Green Shabbat: Faith leaders urge investment in eco-friendly Judaism

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Green Shabbat: Faith leaders urge investment in eco-friendly Judaism

Chief Rabbi Mirvis among communal figures to back initiative in wake of lockdown which 'highlighted how irresponsible our society has been in regard to the environment'

Photo by Margot RICHARD on Unsplash
Photo by Margot RICHARD on Unsplash

Religious and communal leaders have said the coronavirus pandemic represents an opportunity for the Jewish community to invest in eco-friendly changes, in a call to arms ahead of this weekend’s Green Shabbat.

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis was among several senior figures to back the cross-communal initiative, saying the pandemic had “highlighted in so many ways how irresponsible our society has been in regard to the environment”.

He praised Eco Synagogue, which is supported by United Synagogue, Reform Judaism, Liberal Judaism and Masorti denominations, as he urged “action” in one of a series of videos published this week.

In her own video, Senior Reform Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner said the community “has a duty to do less, fly less, consume less,” while Liberal Judaism’s Rabbi Charley Baginsky said during lockdown she had “heard the birds for the first time” and “been able to open the windows without fearing the pollution” near her central London home.

Likewise Rabbi David Mason of Muswell Hill United Synagogue said now represented an opportunity “to think about the habits we can develop to help the environment, both as individuals and as a community”. 

Organisers of Eco Synagogue, including Senior Masorti Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, have also worked with the Board of Deputies to mark London Climate Action Week with a series of events, including an online seminar on Thursday evening.

Among the speakers are Tamara Finkelstein, who was appointed permanent secretary at the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) last year, and Josie Cohen of Pesticide Action Network UK.

Board vice-president Edwin Shuker urged all UK synagogues “to embrace a more sustainable way of operating, and to make sure our relationship with the environment is a focal point of both our personal and communal lives”.


Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: