Make Your Synagogue Green!

The Synagogue Council is proud to support the Boston chapter of COEJL,The Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, in a statewide initiative to "pledge" to "green" synagogues in Massachusetts.



If you have some ideas that we can share with other synagogues on how to practice good environmentalism, please consider sending them to us!  We will include some of the best submissions on this page in order that we can learn from one another.

Thank you to Sarah of Temple Emanuel, Newton for sharing the following ideas:

  • Installed new HVAC system, Metasys, computer controlled; operates according to outside temperature.
  • Replaced 90 watt spots and ballasts in common areas with 75 watt spots and new ballasts.
  • Put certain lighting areas, such as the outside, on automatic timers.
  • Replacing old hot water heaters with individual hot water units for each kitchen and bathroom.
  • Purchased seven refurbished office stations for Main Office.
  • Placed recycle bins for paper, co-mingled, and trash in every room, as well as signage on their use. Orientation to their use was done with custodial staff and with all groups within the synagogue. Purchased new custodial cart designed to handle different waste streams.
  • Lobbying the City of Newton to pick up recyclables from area non-profits and to change waste vendor contract to that effect. Temple Emanuel is now part of the city's pilot program to pick up paper recyclables from area non-profits - done on a weekly basis.
  • Contracted with Save That Stuff for co-mingled recyclables on a monthly basis.
  • Reaching out to area non-profits to engage them in greening and in lobbying for city recycle pick-up.
  • Moved from plastic cups to paper. Convinced morning Minyan to use renewable metal cutlery instead of plastic at their daily breakfasts.
  • Purchased non-toxic cleaning products.
  • Requested that religious school curriculum include environmental material - Jewish texts that promote environmental stewardship.
  • Presenting green options for Bar and Bat Mitzvah "mitzvah" projects.
  • Provided our first "green-as-we-can" kiddush with sustainably grown/low spray kosher wine, free trade organic coffee and tea, and organic milk - recycle bins prominently in place.
  • Held a Green Shabbat at the congregation, with a short speech from our Ecology Committee and information tables during kiddush.


Canfei Nesharim, the leader of a Torah-based environmental movement, makes a connection between traditional Jewish sources and modern environmental issues and promotes ongoing dialogue about our Torah responsibility to protect the environment. Click here to view a weekly drash on the environment, entitled Eitz Chayim Hee: A Torah Commentary for Environmental Learning and Action.