Qabbalat Shabbat: Friday, 6:00 p.m. Torah Study: Saturday, 9:00-11:00 a.m. Weekday Minyan: 6:15 p.m.

Green Team

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The Green Team was launched in 2015 by a group of congregants, clergy, and staff committed to mitigating the effects of climate change and making climate justice and preservation of the earth core values of the Temple. It advances this mission by improving TI’s sustainability efforts, educating the congregation about individual environmental responsibility, and by working with other faith communities to advance systemic change on a wide range of environmental issues.

The Torah teaches that we are stewards of the earth and that it is our job to preserve and protect it. We are also motivated by the knowledge that climate change is a social justice issue, as it disproportionately affects poor, minority, and other vulnerable communities. Finally, we are motivated by our responsibility to help repair the world, and, in the case of current and future climate disasters, Tikkun Tevel, to heal the earth.

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Green Team CSA

The Green Team is chaired by long-time Temple Israel member, Joan Rachlin, and includes congregants Jen Bender, Sharon Bort, Leon Glicksman, Roger Gottlieb, Jill Hahn, Susan Israel, Andrew Klein, David Lowe, Marc Maxwell, Harvey Michaels, Hannah Stern-Pait, Daniel Rabinovitz, and Steve Subrin. Clergy and staff members include Cantor Roy Einhorn, Rabbi Matt Soffer, Rabbi Suzie Jacobson, Executive Director, Dan Deutsch, Librarian, Ann Abrams, Director of Administration and Facilities, Julia Pollard, Social Justice Educator Tali Puterman, and Facility Rentals and Reservations Coordinator, Jennifer Cinnante.

How many Temple Israel members does it take to change [the world with] a light bulb?

Join the Mitzvah Lights Initiative

Now that Daylight Savings Time has ended and we’re turning our lights on earlier in the evening, please join the Green Team in making sure that your home has only–or mostly–LED bulbs. LEDs save, on average, 7/8 of electricity as compared with standard bulbs…the equivalent of a year-round Chanukah miracle!

Join Temple Israel’s 100 Greenfaith-Energy Shield Pledge signers who can testify:

  • We did it! It was easy, inexpensive, and made us feel good about doing something to ease the climate crisis!
  • If we all did it, we would show that a climate solution is possible.

The Green Team hopes that half of TI’s members will participate in this next campaign to help save our planet. We’re asking you to start by replacing (and recycling at Home Depot or Lowe’s) those bulbs you use the most (over 1 hour per day). Can we meet that number? Let’s find out!

Do it for you! You can replace many of the light bulbs in your home with LEDs for $1 – $2 each, and each one will save you $100 over its life ($40 if you replace a CFL). Many homes/apartments will save $200 to $300 a year for 10 years.

Do it for all of us! Changing most of your standard or CFL lights over to LEDs is an important part of a climate change solution, reducing emissions by over 1 ton of carbon per home per year. That, along with other things we can do, such as using a green electricity vendor, exploring solar energy, buying an electric vehicle, and reducing food waste, will go a long way to stopping climate change cold.

Green Team Actions

The Green Team’s primary focus to date has been on reducing the facility’s carbon footprint and improving its energy efficiency. Among its projects, some in collaboration with the Building and Grounds Committee, are:

  • Replacing over 1,400 lights and fixtures and replace with LED technology;
  • Purchasing certified green energy from a wind farm in TX;
  • Increasing the number and visibility of recycling bins in the building, including the addition of clear and customized signage;
  • Identifying air leaks and sealing them via weatherstripping and caulking;
  • Improving HVAC controls so as to condition only those rooms in use;
  • Exploring solar opportunities for the Temple roof;
  • Planting bee- and butterfly-friendly flowers;
  • Purchasing kiddush and grape juice glasses so as to reduce the use of plastics;
  • Starting a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program;
  • Developing a Green B’nei Mitzvah option;
  • Committing to a composting program and working toward zero waste events;
  • Donating unused food to a homeless shelter for women and children;
  • Co-sponsoring a climate-change film series with other reform synagogues;
  • Launching an anti-idling campaign aimed at those who pick students up from religious school.

GreenFaith Energy Shield

Among our proudest undertakings is the campaign to earn the Energy Shield, a certification conferred upon green congregations by GreenFaith, a national environmental organization that works closely with the Religious Action Center (RAC).

If successful, Temple Israel will be the first congregation in New England to earn the credential.  Although the campaign is well underway, congregants who have not yet signed The Pledge are still encouraged to do so. Please leave your signed Pledge and/or Checklist at the reception desk, or mail it to Traci Laichter, 477 Longwood Ave., Boston, MA 02215.

The items covered by the Pledge are low cost, low effort, and high impact. There are 10 categories and each congregant must choose five. The categories are:

  • Change some of your most frequently used bulbs to LEDs
  • Have a home energy audit
  • Install a smart thermostat or reprogram your programmable ones
  • Caulk, insulate, and weather strip
  • Improve the efficiency of your appliances
  • Conserve hot water
  • Kitchen and food waste
  • Explore solar
  • Transportation – buy or lease a hybrid or EV and do more walking, biking, or taking public transportation
  • Participation in advocacy efforts