Monday 20 June 2022

EcoSynagogue becomes EcoJudaism!
As a result of the success of EcoSynagogue, with now over 50 shuls signed up as registered communities taking the Environmental Audit, The Movement for Reform Judaism became the first movement to sign up to audit their organisation, and the Climate Action Working Group in the Board of Deputies have also agreed to audit the Board. There has been great interest from organisations and schools to join. So, EcoJudaism will include the whole Mishpocha! EcoJudaism’s first event at Cambridge Cottage, Kew Gardens, was facilitated by EcoJudaism Project Coordinator and WLS member, Angelina Doherty and Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg. Speakers were Tamara Finkelstein (Permanent Secretary, DEFRA), Malini Mehra (Chair at Institute for European Environmental Policy and Advisor to EcoPeace Middle East), and Jamie Peters  (Special Projects Lead at Friends of the Earth). But above all, the success of the morning was the audience participation of passionate and expert Jews from all denominations across the UK coming together to create pathways for the community on this urgent matter.

EcoSynagogue Environmental Audit AwardsOn Sunday 12 June, a number of WLS Green Team members were delighted to attend the EcoSynagogue Environmental Audit Awards ceremony held in Cambridge Cottage at Kew Gardens. WLS won a Gold Award in November last year. Seb Levy and Charlotte Axelson collected the award in person (see pictures below). WLS member, Angelina Doherty, who works as Project Coordinator for EcoSynagogue helped organise the event and is pictured below with their EcoSynagogue Rabbinical Team and Board of Deputies Chief Executive, Michael Wegier.

Monday 24 January 2022

Our JTree appeal raised almost £900. The donation is split between two projects partnered with JTree: 

The Woodland Trust, Langely Vale 

The project will maintain existing woodlands and ensure the protection of their habitats, and transform the existing arable land into both a natural haven and a living First World War memorial. Read more

The International Tree Foundation, Building Women’s Capacity in Agroforestry, Uganda 

1037 women have been trained on project planning and management and now possess the relevant skills and knowledge. 35123 tree seedlings purchased and supplied to 357 women, helping them do Agroforestry which will increase their food security, income and support their environment in the near future. 

“Tree planting in my garden will support the ground and work as wind breakers. A measure to reduce soil erosion. Grow more trees, save the gardens and be free from hunger and poverty” 

 – Mbambu Constance, Bunyandiko Village, Uganda 

If you missed the EcoSynagogue Tu B’Shevat event, you can watch here  

Friday 19 November 2021


JTree is a Jewish response to the need to plant trees to take positive action to counter the Climate Emergency.The UK alone needs 50 million more trees, it is an invaluable response to our journey towards carbon zero and protecting our environment for generations to come.  Our WLS donation will create and protect forests, whilst sustaining important and endangered ecosystems. Trees planted in the UK will be matched with trees in Uganda where they are so desperately needed.Every donation will be doubled by generous supporters of JTree and enable us to make a difference right now – DONATE HEREPlease join us in being part of positive change, as Hillel said ‘if not now, when?’

Thursday 21 October 2021

Parashat Vayera 

A once fertile and lush land becomes desolate and “cannot be sown, nor sprout, and no grass shall rise up upon it”. The people of Sodom lived in excess without helping the poor and needy. Poverty has played a major role in environmental degradation across the world. Moral behavior and environmental behavior both go hand in hand. Sodom’s fall teaches us to live in balance by preserving our natural environment and maintaining the welfare of all people. The Poverty-Environment Initiative  links between poverty eradication and the environment. 

At the EcoSynagogue event on 10th October “Carbon Zero: If Not Now When”, OLAM, the network of Jewish & Israeli international development, humanitarian aid and global volunteering NGOs was a featured organisation and on 3rd and 4th November, OLAM will hold its sixth annual Focal Point conference. Funders, practitioners, Jewish communal leaders, rabbis, volunteer program alumni are invited to explore the challenges and opportunities facing the fields of international development, humanitarian aid, and global service. Together, we will examine how we can deepen Jewish communal commitment to global issues. Sign up here. Graham Carpenter of OLAM will be one of our panelists at the WLS Eco Panel on Monday 8th November – more details to follow. 

