The concept of looking after our world is rooted in the story of the Creation of the World itself. When Adam is created, we are told that ‘God took the man and placed him in the Garden of Eden, to work it and to guard it’ (Genesis, 13,15). Here we are told about two roles for humanity. We are not forbidden to work the land, to bring forth from the land benefits for humankind. But at the same time, we must guard the land and ensure that we sustain it and do not damage it in the process of working it. There is also one more lesson here that all religions can agree on. Reducing climate change and reducing the destruction of our biodiversity will require reducing what we take from our planet and what we consume. If we do not change, then we will also greatly deepen the already existing inequalities that beset our world.
In this context, we can along with many other Synagogue communities, do our bit. As a community we have signed up to the Eco Synagogue project and are committed to considering the impact of our communal life on the environment. This has included doing what we can to work towards reducing our use of plastics and waste and to recycle as much as possible.
Creating a policy allows us as a community to spend some time thinking about how we do things and what we can do better. It’s only a starting point and we will continue to assess and examine what how this can develop going forward.
The policy sets out how we aim to make a difference in the following ways.
(1) Synagogue kitchenware:
- As far as possible eliminate single use plastics, polystyrene and wax-lined paper cups, Once current supplies have been run down they should not be replaces.
- To only use items that can be washed up – for small events this can be done by the caretaker, for larger events and kaddishim extra help with washing up will need to be explored.
- To purchase and use reusable plastic cups for children’s events
- Use washable plastic for platters and bowls
- If it is necessary to use disposable items, to ensure they are made from recyclable materials.
- Ensure all recyclable items are recycled in the current bins
- If we need extra green boxes in offices and classrooms we should order these.
- Make sure the bins are clearly labelled and paper is only recycled, not thrown away.
(3) Food suppliers:
- Whenever possible, we aim to use kosher
suppliers who avoid/minimise single use plastic packaging.
Whilst we appreciate that all members are free to choose what they provide for a kiddush, our policy is to advise members as far as possible to avoid food waste and to follow the guidelines we recommend in purchasing:
- Anyone hosting a kiddush is
sent a recommended list of what to purchase and advised to avoid waste and
single use plastic
(5) Our building
As we move to refurbish and update our building we will strive to follow best practise in our heating, insulation and other practises to ensure as little energy is wasted as possible.
Muswell Hill Synagogue June 2019