Nov 2021

Report from JTREE USA

Since we began JTREE USA almost two years ago, inspired by the leadership and teaching of  Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, we have planted approximately 28,204 trees through the National Forest Foundation. We have a special arrangement with the NFF that for each $1.00 donated, a sapling will be planted and nurtured in their nurseries and then planted when ready in our national forests. JTREE USA could not have done our work without the support of Hazon who monitor our website on our behalf.

One of the members of JTREE also worked closely with PJ Library. As a result PJ Library decided to support tree planting through the National Forest Foundation a year ago and were able to raise $100,000 which translates into 100,000  trees!

In other words, since our inception JTREE USA has planted 128, 204 saplings/trees! Our trees are planted in the National Forests of the USA through NFF.

We promote JTREE USA on our site by inviting Jewish organizations around the country to endorse JTREE and to support tree planting as an important and engaging activity in their communities. We have found that personal networks are another fruitful source of donations. As the coordinator of JTREE I write direct mail letters at certain pivotal points of the year including at Rosh Hashanah, Hannukah, Tu’bshvat, Earth Day and Shavuot. Throughout the year many folks plant through JTREE USA to celebrate a birth, bnei mitzvah or a special anniversary. Others plant to honor or memorialize colleagues, friends or family. A number of donors simply know how important it is to engage in reforestation on behalf of our planet and have been extraordinarily generous.

We have now expanded our website at the NFF in order to create a series of community groups specifically formed to support JTREE. These groups are located around the country and are facilitated by JTREE volunteers in San Diego and Palo Alto CA, and Boulder Co. In addition, Hazon and the Jewish Climate Action Network NYC each have their own group page on the  NFF page. Creating smaller local groups allows JTREE  to personalize our efforts thanks to some really dedicated volunteers. At the same time, we are able to keep track of each donation since it is also recorded on the main page of JTREE at the NFF. Find out more: JTree

Three remarkable stories stand out. In Boulder, a young bat mitzvah learned about JTREE through her synagogue newsletter. This young woman was very concerned about the planet and loved the idea of directing the gifts from her guests to JTREE. She raised $1000 (equaling 1000 trees) over her bat mitzvah weekend! What an inspiration.

An avid bike rider and active JTREE volunteer from San Diego is in the midst of raising the funds to create a documentary focused on Jewish teens who at their bat/bar mitzvah are increasingly eager to respond in a positive way to the climate crisis by encouraging their communities to plant trees!

A group from Palo Alto CA realized that they must act fast on behalf of our planet and started an innovative group in their synagogue that includes tree planting through JTREE as part of their efforts.

It is gratifying to be able to report on the wonderful work of the all volunteer JTREE USA.     Ace Leveen

As my forebears planted for me, so do I plant for my children.

(Ta‘anit 23a)