from Hadassah.org – courtesy of Thelma Michelson
In the story of Hanukkah, a small amount of oil, which should have lasted for only one day, miraculously sustained a flame for eight days. When it comes to the consumption of the world’s natural resources we are, unfortunately, unable to make them stretch as far as the oil in the story. Hanukkah reminds us of the importance of conserving our natural resources so that we, much like the flame in the story, will continue to thrive.
Hadassah’s work has a deep concern for our environment and a commitment to conservation. This commitment is derived from Judaism’s traditional view of humans’ stewardship of the earth. The Jewish principles of bal tashchit – “do not destroy” – and tikkun olam – “repairing the world” – oblige us to conserve our natural resources and take action to alleviate environmental degradation.
WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
Environment Menorah Lighting Ceremony
Reduce Your Own Carbon Footprint.
Take action as you light the menorah. Please consider using this candle lighting ceremony as you light your personal menorah or as you light Hadassah’s virtual menorah. After you recite the prayers please read aloud one way (one for each night) that you will make a difference for the environment and conservation.
Change a light Replacing one regular light bulb with a compact fluorescent light bulb will save 150 pounds of carbon dioxide a year. I can and will do this for the environment!
Drive less Walk, bike, carpool or take mass transit more often. Save one pound of carbon dioxide for every mile I don’t drive! I can and will do this for the environment!
Recycle more I can save 2,400 pounds of carbon dioxide per year by recycling just half of my household waste. I can and will do this for the environment!
Check your tires Keeping my car’s tires inflated properly can improve gas mileage by more than 3%. Every gallon of gasoline saved keeps 20 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere! I can and will do this for the environment!
Use less hot water It takes a lot of energy to heat water. Use less hot water by installing a low flow showerhead (350 pounds of carbon dioxide saved per year) and washing clothes in cold or warm water (500 pounds saved per year). I can and will do this for the environment!
Adjust your thermostat Moving the thermostat down just 2 degrees in winter and up 2 degrees in summer saves about 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year. I can and will do this for the environment!
Turn off electronic devices Simply turning off the television, DVD player, stereo and computer when not using them will save thousands of pounds of carbon dioxide a year. I can and will do this for the environment!
Contact your elected officials Whether it’s on the local, state or national level, let the people who represent me in government know what I think – and what I expect – concerning issues that are important to me. Write, phone and e-mail the mayor, governor and state and national legislative representatives to let them know I am watching – and that I vote. I can and will do this for the environment!
What Hadassah and You do for the Environment
Environment and Hadassah Medical Organization
Did you know?
Researchers from The Hadassah Medical Organization are studying the environmental factors that may cause asthma and are searching for the genes responsible for an increased susceptibility towards the disease.
Environment and Hadassah College Jerusalem
Hadassah College Jerusalem offers a Bachelor of Science degree in environmental health sciences. The curriculum explores the impact of environmental factors on individuals, populations and ecosystems.
Did you know?
Volunteering in the community is part and parcel of the Hadassah College Jerusalem code of ethics. Three students from the Environmental Health Department volunteer at a secret battered women’s shelter in Jerusalem. Recognizing talent and intellectual ability, they have helped several women apply for HCJ scholarships.
Environment and Youth Aliyah/Children at Risk
In addition to celebrating years of educating and changing the lives of needy children, the Meir Shfeyah Youth Village has been a leader in agricultural development in Israel. Ever since Baron Edmund Rothschild planted vineyards and trained new immigrants to work the land, Shfeyah has been involved in farming as both an educational and therapeutic tool.
Did you know?
- Shfeyah’s dairy received a prize for the quality of the milk produced by their pampered cows.
- In response to the still underdeveloped ecological awareness in Israel, both Meir Shfeyah and Hadassah Neurim have adopted recycling programs.
- The Ziv Neurim Project is a unique course offered at Hadassah Neurim. It is led and coordinated by the Israeli Navy. The course exposes teenagers to the sea by teaching them how to operate sea crafts. Twenty students at Neurim will be given the opportunity to take a full two-star diving course at the Red Sea.
Environment and Young Judaea
Tikkun Olam, repairing the world, is taken literally at Young Judaea. Year-round American programs range from cleaning a local park in the Midwest to nationwide efforts to mobilize support for those impacted by hurricane Katrina.
In keeping with these imperatives, Hadassah partners with the Jewish National Fund (JNF), which promotes ecological conservation in Israel and all over the world. During our 82-year partnership, we have built over 150 dams and reservoirs, developed over 250,000 acres of land, created more than 400 parks, and planted thousands of trees.
HADASSAH and THE ENVIRONMENT in the UNITED STATES
In addition to our environmental efforts in Israel, Hadassah has long believed that the United States must decrease its dependence on foreign oil. As Zionists, we are obliged to ensure that the U.S. is never positioned at the whim of regimes that are hostile to Israel. Thus, one of our top domestic priorities is to ensure that the U.S. develops a comprehensive energy policy that decreases U.S. dependence on foreign sources of oil while advancing alternative energy solutions to protect our nation’s environment. Our 300,000 members tirelessly advocate to advance this environmental agenda. To receive up-to-the-minute information about our environmental advocacy efforts, join our E-mail Action Network.
Conservation is a critical part of reducing the effects of global warming, which is exacerbated by the release of high levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Small changes in our daily lives can significantly reduce levels of carbon dioxide produced each year. As you celebrate the eight days of Hanukkah this year, we hope you will include our “Environment Menorah Lighting Ceremony” and take the eight steps to reduce your own carbon footprint.