Save The Date: 

24th October at 4pmIsraeli Environmental Protection Minister, Tamar Zandberg 

An enlightening discussion with Israeli Environmental Protection Minister Tamar Zandberg, discussing Israel’s current environmental challenges and planned response to the global challenge of tackling climate change. Please register in advance for this meeting, here

Monday 11 October 2021

The pre-Cop26 event Carbon Zero, If Not Now When? at the Jewish Museum on Sunday October 10th brought together Jewish leaders, experts, and cross-communal voices working together for our shared concern of human-induced climate change. 

It truly was an important and successful hybrid event with in-person and online guests participating, interacting and partaking in questioning of experts.   

EcoSynagogue Rabbi Johnathan Wittenburg: lessons from Parashat Noach, the covenant with all life on earth.  

“Now is perhaps the most urgent time in the history of humanity to play that role of partnership and interdependence with all living things and an essential part of that is: Carbon Zero: If Not Now When? Judaism tells us that we shall teach our children, but there won’t be Torah to teach our children if there isn’t a world in which they can live.” 

Marie van der Zyl, President, Board of Deputies: COP26 & The Climate Emergency. 

“Climate Change is one of the most important subjects not just for the Jewish community, not even just for humanity but for the entire planet – it threatens to upend life as we know it, that our impact on the environment has led to deterioration of climate control – but we can all still make a difference, it’s not too late. In May, the Board of Deputies passed a resolution with 85% in favour of declaring a climate emergency and taking appropriate steps alongside EcoSynagogue to achieve net carbon emissions.” 

Chief Rabbi: No-one is an island no one can say this has got nothing to do with me. 

“The midrash in Vayikra Rabbah has a profound message which is so relevant to all of us today – not to drill holes in the boat that would sink us all – what I do in my home makes all the difference to the entire world. No one is an island, no one can say this has got nothing to do with me – we have to bare the responsibility individually and collectively within this potentially horrifying situation which threatens our world, threatens our descendants particularly our grandchildren and our great grandchildren. All of us together must play our part in guaranteeing that we fulfil our religious obligation to do what we can.” 

Carbon Zero Expert Panel: 

The expert panel, delivered informative presentations, with Johnathan Waxman (an entrepreneur with 35 years’ experience in electrical engineering, financial market options trading and renewable energy) and Dr Michal Nachmany (an international climate policy and governance expert with background in law, finance, and multinational project management) 

Jewish Environmental Organisations Spotlight: 

Following the expert panel, Jewish Environmental Organisations and initiatives were spotlighted including: OLAM, Commonwealth Jewish Council, World Jewish Relief, EcoSynagogue, JTree, Sadeh, and the Social Justice Committee of The Board of Deputies of British Jews. 

Environmental Officers & Teams: 

Participants agreed – synagogues need a dedicated Environmental Officer or team, and that meaningful change is grassroots led, but with core support from the organisation.   

Rabbi Tanya Sakhnovich:  

Concluded the event, stressing that the environment must be core to Jewish education at a multi-generational level, and be able to reach out across dispersed communities. 


Sunday 3 October 2021

Parashat Noach  

Environmental awareness is an aspect of the mitzvah known as Bal Tashchit – Do Not Destroy. Noach is an example of this mitzvah when he built the ark to preserve the planet’s animal life in the face of the total destruction of the environment. Our world is a closed, integrated system like the ark – struggling to preserve a functional level of ecological balance in the most challenging of situations, like the Climate Emergency. Our acceptance of this challenge comes with a call to act.  Our own individual actions, and as a community will determine if we are to be a positive impact on our environment, like Noah or continue to have a negative impact. 


On 10th October at 7:30pm, you can explore why our community should be engaging with the Climate Emergency, learn about the issues around carbon and how it can and should be reduced and what the Jewish community can do and is doing. The event will be streaming online on EcoSynagogue’s Facebook and Youtube and will include: Chief Rabbi Mirvis; Marie van der Zyl; Dr Michal Nachmany; Jonathan Waxman; Charles Ogilvie and representatives of Jewish environmental organisations in UK and aboard.  


Friday 1 October 2021

EcoSynagogue is hosting a pre COP26 event “Carbon Zero, If not now, when?” for the UK Jewish Community on Sunday 10th October at 7:30pm in The Jewish Museum, London.

