JTA announces first Green Beanie Awards


NEW YORK (JTA) — In conjunction with this year’s Tu B’Shevat holiday, JTA is sponsoring a contest to find the best Jewish environmental initiatives.

The first Green Beanie Awards will be handed out to 10 synagogues, schools, community centers and other Jewish institutions with “green” projects that have shown significant impact or innovative interpretation.

Entrants will be judged by staff from Hazon, whose vision is to “create a healthier and more sustainable Jewish community”; the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, which seeks to expand the contemporary understanding of such Jewish values as tikkun olam, or repairing the world, and tzedek, or justice; and the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, which recently founded Adamah: The Jewish Environmental Fellowship, a leadership training program for Jewish young adults that teaches the vital connection between Judaism and environmental stewardship.

Applications can be filled out online at JTA.org/greenbeanie. Initiatives must have been undertaken in 2008 or be slated to launch in time for Tu B’Shevat in February. Applicants can include links to video or photos of the project. The deadline for applications is Jan. 23.

Winners will be announced in conjunction with a special section titled “Eco Jews: Traditions and Trends in Jewish Environmentalism,” that will appear Feb. 1-11 on JTA’s Web site.

The section is timed to coincide with Tu B’Shevat, often called the “New Year for the Trees,” which is increasingly becoming a time that Jewish organizations and synagogues consider environmental issues through a Jewish lens.

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