JRF is proud to announce that the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation (JRC) in Evanston, Ill. has been awarded First Place (tie) in the Jewish Telegraphic Agency's Greenie Beanie Awards, a special competition in honor of Tu B’Shevat. And on February 6-7, at JRC's Tu B'Shevat Seder & Scholar-in-Residence Shabbat, the congregation will be presented with the Shalom Center's Green Menorah Award.
As part of JRF's Sustainable Synagogue Initiative, JRC was acknowledged at the JRF 2008 biennial convention in Boston in November for being the "greenest shul in North America" and for its ongoing green policy development.
In 2008, this 475-member congregation became the first house of worship to secure a Platinum LEED certification, widely seen as the most difficult and expense "green" standard (see usgbc.org for more info on LEED certification). Starting with nothing more than a commitment to define themselves as stewards of the Earth and to take seriously the Jewish value of bal taschit (do not waste), members of the shul's board passed a unanimous statement declaring their intention to build as green as 'feasible' as they planned for their new communal home. Further, to develop its commitment into everyday practice both communally and personally, the congregation developed "Green Living Policies,” a document approved by its board to guide the congregation in responsible building/operations practices. The synagogue's website is both inspirational and instructive, showing how much can be done with good intentions. The two Greenest Beanies are splitting the $360 first-place prize courtesy of the Jewish environmental organization Hazon. See a listing of all entries, including JRF's own Sustainable Synagogue Initiative, and JRF member communities- Kehillat Israel (Lansing, MI), Oseh Shalom (Laurel, MD).
In 1990, JRF passed a movement-wide resolution on the environment and congregational life. Since 2006 we offer conference calls and resources on Sustainable Synagogues and Living a Jewish Life Rooted in Ecological Values. Access these resources at www.jrf.org/Sustainable_Synagogue_Resources and www.jrf.org/climate.