Greening Committee

Posted by on Aug 9, 2017 in Uncategorized | No Comments

by Jeff Hoffman

The Kehilla Greening Committee is looking for a few good environmentalists. Are you passionate about climate change, clean energy, environmental justice and other “green” topics? Come join us! The basic time commitment is fairly minimal and can be credited toward your avodah hours. We meet once a month at Kehilla to plan events and initiatives and help guide the congregation’s environmental policy.  The Greening Committee offers you the opportunity to participate in interfaith, multi-cultural coalitions that are addressing climate change from a social justice perspective.

Among our achievements and activities:

–We led Kehilla’s effort to install solar panels on the roof of our Grand Avenue building.

The 22-kilowatt system, which was installed in

partnership with RE-volv, a non-profit organization that finances community-based solar projects, supplies 70% of the synagogue’s energy.   Kehilla’s lease payments on the solar system have helped RE-volv finance eight other solar installations. (You can watch a great video on Kehilla’s partnership with Re-volv on the Kehilla website, under the Greening Committee tab.)

–We successfully shepherded the adoption of the Green Menorah Covenant through the congregation. The vision of Rabbi Arthur Waskow of the Shalom Center, the Green Menorah symbolizes a covenant among Jewish communities and congregations to renew the miracle of Hanukkah in our own generation. Just as the Menorah in the Holy Temple was rooted in the image of a tree, its branches and buds, so we need to renew the sense that our earth calls on us to light the Planetary Menorah by reducing our use of fossil fuels.

–We represent Kehilla on the Oakland Climate Action Coalition’s (OCAC) clean energy subcommittee. In that capacity, we’ve been working for the past five years to bring community choice energy to the East Bay.  Along with the East Bay Clean Power Alliance and the Alameda Interfaith Climate Action Network (AICAN), we have pressured local elected officials to create Alameda County’s clean energy power network, which will be a supplier of renewable energy at stable rates while promoting the growth of local green jobs and businesses. The East Bay Clean Energy Agency is expected to launch in Spring of 2018.

–Along with other congregations in AICAN, we helped organize an interfaith service at the People’s Climate March at Lake Merritt on April 29, 2017.

–We hold seminars and informational sessions that help connect the congregation with environmental action opportunities with outside organizations, such as the Sierra Club, 350.org and Lights for Gaza. Lights for Gaza, a project of Rebuilding Alliance, is distributing portable solar Luci lights to needy children in the Gaza Strip. We’ve held educational sessions on critical policy issues, such as implementing a carbon tax in order to accelerate the transition to a renewable energy economy.  Our programs also highlight important local environmental issues, such as the controversy over plans to remove eucalyptus trees from the East Bay hills.

Come join us and bring your energy and creativity. We welcome you to join the Kehilla Greening Committee.  Or if you would like to be informed of opportunities to easily support the climate change advocacy efforts we are part of, you can add your name to our email distribution list by contacting Ralph Silber (ralph@kehillasynagogue.org). You can also contact Ralph if you would like any other information about the Greening Committee.

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