EcoSynagogue’s Rabbinic team will be exploring, with the help of the Chief Rabbi and the President of the Board of Deputies, Marie van der Zyl why our community should be engaging with the issue of Climate Emergency. This will be followed by an expert panel with: Dr Michal Nachmany, a respected authority on global climate legislation, policy and the low carbon transition; Jonathan Waxman, an expert on renewable energy and sustaining a liveable planet through wind energy and Charles Ogilvie, Director of Strategy, COP26 at Cabinet Office. There will also be spotlighting of environmental initiatives currently operational within the Jewish community both in the UK and abroad.

Livestream will be available on EcoSynagogue Facebook and YouTube

Friday 13 August 2021

EcoSynagogue Rabbinic Team calls IPCC climate report a ‘Shofar blast’ to remind us of the need to get to Net Zero 

“The stark warnings in the report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), released on Rosh Chodesh Elul, are the Shofar blast we need to remind us that as individuals, as a community and as humanity as a whole, we need to make the changes necessary to get us to Net Zero emissions as soon as possible. EcoSynagogue, a project of the Board of Deputies, has developed tools and resources to help our communities make the switch and we are developing a suite of programmes and events in the lead up to the COP26 Climate Conference that we hope will allow British Jews to play our part in this collective effort. As Hillel said, ‘If not now, when’?” 

View the full IPCC report. 

Read More

Thursday 24 June 2021


On Tuesday, we visited Sadeh Farm in Kent to build a partnership and it proved to be a fruitful venture. We hope to enjoy this special relationship with Sadeh with our Religion School students and Young Adults 20+ and 30+ through tree planting conservation in winter and their fellowship program. 

 The Jewish community have been visiting the farm, previously known as Skeet Hill House, since the 1940s, when the Jewish Youth Fund purchased the site for The Brady Boys’ Club as a place of respite from the difficulties and dangers of life in the war-torn East End of London. The house was originally part of Lullingstone Castle and dates back more than 400 years. It is now the perfect Jewish Eco destination. Their gates are open to visitors and families – and the house is now a Kosher B&B and café, offering the perfect opportunity to take a break, to feel and learn more about the importance of the environment in Judaism. 

“My first Jewish youth weekend away took place at Skeet Hill House, more years ago than I care to remember. Imagine my delight to learn it has been reborn as Sadeh-the Jewish farm, under the inspirational leadership of Talia Chain. The WLS Green team visited this week and talked about partnership opportunities, the setting up of internships for young adults and planting opportunities for Religion School, to name but a few.” – Rabbi Helen 

Sunday 30 May 2021

Bike Week 

Bike Week is running from 30 May to 5 June 2021. Delivered by Cycling UK, the annual celebration this year has the theme of health and wellbeing. We are interested in knowing how many of our members would like to join a cycling or walking group. Please get in touch if you are interested in joining and share your recommendations for enjoyable routes at If you are considering cycling to synagogue for services, we do have a safe space set aside for bicycle storage inside the synagogue that members can use. 

World Environment Day 

World Environment Day is on 5th June calls for urgent action to revive our damaged ecosystems. This year’s theme is Ecosystem Restoration and will launch the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration: A global rallying cry for everyone – from governments to corporations and citizens – to do their part in healing our planet.  From forests to peatlands to coasts, we all depend on healthy ecosystems for our survival. Ecosystems are defined as the interaction between living organisms – plants, animals, people – with their surroundings. This includes nature, but also human-made systems such as cities or farms.  

Sunday 9 May 2021

The Religion School students have planted 1400 seeds in the last week during class. The young seedlings will be transplanted into pots on our roof in early June. We look forward to someday sharing a happy little roof garden space with members, who can use the natural aspects for prayer, planting and contemplation. If you are interested in donating plants, garden materials, pots – please contact  Photo: Artwork by one of our Religion School Students “Nature By Me” 

We have officially submitted our application to become an Eco Synagogue on 9th May 2021 and look forward to a continued working relationship with Eco Synagogue in the future. 

The West London Synagogue and Liberal Jewish Synagogue support the motion of The Board of Deputies of British Jews held on 09th May 2021 to declare a climate emergency. The motion was carried with 85% of Deputies voting in favour. The Board encourages participation in educational initiatives and will take appropriate action – alongside EcoSynagogue and other partners – to ensure they achieve net zero carbon emissions by the target date. The CEID division will monitor progress on this motion and report back to the plenary no later than six months after this motion passing. We at WLS recognise the global climate crisis and resolve to play our part and look forward to working together with LJS, Eco Synagogue and Sadeh on achieving these goals. 

