Hanukkah: A Sustainable Jewish Holiday

800px-Amphorae_stackingHanukkah commemorates the rededication of the second Beis HaMikdash, Second Holy Temple, in Jerusalem in the year 139 BCE. The Jewish war against the Hellenistic assimilationists in the Maccabean Revolt and against the Seleucid and Macedonian Empire renewed public and exulted expressions of our Jewish faith and practice and led to the downslide of Greek customs and values.

One of the major themes throughout this triumphant Jewish holiday is that of sustainability. Similar to the bottles that we all use around the world today, in the time of Hanukkah, it is jars of oil that are very much remembered as a main feature of the eight day holiday celebration. The miraculous burning oil highlights the environmentalist and sustainability principal of doing more with less. This message is just one of many examples of G-d and the Jewish people being tied to the values exemplified within the environmentalist movement today.



Recognizing the need for a stronger presence and focus within Judaism on environmentalism, specifically recycling within the Jewish world, ReJews Recycling seeks to help connect vibrant Jewish life with a focus on being a green, eco-friendly, environmentally-waste-conscious global Jewish community.

Conservation as a Jewish theme manifests itself in many ways, most prominently through tikkun olam. Repairing the world, or at least working to sustain it, modern day Jewish organizations, schools, and businesses are a flurry of activity spanning the globe. Within each and every one, the presence, not of oil jars, but glass and plastic bottles seems to be ever-present. Promoting recycling in the Jewish world, ReJews has connected social entrepreneurship and sustainability with greening at local young professional events, and announcing the welcoming of new beneficiary organizations and groups throughout the Greater Philadelphia area. (Full disclosure: The Philadelphia Jewish Voice is proud to be listed as a “chosen organization.”)

Henry Goodelman, the founder and a Philadelphia native, focuses on supporting success by continually developing improved and innovative services and resource. Henry says that the inspiration to found ReJews came after the Jerusalem Mayor’s office commended an effort to promote recycling in the Old City of Jerusalem as part of a student initiative, and the international organization Aish HaTorah featured a story on environmentalism in Judaism with the concept of bal taschit and not wasting from the Torah as well. Led by his commitment to implementing programming, measuring results, giving practical insight, it is common for Henry to be engaged in and pursuing exciting new collaborative ventures with fellow entrepreneurs and major corporate partners. Promoting recycling to help Jewish people go ‘green’ in an effort to make a kiddush Hashem (sanctification of G-d’s name), both the local and global levels of the Jewish community stand to benefit from the ReJews Recycling program. Google, GoDaddy, Blue Moon, YouTube, Walgreens, and a number of national organizations and agencies have verified and become supporters of ReJews.

Using the connection with these and many other sponsors, ReJews rewards organizations and facilities that commit to recycle their plastic bottles with sponsorship opportunities and free online advertising space. Falling within the recognizable and widely accepted range that is identified as tikkun olam, ReJews has a constant connection and source of access to Jews from all walks of life in its effort to make values based information and insight into traditions available to its followers from respected Rabbis and community leaders.

Honing in on this niche market and global opportunity, as the Festival of Lights arrives into our lives, ReJews is shining bright with multiple major projects already announced. While a bid to help bring a menorah made by ReJews sustainability partner Jonah’s Pipe Works made out of upcycled galvanized pipe to the official White House Hanukkah party was unsuccessful in its first effort, the collaboration is on full display as part of the currently ongoing national Hanukkah clothing drive in a run up to Hoodies for Hannukah fundraiser and concert with Jewish Rapper in NYC on December 13th / 8th night featuring the world class improv artist and Jewish hip-hop musician Kosha Dillz that will feature Jonah’s PipeWorks Menorah at the event.

For more information about ReJews, go to their website:  http://www.rejews.org/  .


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