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Get Inspired!

Just as we watch for long-term trends that could adversely impact our employees and shareholders, we have studied the consequences of our continued assault on nature and have determined that unless we change, we may be responsible for catastrophic losses to ourselves and others.  Our concern for the environment is not a short-term attempt to improve our image, but a strategic change necessary to guide our corporation into and through the 21st century.

Interface, Inc., Sustainability Report, 1997

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Monday
Nov072011

Congregation Beth El

Congregation Beth El, 8215 Old Georgetown Rd, Bethesda, MD 20814, 301-652-2606 is a Conservative, egalitarian Jewish congregation determined to be both traditional and adaptive to modern life.  We offer a place of worship, a place of study, and a place of community, and as we expand we have been determined to reduce our environmental impact on Montgomery County.  Since 2007, our Green Tikkun committee has helped Beth El adopt enough eco-friendly practices to be the first congregation in Montgomery County to earn Green Certification.  In so doing, we hope to influence congregants to implement the same eco-friendly practices in their homes, schools, and places of work.

We offer programs for every stage of life, including a Pre-School; Religious School; daily early morning and evening Minyanim; a variety of Shabbat services, including for children; delicious Kiddushim; B’nai/B’not mitzvah preparation; Adult Education; Senior activities; a vibrant Sisterhood (and Zahava, for younger women) and Men’s Club (and Jews & Brews for younger men); a wonderful Library and Book Club; Youth Groups; Shir Atid chilcren’s choir; Ahavat Shir adult choir, and Marak HaYom, a teen-led a Capella group; Israel Media series; Mah Jongg;  a multitude of committees to join (such as the Green Tikkun, our environmental group), a Chevra Kadisha, and much more.

Some of the unique environmental steps we have taken include:

  • Sponsoring two “dumpster dives” to analyze the content and volume of our waste
  • Hiring a compost hauler
  • Having compost bins in our kitchens and at each event where food is served
  • Creating signage to sort compost from trash from recycling at Beth El
  • Reducing our trash, as a result, by over 60% by weight
  • Phasing out Styrofoam
  • Using washable dishes for most food events
  • Creating an environmental checklist for outside caterers
  • Using 50% wind energy
  • Hosting Fresh and Local Community Supported Agriculture for the past 3 years
  • Preschool Tu Bi Shevat program has children plant parsley seeds for Passover in compost made from Beth El’s food waste
  • Religious School contest to “Reduce Fuel To Shul” promotes walking, biking and carpools in exchange for eco-friendly prize
  • Hosting 2 “E-cycling” events for electronics
  • Hosting environmental speakers and workshops