As part of an ongoing sustainability project at The Jewish Center of Princeton, the synagogue hosted a back-to-shul “Green Festival” on Sept. 14 to educate its members on how to take better care of the environment.
About 200 people of all ages biked, walked, or carpooled to the festival to take part in a broad range of environmentally themed programs. Cochairs were Suki Wasserman of Princeton and TJC program director Neil Wise.
Participants took a tour of the only vegetable oil-powered bus in the United States, operated by the Teva Learning Center; fashioned such “eco-art” projects as pencil holders made of discarded cans and bottles; and created solar ovens from pizza boxes and tin foil. Booths were set up to collect used bikes and shoes for the needy, and the Princeton Environmental Commission and Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association hosted information booths about leaf composting, recycling, and taking care of local water sources.
The day also featured a story time, children’s song fest, and butterfly demonstration. Participants were encouraged to have “utensil-less” refreshments, like pizza and ice cream cones.
The center’s environmental efforts “have really taken off in a big way,” said Wasserman, who cochairs the shul’s sustainability subcommittee along with her husband, Matthew. The subcommittee sponsors a wide range of events, she said, such as organic cooking demonstrations, training programs for students and staff on recycling at the synagogue, a family bike ride, and a “green” week. Additionally, Wasserman said, TJC’s Rabbi Adam Feldman is “just really committed to sustainability and the environment.”
To ensure continuity of the event’s messages, organizers offered a Jewish New Year’s resolution table with a list of 54 environmentally friendly habits for families to take on. “We tried to make sure that what we did would really result in action,” Wasserman said.