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You are here: Home » GreenFaith in the Media » Press Clips » Adath Shalom Honored for Environmental Commitment

Adath Shalom Honored for Environmental Commitment

By Natalie Davis
Parsippany Patch

Adath Shalom in Morris Plains, NJ gains the GreenFaith Energy Shield.

Adath Shalom Honored for Environmental Commitment

Rabbi Lawrence Troster, GreenFaith's Rabbinic Scholar-in-Residence, awards Adath Shalom their Energy Shield

An enthusiastic audience was at Adath Shalom, Parsippany's conservative Jewish temple, to see the synagogue receive acknowledgement for its efforts to operate sustainably, using green principles.

The congregation, at 841 Mountain Way, was honored Sunday morning with the GreenFaith Energy Shield award for adopting a comprehensive and effective approach to responsible energy use. Adath Shalom is the first synagogue in the nation to receive the honor.

GreenFaithis a New Jersey interfaith coalition for the environment that was founded in 1992.  It works with houses of worship, religious schools and people of all faiths to help them focus on issues of sustainability and environmental justice in hopes of becoming better environmental stewards.

As part of the group's efforts, it offers a rigorous two-year GreenFaith certification program allowing faith communities to become environmental leaders. The organization provides resources, one-on-one coaching, support and networking opportunities to help worship spaces do holistic environmental programming. Only 10 religious institutions so far have earned the certification; nearly 70 nationwide are involved in the program.

Parsippany's St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church is also a part of the GreenFaith effort.

Since most of Adath Shalom's members come from Parsippany and Randolph, Par-Troy Mayor James Barberio and Randolph Deputy Mayor James B. Loveys were on hand to congratulate the congregation on their environmental achievement. Barberio presented a proclamation hailing the green-focused efforts.

Temple Executive Vice President Larry Appel said that while going green has been a long and important process for the synagogue, it really has been a combination of acts large and small.

"It's a lot of little things," he said, pointing out the ceiling lights in the Adath Shalom sanctuary. "We got a grant for these. They look like regular lights, but they're much more energy efficient than the ones in the lobby. What we like is that when you come in, the lights make you feel warmer as a result, which is what we wanted."

Adath Shalom also wanted the ecumenical connections that GreenFaith encourages. Appel noted that its GreenTeam has been working with Chatham's Stanley Church and the Peace Islands Institute on eco-issues.

He added that grant monies received from a variety of funding groups made much of the green improvements possible. Among the programs underway, including upgrading lighting systems, are the shul's recycling effort (which includes recycling unwanted electronics devices), its sale of energy-efficient light bulbs and its commitment to using environmentally friendly cleaning products.

And there is more Adath Shalom wishes to accomplish.

"We tried to do a solar project," Appel said. "But with all the incentive changes, we weren't able to make it work. We're trying to get it done in a way that makes sense."

Going green also makes a lot of sense for any faith community, he said.

"Everyone needs to be a steward for the environment. There is definitely a religious aspect to all this," Appel explained. "Everyone has a responsibility to the Earth. We're trying to do our own little piece, not just doing things in our building, but inspiring our members and others to make a difference for the planet in their homes and in their lives and to build awareness of the importance of environmental justice."

Appel offered specific thanks to Bill Friedman, chair of Adath Shalom's Green Team, synagogue President (and former Green Team leader) Mike Stepak and Rabbi Lawrence Troster, director of GreenFaith's Fellowship Program and an eco-theologian nationally known for his efforts to boost environmental activism within conservative Jewish congregations.

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