Green your synagogue: A unique way to reduce coal pollution

Susan Mlynarczyk

By Susan Mlynarczyk

In Midrash Ecclesiastes Rabbah, Jewish teaching urges “See to it that you do not spoil or destroy my world.  For if you do, there will be no one to repair it after you.”  

The Jewish Environmental Initiative (JEI), a committee of the Jewish Community Relations Council, is committed to educating the Jewish community about the connection between Judaism and the environment and to providing assistance to help individuals and congregations become more mindful of protecting the Earth in everyday life.  

An action-oriented program designed to help you save energy at home, as well as at your synagogue, will help you reduce energy use, and therefore, coal pollution. 

On Thursday July 31, you will be able to take a step toward the important work of tikkun olam, repairing and restoring the world.  Make a Difference:  Environmental Action for Your Home & House of Worship will feature KSDK Channel 5 award-winning meteorologist Mike Roberts and Rev. Dr. Gerald Durley, a national board member of Interfaith Power & Light, former pastor of the Providence Missionary Baptist Church of Atlanta, and an inductee into the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame.

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The event will include action break-out sessions for greening your home and greening your house of worship.  At both sessions there will be takeaway suggestions of how to get started in the process of reducing energy use.  The program is co-sponsored by JEI, Missouri Interfaith Power & Light (MO IPL), and the Missouri Gateway Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

There will also be information about the 25 percent by 20 Voluntary Energy Benchmarking campaign from the USGBC Missouri Gateway Chapter, which includes the possibility of a free house of worship energy audit for 8 to 12 congregations.

You can reduce energy use in your home, but have you also considered the energy savings that are possible if your synagogue becomes more energy efficient?  In addition to the opportunities for saving energy, cost savings can also be very helpful to synagogue budgets.  Opportunities to save energy in synagogues range from many that are quick and easy, all the way to energy audits and structural changes.

As it is written in Pirkei Avot, “You are not obligated to complete the task.  But neither are you free to desist from it.”  Join JEI on July 31 to learn how you can begin the task of reducing energy use in your own home or place of worship. 

Susan Mlynarczyk is Chair of JEI and a member of the Steering Committee of MO IPL.  “Make a Difference:  Environmental Action for your Home & House of Worship” takes place on July 31 at St. Louis Community College-Forest Park, Mildred E. Bastien Center for the Performing Arts, 5600 Oakland Avenue. Registration/networking is from 6:45 to 7 p.m. The program is from 7 to 9 p.m..  The event is free, but registration is required at Contact  [email protected] or 314-442-3894 for more information.