Category Archives: Energy Efficiency

Green Mosque, Green Shul

Here’s a nice piece that ran on Chicago’s ABC affiliate last January: a feature on JRC’s green building as well as a local mosque that incorporated energy-saving features into their recent renovation. Especially nice that they highlighted two “Abrahamic environmental efforts.”  (One snarky correction: it’s Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation, not Center).

JRC Dons the Green Beanie!


I’m proud to announce that JRC has tied for First Place in the JTA’s Green Beanie awards! (An honorable concept, though a more dignified name might be in order…)

The JTA sponsored the competition to recognize groundbreaking environmental initiatives in the Jewish community.  Apparently, they received over 100 applications from Jewish organizations and institutions around the world.

Check out the piece and learn more about the other finalists who are doing important and sacred work. It’s so great to see how the Jewish community continues to deepen its commitment to a sustainable world.

Faith in Place

Check out this nice video piece produced by Faith in Place – a coalition of over 400 faith communities throughout Illinois committed to the sacred practice of environmental and economic sustainability. I’m proud to say that JRC (who is featured in the clip) is a longtime member.

From the FIP website:

Our mission is to help people of faith understand that issues of ecology and economy—of care for Creation—are at the forefront of social justice. At Faith in Place we believe in housing the homeless, feeding the hungry and clothing the naked. But even if we do all those things, and love our brothers and sisters with our whole heart, it will not matter if we neglect the ecological conditions of our beautiful and fragile planet.

As temperatures rise and fossil fuel supplies fall, the burden of climate change and scarcity will land primarily on the poor, and eventually will come home to us all. We must practice love and justice in the way we use the ecological commons of air, water and soil. We must be willing to make sacrifices for a sustainable economy.

The End of Empire: A Sermon for Rosh Hashanah

My sermon for Rosh Hanshanah Day 5769 was something of a sequel to the one I delivered the night before. I’ve reworked it here, based on a version I gave today at Lake St. Church’s World Community Sabbath. (Those of you who read the previous sermon will notice I carried some passages over into this one).

Click below to read:

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JRC Goes Platinum!

I am thrilled to announce JRC has officially achieved a LEED level Platinum rating from the US Green Building Council (USGBC), making it the highest rated green house of worship in the world!

I’ve written about this extensively before, but just to recap:  LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the point-based review process created by USGBC to certify green buildings.  It is an extremely rigorous system requiring creative integrated design, detailed record keeping and a demanding submission process. Platinum is the highest of four levels of LEED certification, requiring fifty-two points. In the end, JRC earned all fifty-three of the points for which we applied!

Visit the JRC website for the official announcement.  For much, much more on the entire project, check out the JRC Construction Diaries in this blog.

JRC’s New Home: Summer into Fall

It’s been quite a while since I posted a pic of JRC’s new building. We’ve been settling in for about half a year now and are thoroughly enjoying our new home. Here’s a shot of the exterior with our new front garden, filled with local, drought-resistant species planted by our devoted Garden Havurah.

Our house is quickly becoming a spiritual home: it’s witnessed many, many celebrations, classes, meetings, etc. Also B’nai Mitzvah, two weddings, and sadly, too many funerals. It’s breathtaking how quickly you create memories…

We should be getting official word on our LEED rating from the US Green Building Council very, very soon. We are still hoping for Platinum – stay tuned!

JRC’s Conscious Choice

JRC’s new green synagogue building was spotlighted in this nice feature from Conscious Choice Magazine last April. A few corrections though:

– We have not yet been certified by the US Green Building Council. We continue to hope for a Platinum rating and expect receive final word in a few months.

– The rubble in our gabion walls is not recycled from our old building but from other demolished buildings.

– Our building is not made of 96% recycled materials – rather, 96% of our old building was reclaimed and recycled for other uses.