Jewish Climate Leadership Coalition
And who knows, you may have been chosen for just such a time as this. -Esther 4:14
The Jewish Climate Leadership Coalition is a network of Jewish community organizations who recognize the existential threat and moral urgency of climate change and commit to take action.
The potential power of our community’s collective action is immense. By working together, the impacts of individual organizations will be amplified, rippling throughout networks, neighborhoods, and beyond.
The Coalition is a network of Jewish community organizations who develop Climate Action Plans. Climate Action Plans outline the strategic priorities of your organization’s climate work by detailing actions taken to-date and setting goals for both reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and mobilizing your broader networks around climate action in the coming year.
When organizations join the Coalition, their chief executive or rabbi signs the Coalition Founding Statement and designates a staff liaison to coordinate their organization’s climate action work.
Adamah provides the structure, guidance, and resources to support your organization in creating and implementing your climate action plan.
Jewish organizations everywhere are invited to join the Coalition. There is no cost to membership.
In spring 2022, twenty major umbrella Jewish organizations joined the Coalition as founding partners, demonstrating broad consensus that the Jewish community is ready and capable of taking collective climate action. These organizations are working to mobilize and support their networks in taking meaningful action around climate.
In fall 2022, the Coalition opened to all Jewish community organizations. Since then, 190 synagogues, summer camps, JCCs, Federations, Hillels, and others have joined. See the full list of Coalition members who have already committed to climate action.
Below are the 2023 Climate Action Plans of the founding partners.
Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore
Central Conference of American Rabbis
Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs
JCC Association of North America
Jewish Federations of North America
For Coalition members, Adamah is developing resources and partnerships to support two focused areas of climate work: achieving organizational net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and engaging the broader Jewish community in climate action.
Getting to Zero Emissions
We have identified four steps, through which an organization can ultimately achieve net-zero GHG emissions. They are:
- Source Clean Electricity: Purchase clean electricity from the grid, or produce your own with solar.
- Go Electric: Make a plan that documents all non-electric appliances (e.g. gas furnaces and boilers) and when they will expire. Start planning now for how to replace them with electric versions.
- Reduce Emissions: Make energy efficiency retrofits; adjust food and travel practices; and manage natural resources to sequester carbon through nature-based solutions.
- Offset Emissions That Can’t Be Reduced: Some GHG emissions are unavoidable. For those that cannot be eliminated, purchase vetted carbon offsets.
The steps above can save money, reduce reliance on fossil fuels, and make our organizations more sustainable and resilient. When we pair reducing our emissions with activities that amplify our climate action work beyond the walls of our institutions, our impact can be even greater.
- Education and Nature Connection: Engage communities through programs, celebrations, and learning moments that ground us in our connection with Earth and inspire collective action.
- Advocacy: Advocate for climate-smart policies.
- Finance: Choose organizational investments, endowments, and banking relationships based on their climate impacts.
All members of the Coalition commit to creating and implementing a Climate Action Plan, a strategic plan for an organization’s climate work. Climate Action Plans detail climate actions taken to-date, and set goals for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the coming year. Climate Action Plans will be shared annually around Tu BiShvat (January/February).
There are no minimum requirements for Climate Action Plans.
Adamah will support Coalition members in the following ways, so you can confidently commit to climate action:
Each month, Adamah will host learning sessions designed to support your climate action planning. Topics will include:
- Creating and Buying Clean Electricity
- Carbon Offsets: What are they? How to get them? Do they work?
- Money Matters: Financing, incentives, and cost-savings
- Food and Food Waste: Eating your way to reduced GHG emissions
- Youth in Action: Working with Gen-Z for institutional change
Communities of Practice
From synagogues to Federations, day schools to Hillels, youth movements to rabbinical schools, Adamah will connect each Coalition member with a community of practice, which will meet quarterly. Communities of practice, facilitated in partnership with the founding partners, will afford Coalition members opportunities to network, inspire, learn, and share best practices with colleagues in similar organizations.
Office Hours and Consultation
Each week, a Adamah staff person will hold office hours and be available for Coalition members to drop in and ask questions or seek support. Different Adamah staff members bring specific areas of climate expertise, and will be listed on the office hours schedule.
Additionally, all Coalition members can schedule an annual one-on-one consultation with an Adamah staff person for customized support in developing their Climate Action Plan.
