Green Shabbat

Synagogues and Jewish organizations will engage in environmentally friendly practices, learning about Jewish connections to the Earth, advocating on behalf of the climate and committing to help ensure a healthier and more sustainable planet.

On Friday night and Saturday morning, Aug. 13-14, members of the Metro Detroit Jewish community will come together to celebrate Green Shabbat, sponsored by Hazon Detroit.

More than a dozen partnering synagogues and Jewish organizations will spend Shabbat, each from its own location, engaged in environmentally friendly practices, learning about Jewish connections to the Earth, advocating on behalf of the climate and committing to help ensure a healthier and more sustainable planet. The event takes place in association with the 2021 Hazon Michigan Jewish Food Festival happening on Aug. 15.

“We recognize that issues of the environment and sustainability really cut across all different kinds of organizations, geography and denominations, and that sustainability and caring for the planet is a Jewish and human value and something we can all get behind,” said Rabbi Nate DeGroot of Hazon Detroit.

“This is a chance for the community to get excited about the festival, to celebrate the sustainability efforts this community has taken on and to feel connected after a long time apart.”

The core of the program is a collective Zoom call at 7 p.m. Friday for all the communities who are participating to do the Kiddush and HaMotzi together, along with a brief welcome and celebration of the community’s participation and efforts toward sustainability.

Then, each community will take it and run with it in the way they best see fit.

“Some of the rabbis in these communities might be giving sermons on the topic of sustainability, some might be featuring special foods at their dinner or at their oneg,” DeGroot said. “Many of them will be using compostable dishware, plates, cups and utensils, or reusable/washable ones.”

Community members are urged to seek out what their home community or synagogue has planned and then to participate in that service or celebration. “In essence, showing up at their home community, and together, celebrating as a large community,” DeGroot said.

“For none of these organizations is this the starting point for their sustainability work — these are all organizations who have been committed to growing their practices of sustainability and participating in community-wide efforts to do the same,” DeGroot said.

“Hopefully this will be a furthering and deepening, but also a celebration of the work that has been ongoing and will be continuing going forward.”

To find out which synagogues and organizations are participating, to sign-up for the live Zoom event and for other information, visit hazon.org/calendar/greenshabbat2021

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