Rabbi Jonathan Klein's Blog

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Me in the Jewish Journal (funny picture); Rabbinic Commitment to Change


A rabbi's job includes social justice advocacy; i'm always looking for excuses to take a larger role in community affairs. I"m on the Board of Rabbis now, as well as serving on the Environmental Commission of Assemblymember Karen Bass's district and taking an active role in CLUE's campaign for the Wilshire Plaza Hotel workers. Lately, I have also been quite involved with PJA's Economic Justice Working Group: www.pjalliance.org.

Why aren't more rabbis finding ways to get involved beyond their synagogues? It's an urgent need, as Jews become more and more comfortable with the status quo (as their economic power separates them from those still struggling). Lo Ta'amod al dam reiyecha, do not stand idly by the blood of your neighbor, means we cannot remain silent.

All clergy must read Martin Luther King, Jr's "Letter from Birmingham Jail" if they want to function in their roles as clergy.

Sometimes, there are tensions, though, between one's belief system and those in the community with which one works. This is one of the reasons why I waited so long to sign the Jews Against the War petition. When it comes to hotel workers, though, there is virtually no reason to stay away. Management needs to share the profits--and clergy must share the prophets--period. The Century Plaza settled, which is wonderful. Let's celebrate the successes and commit to fixing the failures....

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Obama over Giuliani...

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Rabbi Klein's 53 ways to lower your use of nonrenewable resources


This was from a two hour brainstorm:

18 for WATER:
1. Take quicker showers (if you must, set one aside a week when you can luxuriate a little more)
2. Turn off the water every time you put on soap/shampoo.
3. Install low-flow showerheads and faucet heads, or alternatively partially close the valve on your water inlet so that the maximum flow is less.
4. Turn off the water when you brush your teeth.
5. Insulate your water pipes under your house so that the hot water doesn't get cold and so that you then won't wait for the water to get hot.
6. Water your yard less frequently.
7. Plant plants that require less water.
8. Shower less frequently (unless you are planning to come to Hillel! ha ha!)
9. Water plants at nighttime, when evaporation is less and more water ends up in the ground.
10. Install drip irrigation tubes, a technology developed in Israel, to ensure water goes directly to the roots of trees/bushes/plants.
11. Install a water recirculator under your most distant water appliances that will pump your lukewarm water (that you want to be hot) back into your pipes so that you don't waste water waiting for it to get hot.
12. STOP OVEREATING! Most americans are overweight when they have the willpower to not be so, which means they are consuming more foods, which means more processing, which means wasting water.
13. Use a nalgene bottle exclusively for water, so that you never need to wash it and you drink lots of water (which is okay!).
14. Reuse the same towel when you take showers/baths over and over again. Don’t use new towels unless absolutely necessary. This includes at hotels: Rehang the towel you use in the hotel over several nights so the housekeeping staff don’t take it out as laundry, which wastes millions of gallons every year.
15. Wash full loads of laundry and dishes instead of inefficient partial loads.
16. Re-wear clothes that don’t need washing instead of washing them incessantly. It helps clothes last longer while reducing water consumption.
17. Wear less clothing in the summer. Less to wash.
18. Use energy-efficient, low water cycles for both dishes and laundry. Often, dishes and clothes are over-washed unnecessarily.

9 for NATURAL GAS (some are repeated from water-related tips above)
1. INSTALL A SOLAR WATER HEATER in place of a conventional water heater.
2. Eat more raw foods in place of cooked foods, so that you burn less gas for heat. Eat less meats or, better yet, be a vegetarian, so that you don't need to cook the meats.
3. If you have solar panels, install electrical burners in place of gas burners.
4. Insulate your water heater and water pipes so that they don't have to work as hard to heat your water.
5. Install a water recirculator with a timer and an override switch so that your water will be hot when you take a shower, as well as not wasting gas when you aren't home.
6. STOP OVEREATING! Most Americans are overweight. Most have the ability not to be so (though not all, and we need to respect obese and overweight individuals, who are no less G-d’s image than those that are thin), which means they are consuming more foods, including foods they cook. This is a waste of the natural gas used to heat it. We should all be careful to reach the happy medium between overweight and underweight, as this will prolong our lives. I write this with some concern, as I know some students whom I haven’t figured out how to talk to them regarding what seem to be their eating disorders. Especially their anorexia. PLEASE, SERIOUSLY, IN G-D’S NAME, TAKE CARE OF YOUR HEALTH FIRST, YOUR APPEARANCE LAST. Don’t confuse health and appearance, despite their connections.
7. Hand-dry clothes when possible (admittedly, i just don't do that!).
8. Wear more clothing when it is cold outside. This will lead you to resist the need to raise the heat, which in California means burning natural gas.
9. Make sure not to wash towels unnecessarily, including hotel towels which you can use on multiple days during your stay. When they are washed, they end up being dried in industrial dryers which use natural gas.