Join us: Join the team or share your ideas, suggestions and thoughts by emailing: 

Sunday 25 April 2021

WLS/LJS Joint Climate Emergency Declaration 

The West London Synagogue and Liberal Jewish Synagogue support the motion of Board of Deputies of British Jews to declare a climate emergency and recognise the global climate crisis and resolves to play its part to achieve zero carbon emissions by 2045.  

This climate emergency requires coordinated action and wherever possible, a switch to renewable energy sources, carbon offsetting and participation in educational initiatives. We look forward to working together on achieving these goals. 

Eco Synagogue update 

WLS is continuing towards its application to become an Eco Synagogue and you will see a lot of these positive developments materialise very soon! 

2021 Mayor of London Elections 

The Mayor of London will be up for election on 6 May, this is an opportunity to secure climate commitments from your candidates, if this is a priority for you. Friends of the Earth have an easy online campaign to help you ask your Mayoral candidates to take the #ClimateActionPledge for a green and fair recovery with a written template message that you can personalise, if you wish. 

Earth Day 2021 

Our unified message across the Jewish community for ensuring a better environment for generations to come was emboldened recently by Eco Synagogue: 

If you have any suggestions or feedback on what we are doing or could do, or if you would like to join the team email 

Sunday 4 April 2021

L’ovdah ul’shomrah 

In this week’s Torah portion, we are given the laws concerning fish consumption (Leviticus 11:9-12). In Genesis 1:22, the first time that G-d speaks to any of the living creatures, the speech is directed at the fish, blessing them and saying: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas.” The Torah uses fish to connote fertility and abundance. In today’s world, however, fish could not be used as a symbol of fertility and abundance due to our exploitation of the waters. 

Our waters face a wide range of threats from climate change and pollution, but over-fishing is one of the most pressing issues with severe economic and social repercussions.  Technological advances (bigger trawlers; developments in radar and netting techniques; sophisticated on-board refrigeration and freezing) mean more fish are being caught than ever before.  A large proportion of the catch is unintended and discarded or used to feed farmed fish. As a result, 90% of global fish stocks are fully or over-exploited. 

Our dominion over creatures in the waters does not give us the right to cause their extinction. Our unsustainable fishing practices and pollution have led to the current state of the world’s fisheries. That is, our actions are coming at the expense of the fish’s fulfillment of Pru U’revu, working against the blessing that G-d gave them. The opportunity before us is to buy fish sustainably and to fulfill the mandate for our stewardship of the world, L’ovdah ul’shomrah: to till/serve and tend/protect (Genesis 2:15). 

So, what can we do to reduce the impact of our fish consumption? The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is an international charity set up to preserve the world’s fish stocks.  It has created an environmental standard and many supermarkets stock MSC certified fish – ask your fishmonger or look out for this label. 

Tips on ethically sourcing fish: 

  • Buy fish that is pole and line, pot, trap or dive caught.  These practices reduce the level of discards and have less impact on the habitat and on other species. 
  • Instead of relying on cod, haddock, tuna and salmon (stocks of which are all seriously depleted), try alternatives like hake, coley or rainbow trout. 
  • The Marine Conservation Society has produced a handy guide on buying fresh fish seasonally and sustainably. 
  • Try some sustainable seafood recipes from MSC. 

The Team: Join the team or share your ideas, suggestions and thoughts by emailing: 

Sunday 14 March 2021

Climate Emergency Declaration. 

West London Synagogue supports the motion of the Board of Deputies of British Jews to declare a climate emergency and recognises the global climate crisis and resolves to play its part to achieve zero carbon emissions by 2045. This climate emergency requires coordinated action, and will require economic divestment from oil and gas, a switch to renewable energy sources, and participation in educational initiatives such as Green Shabbat. 

This declaration of a climate emergency will also be presented to the Council of the Liberal Jewish Synagogue at their next meeting. We look forward to working together with our friends at the LJS on green issues. 

What we’re doing: 

We have already made several changes to our synagogue’s building and consumables with consideration to our emissions and the environment. Over time, we will review ways to improve further and continue to provide our members with advice on how they can do the same.  

