Conservatives launch green initiative

The Conservative movement launched a greening initiative in North America and Israel.

A project of the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs, the initiative kicks off with a solar Ner Tamid, or eternal light, for synagogues, and soy-based Shabbat eco-candles for home use. The candles have lead-free wicks and recyclable tins.

A third prong is encouraging community support for carbon offset programs in North America and Israel. The programs involve planting trees, cleaning rivers and performing other environmentally sustainable actions.

The fourth component is using biodegradable building and food service supplies. A joint purchasing agreement is in place to help Conservative institutions buy such products in bulk instead of non-reusable plates, cups and utensils.

“Being green is a Jewish imperative,” said Rabbi Charles Simon, the executive director of the men’s club federation. “Our goal is to reduce synagogue, and congregant and community energy usage, and promote the use of sustainable energy.”

Ten pilot congregations signed on to the effort July 1. More information is at www.solarcombo.com.

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