1. SHABBAT: Take a day off from using electricity, gasoline, oil, etc. Don't go anywhere except by foot. Make Shabbat a "Day of Sustainability."
2. ADD SOLAR PANELS TO YOUR HOME: Save $$ while diverting all your needs to a sustainable resource.
3. Bike to school/work instead of driving. Good for your body, reduces gasoline.
4. Bike whenever you can, in place of driving.
5. Use public transportation, which lowers your miles per gallon per person. Follow this order: 1) public rail systems, 2) public buses.
6. Drive a hybrid or other vehicle that reduces oil usage or utilizes renewable resources (ethanol is better than oil, hydrogen might become better than either of these, and solar/wind/other renewables are the best). This will also encourage the development of these technologies. In France, they have developed a car that runs entirely on electricity, solar energy, and wind energy (and in France, they use nuclear power for 80% of their electricity, which means virtually no carbon emissions).
7. Once plug-in hybrid cars or, better yet, plug-in electrical cars become available, buy one!!!
8. Minimize the purchase of items with lots of packaging.
9. Buy in bulk.
10. DON'T BUY WATER. Studies have shown that most of it is nearly equivalent to metropolitan water quality, and just as healthy . If you must, take a reusable water bottle with you everywhere and fill it with Sparkletts/Arrowhead/etc., which comes in reusable water jugs. Water bottles simply fill our landfills with petroleum-based plastics. Besides, you'll save money!
11. Don't over-illuminate. People use inefficient lighting, pointless waste of lighting. Look up "over-illumination" on Wikipedia for more info. Turn off lights or use motion sensor lights, even at home in doors!
12. Use low energy compact fluorescent bulbs (CFB's) when possible.
13. Switch out older lighting appliances that cannot use low energy CFB's with those that can.
14. If your appliances that you cast out are reusable (like appliances that use the regular incandescent bulbs), donate them to a worthwhile charity unless they are egregious resource guzzlers (like old cars with low fuel efficiencies).
15. Buy energy star appliances, rated for low energy (usually gas or electricity) consumption. This includes computers!
16. Buy smaller vehicles; there's no reason that you need to drive in a massive (heavy) car for daily use if you are the only one in the car. Hummers = evil, SUV's = bad, Prius's and other hybrids = necessary vice. Segways, GEM cars = okay. Bicycles, skateboards, and your legs = good! The heavier the carrier, the more nonrenewables you are likely utilizing.
17. Bring a mug with you to Starbucks and everywhere you go; ask them to use it instead of a plastic cup.
18. Don't use a straw.
19. Follow this order for shopping: 1) reusable fabric bags, 2) paper bags, 3)plastic bags.
20. Turn off (hibernate/sleep) your computer before leaving work/home.
21. Follow this order for entertaining: 1) reusable dinnerware, 2) compostable dinnerware, 3) paper dinnerware, 4) plastic dinnerware.
22. Frequent stores/ restaurants that demonstrate a commitment to sustainability. Though Coffee Bean, in my opinion, uses too much lighting, they still are making a good-faith effort by using CFBs and paper cups and advertising this as a concern of theirs.
23. Set timers on your home lighting so that you don't leave lights on when it is daytime.
24. Eat leftovers: don't waste food.
25. Shop locally, eat local food products, buy American-made products that don't require transporting across the world, minimize the expense of getting things to you.
26. Let dishes air-dry instead of using the dishwasher's heat setting, which uses lots of electricity.