Currently, our boilers are low environmental impact (NOx<40mg/kWh), and energy-efficient light bulbs are installed in our sanctuary and some of our halls, offices and classrooms, and some of the energy we use comes from solar panels. The water supply is metered and toilet cisterns are fitted with water saving devices. Our administration uses recycled paper and paper usage is reduced through double-sided copying/printing and digital distribution. Disposable catering products are biodegradable and paper, glass, cans, plastics, fabrics, TerraCycle are collected, sorted and recycled by Westminster Council, and composting facilities are available for staff. Some cleaning products are environmentally friendly and we provide bicycle storage space for members who cycle. Only vegetarian or vegan food is permitted within the building at all times including catered events. 

If you have any suggestions or feedback on what we are doing or could do, or if you would like to join the team email 

Parashat Ki Tisa

In Parashat Ki Tisa, Moses is commanded to collect a half-shekel from each person. “Ki Tisa” is understood to mean “to count” or “to bear” but “Tisa” literally means “to lift up.” The elevation of material possessions elevates each of us when we dedicate it to the furthering of righteousness in the world. As Elimelech of Lizhensk explained, “money is like fire; it can be used to create, protect and nourish, or it can be used to harm and destroy.” 

The recent Mediterranean oil spill into Israel has deposited hundreds of tonnes of tar along 160kms of the coast. Most of the coastline is now unsafe for humans, with volunteers suffering from inhaling toxic fumes. Marine wildlife, coral reefs, rare species, birds and turtles are now endangered. The entire ecosystem is damaged for years to come. Seafood from the Mediterranean is now banned, and a massive clean-up effort was started by more than 4000 EcoOcean volunteers with support of several thousand soldiers being pledged. The Society for Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI) has also launched an appeal asking for donations. Israel is highly susceptible to environmental crises. Yet, despite remarkable environmental innovations, it is third among Mediterranean countries that most pollute the sea and the 2nd-highest in the world for use of disposable plastic plates and utensils – approximately 4.5 billion disposable plates and utensils every year. Tel Aviv creates the most plastic waste, which then goes into the ocean. And while an enormous effort is made to clean up the coastline, the preliminary agreement to transport Emirati oil from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean through the Trans-Israel pipeline will eventually come into fruition. Israel will become a major hub for the transmission of polluting fossil fuel from the Persian Gulf to Europe via an underwater pipe, that could create yet another unimaginable catastrophe.  

Acting for the better of our world seems like the labour of Sisyphus – so long as the behaviour of one is counterproductive to the other, it’s a constant uphill struggle. On 3rd March, World Wildlife Day will focus on the theme “Forests and Livelihoods”. As we focus on these specific issues, we still know extensive environmental issues exist, which are global and ever-present due to the negative human impact on The Creation. We are no longer dealing with “Green Issues”: we are living through a global environmental emergency and our impact needs to change urgently for the better. On 21st March, the Board of Deputies will hold a Climate Emergency Motion – amplifying this urgent message from the UK Jewish community. Each of us can stand up to be counted, move forward and put our half-shekel in for greater acts of human kindness towards our world and each other. Our uphill struggle can be achieved with a lighter load, where the problems we bear are shared and halved. We can elevate ourselves and lift one another up by bringing about urgent change individually and playing our part together. 

The Team: Join the team or share your ideas, suggestions and thoughts by emailing: 

Sunday 7 February 2021

 EcoSynagogue is a project in partnership with the Board of Deputies of British Jews. The Environmental Audit launches on Monday 15th February at 8pm Live on their Facebook & YouTube. The Environmental Audit is WLS’s starting point on a pathway to improving its relationship with the environment across a social, religious, sociological and advocacy perspective. Over the next few weeks, WLS will assess what we are currently doing, and look for a pathway to improve our community’s relationship with its environment, as a building, a community, as individuals and as part of a wider conversation on this important topic. 

Green Team:  

Next meeting scheduled for 17th February at 17:45 

Join the team or share your ideas, suggestions and thoughts by emailing: 


Monday 25 January 2021

Tu BiShvat 

Judaism has a balanced and reasoned approach to environmental issues that could be a source of pride to Jews and a source of inspiration to the non-Jewish world. 

Tu BiShvat (15th of Shevat on the Jewish calendar) is the day that marks the beginning of a “new year” for trees and the season in which the earliest-blooming trees in the Land of Israel emerge from their winter sleep and begin a new fruit-bearing cycle. It has become, in the last thirty years, the Jewish Earth Day and many congregations across the world are holding Tu BiShvat seders which involves eating fruit, particularly grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates.  

