Posts Tagged: Sustainability Results 11
The second semester of my freshman year of college, I was lucky enough to study abroad at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Although I’d been to Israel before on school, family, and youth group trips, my study abroad experience gave me a deeper experience of, and as a result, commitment to, the country than I’d ever had before. I got to explore the places that don’t usually appear on tourist itineraries and make friends with both native Israelis and Palestinians. Because I was so young when I studied abroad, it also happened that I learned how to do my own grocery shopping in the Israeli shuk. As anyone who’s been to Israel knows, the shuk is loud, colorful, and bustling - a far cry from the tidy fluorescent-lit Costco aisles I was used to commanding with my mother on Thursday afternoons.
Introducing Rabbi Barry Kenter and his synagogue, the Greenburgh Hebrew Center, current fellows in the Jewish Greening Fellowship cohort! Kenter is an alumnus of the GreenFaith Fellowship as well, which seeks to “inspire, educate and mobilize people of diverse religious backgrounds for environmental leadership.” Though there is considerable overlap between the GreenFaith and Jewish Greening fellowships, Kenter notes that they differ because of the JGF’s uniquely Jewish mission.
Honestly, I don’t like beer. No matter how many Summer barbecues and picnics I have been to, nothing has changed. You would think that that would prevent me from appreciating the process that goes into making the “water of the gods,” as a professor of mine once called it. Yet, after speaking with Katie Wallace, the sustainability specialist from New Belgium Brewery, I received a glimpse into the beauty, connection, and sustainable practices that can go into making this “godly” beverage.
Over the past 6 months being a part of the Jewish Greening Fellowship has been a game changer for Kane Street Synagogue and for my work here. Many people at the synagogue were already passionate about the environment and sustainability, but we lacked direction. We felt like our concerns were peripheral to the educational and spiritual pursuits that are central to our congregational life.
If you’re like me, January prompts you to reexamine a few bothersome behaviors — and make a few (or more) resolutions for the coming year. Making resolutions is a dangerous proposition, of course. A strictly goal-oriented approach gives us a flat, “all or nothing” mandate that can lead to failure. By February, our resolution has dropped off our spiritual radar, and we marinate our inertia in the guilt of giving up. As the negative emotions pile up, we risk (as the rabbis say), “begetting one sin with another” — creating a vicious cycle that leaves us in a spiritual mess. Instead, let’s take a deeper approach. Make a few life adjustments — for promises that you can keep.