280 Jewish groups set environmental goals for Tu B’Shevat

The overwhelming majority of the members of the Adamah’s Jewish Climate Leadership Coalition offer a plant-based option at events where food is served (89%) and are in the process of reducing the emissions from their buildings (97%), according to new data gathered by the organization, eJewishPhilanthropy’s Judah Ari Gross reports.

To coincide with Tu B’Shevat, the 280 organizations who are members of the coalition will be releasing their “Climate Action Plans” for the coming year today, recording the measures that they have already implemented and the ones they plan to undertake in the coming year.

Adamah reviewed the plans before their release and found that many groups are working to move their buildings to renewable energy and that the majority — 61% — are moving away from natural gas and other fossil fuels and toward electric options.

The story being revealed through these Climate Action Plans is one of commitment, progress, and hope.

Liore Milgrom Gartner, Adamah’s deputy climate action director

“We are seeing the myriad of ways that Jewish community organizations in the coalition are setting ambitious but attainable climate action goals, both to reduce institutional greenhouse gas emissions and to expand our collective impact by engaging our networks to undertake climate action alongside us.”

Adamah also found that more than 67,000 members of the coalition organizations have “engaged in climate-focused programming in 2023.”

In addition to offering advice and counseling to organizations through regular meetings, Adamah has also developed a Climate Action Fund to help organizations finance their ecological programs. Throughout 2023, the group provided $450,000 in matching grants and interest-free loans to 16 Jewish organizations — synagogues, camps, Jewish community centers, schools — to install sustainable infrastructure, which Adamah expects will pay for themselves in a little over a year and will “reduce emissions by over 900 metric tons each year.”

Adamah launched the coalition in September 2022 with 20 founding members, including the Foundation for Jewish Camp, Hillel International, JCC Association of North America, Jewish Federations of North America and the Reconstructionist, Reform and Conservative movements. It now includes synagogues, JCCs, federations, camps, schools and a host of other Jewish organizations from across the country and denominational spectrum, though it does not have as much purchase in the Orthodox community.