Ecological organisations in Israel and the diaspora have adopted Tu BiShvat to further environmental-awareness programs. Kibbutzim celebrate it as an agricultural holiday and the custom of planting trees in agricultural areas was adopted in 1908 by the Jewish Teachers Union following the earlier example of Rabbi Ze’ev in Zichron Yaakov. Later, The Jewish National Fund furthered the efforts for afforestation in Israel and today the Fund schedules major tree-planting events in large forests every Tu BiShvat. Over a million Israelis take part in the Jewish National Fund’s Tu BiShvat tree-planting activities. It is from small, good deeds that great things grow. 

On this day we remember that “a person is a tree of the field” and that the difficult non-productive times in our lives don’t define us. Like trees, we too live our lives in cycles. Life is a cycle, spring is just around the corner and as the Talmud states, better times can come “in the blink of an eye.” As we witness the start of the transition from winter to spring, Tu B’Shvat teaches and builds our patience and trust that good times are ahead. 

Ways to celebrate: 

Green Team: Join the team or share your ideas, suggestions and thoughts by emailing: 


Monday 18 January 2021

A matter of time… 

“This month shall mark for you the beginning of the months” (Exodus 12:2). This Mitzvah provides an insight into how time is of environmental significance and marking Nisan is the first commandment given to the Jewish people. Our calendar reflects the nature of the year: holidays and observances connect to each moment and season. Subtle changes of weather, light and greenery signify changes in time. Focusing on our experience of these changes connects us with The Creation. The Sages took steps to ensure that the Hebrew Calendar also reflects the cycles of nature. This demonstrates Judaism’s deep awareness of nature’s processes. 

The word in the first Mitzvah, chodesh (month / newness) reflects revelation, renewal of our perspectives and relationships, and innovation. The Torah calls Pesach “Chag haAviv,” the holiday of the Spring. The energy of renewal in Spring, the rebirth of flowers and greenery, and the new life in the fields revives our connection to The Creation, as we change with it. The word shana (year), is connected to the word shinui (change). Letting change like environmentalism take root in our daily lives can empower us to make the radical changes that sustainable lifestyles demand. 

Judaism’s attention to the natural cycles still impacts us today and brings us outdoors to find our connection with The Creation, though, we may have different observations. For example, a Rabbi walks outside, looks up at the sky and counts the three stars that mark the end of Shabbat, and calls for the evening prayer. Another Rabbi walks outside to do the same, looks up and says, “how can we observe Yirat Shamayim (fear of Heaven) when we can’t even see the shamayim (skies)?” We engage in and celebrate the changing nature of this world, time and time again. As we grow, we cannot afford to ignore the natural world, or to act in ways that suppress or spoil The Creation.  

Green Team: Join the team or share your ideas, suggestions and thoughts by emailing: 


Monday 7 December 2020

Greening up for Chanukah! 

 Here are tips for making this year’s Chanukah more environmentally friendly along with some practical ways to save and conserve energy at home all year round… 

Lighting up: Beeswax, vegetable and paraffin-free Hanukkah candles are clean burning and non-toxic. For oil Chanukiahs, use olive oil: just like the Maccabees. Upcycle and make your own chanukiah with materials you find around your house. 

Dreidel: Go for a natural-material dreidel from wood, or maybe make it out of clay. And to go with it, Fair Trade Gelt can be bought online. 

Ethical Gifts: eCards are the most sustainable cards and Oxfam offers a number of environmental gifts with their eCards. Rewild the world to combat deforestation and offset carbon by planting or dedicating trees as a Chanukah gift this year with: Oblong; Ecologi; Woodland TrustTrees for Life; Earthly; or Carbonfootprint. Join the Edible Gift’s workshop for adults on Sunday 13 December at 6pm and learn to make something personal that’s healthy, delicious and useful.  

Food: use locally grown, organic, fairtrade and free range. Use the festive opportunity to cut down on meat consumption and replace with seasonal produce. Try vegan latke recipes: regular and beet or join the ‘Kids in the Kitchen’ Chanukah Special on Saturday 12 December at 5pm for healthier and fun food options for the family this year. 

Eco Synagogue’s Chanukah EcoEnergy Question Time: Thursday, December 10, 2020 at 8 PM via Zoom 

Here is the link to connect you directly: 

Green Team: 

Join the team or share your ideas, suggestions and thoughts by emailing: 


Monday 23 November 2020


Jacob and Esau is a conflict that is still alive; the Torah’s description of this story has deep repercussions for a society that so readily embraces the values of Esau. We can see Esau’s selling his birthright to Jacob as being similar to the culture that wants things now and fast. Fast food, fast cars, fast fashion. The kings of Edom at the end of Va’Yetze in Kabbalah are seen as elements of the creation process that couldn’t last or sustain themselves. Esau lived today as if he’s going to die tomorrow.  



