Jewish groups weigh plans to 'green' their communities

North American Jewish community organizations with large real estate holdings are interested in learning how to reduce energy use in their buildings.

green energy 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
green energy 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
North American Jewish community organizations with large real estate holdings are interested in learning how to reduce energy use in their buildings. Forty leaders from 17 organizations met in Baltimore for a conference about the environment last week sponsored by UJC/Jewish Federations of North America and the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life. At the conference, participants discussed ways their communities could go green. Community projects and initiatives were discussed as were infrastructure issues. Property holding organizations were invited because buildings are huge energy users and greenhouse gas emitters. Buildings also consume as much as 30 percent of organizations' overhead. Building on the momentum created at the conference, UJC plans to create a Web site to provide Federations with the resources to "go green." The site will include tools and information including a list of environmentally friendly vendors and profiles of Federations taking innovative approaches to environmental sustainability. UJC will also create "green" service projects as a way to engage communities, while promoting environmental sustainability. In addition to UJC and the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, some of the 17 groups participating in the greening conference were Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, the Orthodox Union, the JCC Association and other major Jewish organizations that own or operate significant real estate.