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First Northern community awarded EcoSynagogue audit award

Laura Rhodes and Aimi Sugarman from Hull Reform Synagogue

Ne’ve Shalom, Hull Reform Synagogue earned Bronze at the first ever EcoSynagogue Audit Awards, set up to celebrate the Jewish communities who are doing the most in their communities to help combat the climate emergency.

In total 14 communities achieved awards with one Gold, four Silver and nine Bronze given out. To qualify, they had to score 80% (Gold), 60% (Silver) or 40% (Bronze) in EcoSynagogue’s Environmental Audit.

EcoSynagogue, a project in partnership with the Board of Deputies, spans the whole Jewish community with rabbinic leadership from four denominations of Judaism. The Audit is a free online resource that assesses a community’s environmental awareness and implementation – covering management commitment, prayer and teaching, lifestyle, land, buildings, consumables and local and global engagement.

The Awards were given out – via video link from the EcoSynagogue stand in the Green Zone at COP26 – by Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl and the EcoSynagogue Rabbinic Team of Rabbis Mark Goldsmith, David Mason, Jonathan Wittenberg and Tanya Sakhnovich, along with Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis.

Hull Reform Synagogue won praise from the judges, picking up a Bronze Award for their efforts in making key changes to synagogue life.

The community’s Laura Rhodes and Aimi Sugarman said: “What we have found interesting is how easy it is to invest money in an ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) friendly way. This can make a huge difference to the environment and is sustainable for the future.

“We are really hopeful that this time next year we will have an educational and memorial garden, and be well on the way to our Silver Award!”

West London Synagogue were the first British Synagogue to be awarded a Gold Award, in recognition for implementing a number of changes after making a commitment to move as close as possible to Carbon Zero. The synagogue is vegetarian/vegan only, all waste is audited and they are developing a space on the building’s roof for a biblical garden.

The EcoSynagogue Rabbinic Team said: “We are delighted and inspired by the number of communities who are now on the EcoSynagogue pathway, particularly our first 14 awardees who show what can be achieved by putting a focus on combatting the climate emergency at the heart of everything we do.”

EcoSynagogue has nearly 50 communities now registered, a number which is set to grow after the success of last week’s EcoShabbat. All those who are join are eligible to earn an award, which will now be presented every 6-12 months.

To find out more, and sign up, please visit www.ecosynagogue.org.

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