For all items including furniture and appliances you no longer want but can’t sell or don’t want to throw away: Freecycle | Freegle | Nextdoor  

Combat fast fashion by Swishing. It works like a giant clothes swap: you bring items you no longer wear and exchange them for something new-to-you. Visit for advice on setting up your own swap party! For better advice on buying new things wisely, how to mend, how to upcycle, swap or recycle visit 

Zero Waste Suppliers:  

A very useful Zero Waste resource is Pack It In 

Ethical Wholesale shopping & Food Co-ops  

There are several regional organisations that promote local food, and suppliers of sustainable food. The Food Legacy programme promotes greater uptake of local and sustainable food by caterers, hospitality, events organisers and restaurants. If you serve food, please consider using these directories to identify local, smaller and sustainable food suppliers. Browse through local and sustainable food directories at Sustain. Some useful ethical wholesalers include The Wholesaler and Infinity Foods  

Start a Food Co-op  

More and more communities are setting up food co-ops so they can get good food at an affordable price and have more control over where their food comes from. In co-ops a group of people join forces in order to buy foods they may otherwise find it hard to get hold of at a price they can afford. By volunteering their time and pooling their buying power they can get produce direct from local farmers or wholesalers. Find a Co-op toolkit to help you set up your food co-op here 

Green Team: Join the team or share your ideas, suggestions and thoughts by emailing:  

Sunday 15 November 2020

Water, water everywhere… 

In this week’s Torah portion, Isaac faces conflict because of water scarcity and is forced to find a new source while the wells are filled with dirt. Water scarcity and conflict is an environmental issue which, for many, is an undeniable realisation that the world’s natural resources are critically limited, and all of creation is dependent on. Parashah Toldot can offer us insight on how we can deal with contemporary water crises – to protect natural resources from destruction and in times of serious conflict and to search for and develop additional water sources by not relying solely on what exists. 


There are many ways to acquire new sources of water. Let’s take a look at how Isaac’s difficulties can be reflected and resolved in modern Israel, across the globe and at home. 

Tikkun Olam in Israel: A world leader in recycling wastewater – 85% of domestic wastewater is recycled and used for agriculture. Israel is keen to share its knowledge and technology with countries suffering from water shortage.  

Isaiah 35:6-7: “For water will have broken out in the wilderness and streams in the desert. The scorched place will become a pond and the parched place – springs of water.” How do you make the desert bloom? Learn more about Israel’s efforts against desertification and drought.  

Air Into Water? Watergen uses humidity in the air to make clean drinking water from the most remote rural village in Africa to private homes, Genny’s air filtration process, even in high pollution conditions, vents clean air back into the room. 

Drip Irrigation: Established in 1959 by Simcha and Yeshayahu Blass with Kibbutz Hatzerim. What’s next for drip irrigation 50 years later? You’ll be amazed! 

Desalination: Learn about Seawater Reverse Osmosis at Ashkelon. 

Global Water Conflicts in 2020: Just as with Isaac, water conflicts still exist in our world. There are currently 136 listed water conflicts globally, yet there are many initiatives working on long term solutions. A more in-depth understanding of current water conflicts and the wider impact they have are available here. Included are examples of initiatives to resolve conflicts such as the Nile Basin Initiative.  Read more on water conflicts and solutions, here. You can support a water resilient future, for example, by donating as a gift or memory to Pacific Institute. 

At home: the amount of water used in homes has grown tremendously in the past half century. Learn how to change your habits at home and conserve water wisely from Independent Water Networks; Friends of The Earth and National Geographic. 

