On a ferociously cold evening in November 1978, Rabbi Everett Gendler climbed atop the icy roof of Temple Emanuel in Lowell, Mass., and installed solar panels to fuel the synagogue's ner tamid (eternal light).
"We plugged it almost directly into the sun," said Gendler, who rejoiced that the ner tamid was no longer dependent on the finite and politically questionable energy resources of the Middle East.
More than 220 Jewish environmental activists gathered in Malibu last weekend for this year's Mark and Sharon Bloome Jewish Environmental Leadership Institute, sponsored by the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL). Professionals from Jewish educational, environmental and outreach institutions came from as far as Canada, Europe and Israel.
Why would a group of more than 40 Jews from various occupations,movements, ages and geographic locations stand, arms entwined, in a circle, singing Jewish melodies at the Sepulveda Dam Recreation Area?The common bond they share is environmentalism, or more specifically,Jewish environmentalism. With help from Tree People, the group symbolically planted a sapling Monday in the park as part of the closing ceremony of the COEJL (Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life) Jewish Environment Leadership Training Institute.