Today is October 21, 2017 /

Main Office: 215-635-3110

Find Us: 8201 High School Road, Elkins Park, PA 19027

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Green Initiatives

Green Initiatives

Going Green

Our congregation has made a commitment to embrace sustainable and environmentally friendly practices.

Hazon CSA (Community Sponsored Agriculture)

We are proud to host the first Jewish CSA in the Greater Philadelphia region: Hazon CSA at Kol Ami. Founded in 2007 in partnership with Hazon (which is dedicated to creating a healthier and more sustainable Jewish community and world), Hazon CSA at Kol Ami has become a model for Jewish CSAs across the region.

Throughout the year, our CSA hosts myriad events, including opportunities to visit the farms that provide our produce and to meet the farmers, as well as educational evenings. More than simply a by-product of Kol Ami, our CSA has built a community of people who share the same values around the food they eat.

Our Building

As new homeowners in need of renovations and upgrades, we have made huge strides in contributing to a greener community, including:

  • Installing new electrical wiring and energy-efficient light fixtures and fluorescent bulbs throughout the property;
  • Conserving energy by installing a cork floor in our lobby, which acts as a natural insulator;
  • Selecting paint colors that assist in reflecting light, thereby reducing the need for artificial lighting;
  • Coating our roof to minimize heat retention and keep our home cooler during the warmer months;
  • Replacing our lobby doors with thermal energy–efficient glass security doors; and
  • Replacing broken windowpanes with thermal energy–efficient glass.

Jewish Climate Change Campaign

We are happy to have signed on as one of the first organizational partners of the Jewish Climate Change Campaign “to take small actions and make big change.”  We are the first synagogue in our region to have joined the Campaign.

We invite you to join us in taking the Campaign pledge at www.jewishclimatecampaign.org. Climate Change challenges us to live better and walk more responsibly on the Earth and asks how we can use the wisdom of Jewish teaching and the collective passion and ingenuity of the Jewish people to inspire a vision for the future.

Sustainability/Green Committee (Shomei Adamah Environmental Stewardship)

2017 Hazon Seal of Sustainability Projects

As part of our congregation’s long term commitment to sustainability,

Kol Ami is partnering with Hazon to receive the Hazon Seal of Sustainability, which certifies that a Jewish organization has committed to meet a set of criteria marking it as a good world citizen with regard to its food and environmental practices, treatment of animals, and impact on climate change. Our selection to participate in this initiative signifies that, along with two dozen other Jewish organizations, we are emerging as a national leader in the realm of Jewish sustainability.

After completing an audit of our food and energy impact in May, the Shomei Adamah Environmental Stewardship committee selected three projects for this year’s submission in December. Two of the projects are formulated as general ongoing long term goals, from which we will complete some first steps for the 2017 Hazon Seal.  The third project is a new initiative with specific components outlined for the 2017 Hazon Seal that we hope will result in follow-up steps in the next year.

Ongoing Efforts to Reduce Waste

Over the past year, Congregation Kol Ami has transitioned away from purchasing Styrofoam to renewable and recyclable paper and plastic products.  However, we recognize that many of these products are still being thrown into trash rather than being recycled.  Through messaging in the bulletin, listserv and onsite in the coming months, we aim to increase reuse and recycling at the synagogue and at home.   We also will investigate the feasibility of switching to compostable service ware (plates, cups and utensils).

Ongoing Education and Advocacy about Sustainable and Just Food Choices (Eco-Kashrut)

Over the years of our Hazon Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, we have educated our community about sustainable food systems and animal welfare.  This fall, we will encourage members to participate in the advocacy work of our Social Action committee through Act Against Hunger, an initiative of Mazon, the Kehillah of Old York Road and Area Relief Agencies.  In the coming months, we will be focusing letter writing campaigns on SNAP funding and the Farm Bill.

“To Bee or Not to Bee:” Honeybees and the Environment

This new initiative is a multifaceted program being planned through the fall aimed to raise awareness in our community about the central role of honeybees in the food system,  their plight, and actions we can take to protect and “keep” them. This kicked off with a Backyard Apiary and Bee Friendly Garden Tour on July 22 at the home of Abby Binder and Jane Tausig.

Next up is a Honey Extraction Demo and Home Grown Honey Sale for High Holy Days. For the past few years, we have been able to sell local, raw, and delicious honey to dip your apples and challah during the High Holy Days!  For those of us who purchased a jar (or two), we had the pleasure of knowing what LOCAL honey tastes like. The honey is from the backyard bee hives and gardens of Kol Ami members Jane Tausig and Abby Binder. We are once again selling 8 oz. jars for $7.00 and 100% of the proceeds will benefit Congregation Kol Ami. The honey will be sold on September 10th, the first day of religious school. There are limited amounts of honey, so orders will be filled on a first come, first served basis. (If you order honey and are paying by check, please make it payable to Congregation Kol Ami to the main office.) Don’t miss this opportunity!  The honey will be available for pick up in the office of the Executive Director.

Save the date for another Honeybee Educational Program on Sunday, November 12, 1-3 PM at Kol Ami.  The program with include a short documentary, “Keeping the Hive Alive” and speaker Vince Aloyo, a well known master beekeeper.  Watch for announcements to follow.

Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL)

At the 2009 Union for Reform Judaism Biennial, member synagogues were encouraged to learn more about COEJL and support this highly relevant non-profit. COEJL deepens the Jewish community’s commitment to the stewardship of creation and mobilizes the resources of Jewish life and learning to protect the Earth and all of its inhabitants. The organization is working to bring Jews around the country together to work toward a better future on the common ground of a healthy environment, green jobs and a secure energy future through action, education and a personal pledge. Like our brethren URJ synagogues, Kol Ami has pledged our support to COEJL and hopes you will do the same.