Green Team: Join the team or share your ideas, suggestions and thoughts by emailing: 

Monday 9 November 2020

Hitbodedut (התבודדות) are practices of self-secluded meditation. In this week’s Torah portion, Isaac went to the field to pray and as Rashbam suggested, there may have been an agricultural element to Isaac’s outing in the field – to plant trees and check on his farming efforts. As Rashi commented, praying in a house without windows lets one focus towards heaven, the heart is humbled by nature, The Creation. Rebbe Nahman of Breslov taught his followers that real prayer involves conversation with the natural world around us, that the secluded meditation in nature gives strength to one’s prayer. Isaac manifests this type of prayer through his connection to nature because he finds it difficult to relate to the world around him. He wants to be in a simple world, so he walks and prays in the field. The natural world is an awe-inspiring setting for praying and meditation. Embrace nature: The ecological problems we face from air and water pollution to species extinction and urban sprawl are evident of how disconnected we have become from the natural environment. Reconnecting with nature can help us regain a sense of meaningfulness as part of this world and nature. It can re-awaken awareness of our responsibility to live in balance with it.Read here about Reform’s three steps to hitbodedut, why not try them out during lockdown, choosing times to go outside when there are fewer people. In the garden: Spending more time in the garden or tending to your herb pots inside the home is a good opportunity to reflect and be hopeful, your planting efforts will result in rewarding growth.For ideas in the garden and tips for staying on top in October, see what Gardener’s World has to suggest. What you do now will be rewarding later! Interested in starting something new? Find out what to sow and grow in October from Thompson Morgan. Contact the Green Team: Join the team or share your ideas, suggestions and thoughts by emailing:

Monday 2 November 2020

Parashat VayeraA once fertile and lush land becomes desolate and “cannot be sown, nor sprout, and no grass shall rise up upon it”. The people of Sodom lived in excess without helping the poor and needy. Poverty has played a major role in environmental degradation across the world. Moral behavior and environmental behavior both go hand in hand. Sodom’s fall teaches us to live in balance by preserving our natural environment and maintaining the welfare of all people. Learn about The Poverty-Environment Initiative and the links between poverty eradication and the environment at Waste Not, want not…Nearly a third of food purchased in the UK is wasted.  We all know the benefits of menu planning and cooking from scratch, but it might be unrealistic to expect us to be able to do that all the time.  A number of apps which enable us to save food and meals from going to waste are: Toogoodtogo: works with cafes, restaurants and shops via an app which allows you to rescue unsold food and meals at reduced prices Karma: delivers fruit and veg boxes Oddbox: fruit and veg delivery service, providing food directly from growers which they can’t sell to their usual retailers because it’s surplus, or the wrong size, shape etc. Fairtrade:Buying fairly traded foods means that workers who produce the food get a fair wage and better working conditions. Trade needs to be both sustainable and fair. Transport of goods shouldn’t use disproportionate amounts of energy and crops for export must be grown without destroying the ecology of the producer country. Visit the Green Team: Join the team or share your ideas, suggestions and thoughts by emailing:

Monday 26 October 2020

Bal Tashchit – Do Not DestroyEnvironmental awareness is an aspect of the mitzvah known as Bal Tashchit – Do Not Destroy. Noach is an example of this mitzvah when he built the ark to preserve the planet’s animal life in the face of the total destruction of the environment. Our world is a closed, integrated system like the ark – struggling to preserve a functional level of ecological balance in the most challenging of situations.Use your L.O.A.F.! – Buy Local, Organic, Animal-Friendly, FairtradeLocal: Buying food locally means less food miles, support for local economy and farmers and regional variety. Look at the labels; does it come from somewhere in UK? Does it carry the Union Flag or Red Tractor symbols? Local produce resources: FarmshopOrganic: Organic farming uses less fossil fuel energy and builds up carbon in the soil, removing it from the atmosphere and relies on composting, crop rotation and animal manures. Shop organic: Planet Organic | Realfoods | Organic Delivery | Soil AssociationAnimal Friendly: Eating less meat and dairy products and help reduce carbon emissions. Avoid eggs, dairy products, meat and fish that have been produced using intensive farming methods and long distance lorry transport. Beware of confusing labels. ‘Farm fresh’ and ‘Country Fresh’ are often used to sell factory farmed products. Look for ‘free range’, ‘outdoor reared/bred’. Organically reared animals are subject to the strictest welfare regulations. Jamie Geller Recipes | Vegan SocietyFairtrade: Buying fairly traded foods means that workers who produce the food get a fair wage and better working conditions. Trade needs to be both sustainable and fair. Transport of goods shouldn’t use disproportionate amounts of energy and crops for export must be grown without destroying the ecology of the producer country. Visit shop for L.O.A.F. ingredients, look out for these symbols…
Contact the Green Team: Join the team or share your ideas, suggestions and thoughts by emailing: