us on cold and dark winter days how integral light is in our Jewish tradition. By replacing our light bulbs, we can minimize the damage done to our earth when we use unnecessary energy to light our homes and uphold our Jewish obligation not to destroy our earth and not to waste its resources, bal tashchit (Deuteronomy 20:19). If you’re interested in doing more for energy efficiency and social justice around Hanukkah, check out Sustaining the Light: A Social Justice Guide for Hanukah. Also, talk to your congregation about enrolling for GreenFaith’s Energy Efficiency Certification and register for the GreenFaith Energy Stewardship webinar series. You can take a look at my Green Tishrei Challenge to stop using plastic bags and Green Cheshvan Challenge to turn down your thermostat for more greening ideas!

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