Shir Shalom and the Environment

Congressman Brian Higgins spoke at the January Men’s Group Breakfast. Because most of the discussion centered around Syria, Israel, and the incoming administration, I didn’t have the opportunity to bring up global warming during the question period. Fortunately, I know his position on that particular issue. He recognizes the threat of our changing world and is a supporter of renewable energy. I had wanted to congratulate him on his use of the term “future generations,” and his concern for what we do now and the effect on our descendants. I wanted to tell him that we Jews have a term for that: l’dor v’dor. From generation to generation. I wanted to explain to him how it plays an important role in Jewish thought and philosophy. Like tikkun olam.

I’m pursuing other opportunities to discuss this with him. I believe that getting the word out that most major religions express a moral imperative to fix our world may be a key to convincing some of the deniers to change their views. Clearly, scientific data isn’t enough, even though it was just announced that 2016 was the hottest year on record. I also believe that we, in the religious community, need to make a statement through our actions that we’re responding to the moral imperative to repair our world, and to keep our obligations to future generations. Tikkun olam and l’dor v’dor.

Here, at Shir Shalom. the Shir Shalom Green Team is moving forward. We’ve adopted the following mission statement:

In response to the imperative of tikkun olam, and in recognition of the consequences of global warming and other environmental issues on future generations, the Green Team will work to:

  •   Improve the temple’s energy efficiency while reducing energy costs
  •   Reduce its carbon footprint
  •   Support initiatives to increase environmental awareness inthe congregation and the surrounding community
  •   Educate Shir Shalom Religious School students and templeyouth in environmental stewardship required by Jewish traditions

Our intent is to accomplish this mission while being cognizant of the limited finances available.

We successfully completed our first effort of putting recycling bins throughout the temple building and arranging for their emptying. We’re continuing our evaluation of the temple’s energy bills and are looking for opportunities to reduce them.

Anyone who is interested in helping can contact me by phone (716) 544-4576 or email joe@rocketscitech.com.