Eight Reform synagogues to pilot ‘greening’ initiative

(JTA) — Eight Reform synagogues in New Jersey have signed on to become movement leaders in greening their facilities.

The synagogues will pilot a new collaboration of the Union for Reform Judaism, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and GreenFaith, an organization that helps houses of worship become environmental leaders.

The synagogues will take part in the GreenFaith Certification Program, a two-year process that will certify them as GreenFaith Sanctuaries.

Each participating synagogue has formed a "Green Team" and passed a board resolution endorsing the certification program. Over the next two years, each will create an action plan based on a comprehensive audit, green its facilities and operations, conduct environmental justice education and advocacy, offer environmentally themed worship services and education programs, and publicize its work in local media outlets.

At the end of the process, the eight synagogues will serve as mentors to other Reform institutions that want to green their own facilities.

The participating synagogues are Temple Shalom in Aberdeen; Temple Emanu-El in Edison; Barnert Temple in Franklin Lakes; Temple Shaari Emeth in Manalapan; Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple in New Brunswick; Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel in South Orange; Temple Shalom in Succasunna; and Temple Sinai of Bergen County in Tenafly.

New Jersey congregations were chosen so the movement’s New York-based leadership can keep in close touch with them.

The Rev. Fletcher Harper, GreenFaith’s executive director, said this marks the first Jewish participation in the national interfaith environmental project.

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