I’ve been thinking a lot about climate change, so much so that I made it the focus of my Rosh Hashanah morning sermon. In recent months a Green Team was created to address how Temple Beth Torah can be more responsive to God’s call for us to be partners in caring for the world.
Ronnie Petersohn, Sheldon Schwartz, Leslie Strauss, Shirley Wein and I held a number of meetings leading to a draft for a TBT Green Policy. The policy was discussed at the May Board of Directors meeting and approved. This past Wednesday night, the policy was shared at our annual meeting.
Here is the full text of the policy. Please take note that it impacts every event at Temple Beth Torah where food is served:
When God created the first human beings, God led them around the Garden of Eden and said: 'Look at My works! See how beautiful they are, how excellent. For your sake I created them all. Take care not to spoil or destroy My world, for if you do, there will no one to repair it after you.” (Midrash Rabba 3:1)
For over forty years, the Reform Movement has consistently spoken about the importance of action to conserve and preserve our environment. In 2017, the Union for Reform Judaism passed a Resolution on Addressing the Impacts of Climate Change. It included this passage:
‘In Genesis (9:15-16) God promises not to destroy the earth by flood, stating, I will remember My covenant between Me and you and every living creature among all flesh, so that the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.’ God does not, however, preclude the possibility that humanity, by our own shortsighted behaviors, may destroy the earth by flood or other means.
Today, our careless disregard for the environmental impact of our actions has set us on a path that is damaging and could ultimately harm human health and desolate our planet. The devastation wrought by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, and by the severe droughts, ﬂoods, and wildﬁres in California and other states and provinces, illustrates the ways in which climate change, caused in significant part by human behavior, is destroying homes, communities, and human lives.”
As a response to the urgency of this time, the members of Temple Beth Torah’s Green Team urge the establishment of a policy by which the use of non-recyclable products will be eliminated at all Temple Beth Torah events. To this end, we propose that the Board of Directors adopt the following policy:
The use of disposable plastic eating utensils, plates, cups and tablecloths is not permitted at Temple Beth Torah. Only such items that are compostable, recyclable or can be washed and reused are permitted.
We also will encourage food items that are brought to Temple be in reusable containers or on plates that are covered with recyclable materials. The use of plastic for any purpose is strongly discouraged.
This policy will extend to every event at Temple Beth Torah where food is served.
Any question about the interpretation of this policy will be referred to the Temple Administrator.