Climate Action Fund
Coalition members are eligible to apply for interest-free loans and matching grants through Adamah to support your efforts to get to zero GHG emissions. Interest-free loans of up to $100,000, with a five year pay-back, and matching grants of up to $10,000 are available. There are also regionally specific opportunities: a Baltimore Green Loan Fund and a matching grant fund for Coalition member organizations based in Orange County, CA. Upcoming deadlines are in May and June 2023. Additional loan and grant opportunities will be added as funds are available. Join the Coalition to be eligible to pursue these funding opportunities!
If you’re ready, go ahead and join the Jewish Climate Leadership Coalition! But if you’d like to learn more, please join us at one of our upcoming 45-minute Coalition info sessions. We’ll briefly reflect on why taking climate action is critical in the Jewish community, cover what the Coalition is, explain what Adamah means by “climate action,” and review the support and benefits available to Coalition members. Click here for dates and to register.
If the upcoming dates don’t work or you just can’t wait, you can watch a recording of a past info session and/or review the slides shared during the presentation.
Any Jewish nonprofit organization can apply to join the Jewish Climate Leadership Coalition. While the Coalition is open to Jewish community organizations anywhere, our climate action resources are geared towards North American Jewish institutions.
You can start right now by registering to join the Coalition or sending the registration link to the chief executive or rabbi of your organization! Once your organization registers, you will receive email confirmation and information about upcoming Welcome Sessions (mandatory for all new members).
Coalition members will be connected with their communities of practice upon registration. Communities of practice will begin meeting in January 2023.
Not sure if you’re ready to join yet? Join us for an upcoming Coalition Info Session to find out more about the Coalition and see if this program aligns with where you are on your climate journey.
Yes! We host monthly Welcome Sessions to welcome new members year-round.
While organizations can join at any time, all Coalition members are expected to submit and share their Climate Action Plans annually around Tu BiShvat (January/February).
Coalition members who join in 2022/2023 will submit and share their Climate Action Plans before Tu BiShvat (January) in 2024. Ready to get to work sooner than that? Great! Climate action work can start immediately… only the sharing of Climate Action Plans needs to wait.
If a Coalition member joins with less than six months before Tu BiShvat, they can choose to share their Climate Action Plan the following year.
Tu BiShvat, the fifteenth day of the Hebrew month of Shevat, is the new year for trees according to rabbinic Jewish tradition. Trees have their own new year, as a variety of traditional Jewish laws related to fruit trees depend on accounting for the tree’s age. In modern times, Tu BiShvat has been embraced as a day of renewal and celebration for the Jewish environmental movement.
Tu Bi’Shvat is ultimately a Jewish day of nature accounting, taking stock of the past year and looking ahead towards the future. Similarly, we will use this date to account for our climate action work, each year noting the ways we are ensuring the future health and abundance of the natural world. What better way to honor the new year of the trees than by sharing out our collective Jewish community response to the climate crisis!
Participation in the Jewish Climate Leadership Coalition is ongoing. Organizational membership is conditional on annual updating, strengthening, and sharing of Climate Action Plans.
Coalition members should anticipate spending 2-5 hours/month engaging in climate action work. Your time might be spent participating in communities of practice meetings, attending Climate Action webinars, asking questions of Adamah staff during scheduled office hours, and/or working with your organization’s staff and lay leadership team to draft, implement, and evaluate your Climate Action Plans.
Nope! In fact, joining the Coalition offers your organization the possibility of receiving grant and loan funding for climate action through the Climate Action Fund.
Yes! Coalition members are eligible to apply for interest-free loans and matching grants through Adamah to support your efforts to get to zero GHG emissions. Interest-free loans of up to $100,000, with a five year pay-back, and matching grants of up to $10,000 will be available. There is a Baltimore Green Loan Fund and a matching grant fund available to Coalition member organizations based in Orange County, CA. Additional loan and grant opportunities will be added as funds are available. Details on all of the funds are available on the member’s page of the Coalition website, so once you join the Coalition all the information is readily available.
Here are our recommendations for ensuring your organization gets the most out of the Coalition and is successful in your climate goals.
- Identify a strong staff liaison. Your staff liaison could be someone on your organization’s senior leadership team (or someone who has access to your senior leadership team) who cares about climate change and is eager to take on this role. While familiarity with climate solutions is helpful, it is absolutely not required.
- Develop a Climate Action Committee and engage your Board and lay leadership. While Coalition members are required to identify only a single staff liaison, the more support that person has the more likely your organization will achieve its climate action goals. And since some climate actions will require Board approval to move forward, we recommend engaging your organization’s Board and lay leadership in your climate action work as early on and fully as possible, ensuring their buy-in and support (for example, you can have your Board pass a resolution approving the signing of the Founding Statement.)
- Take advantage of the wide variety of climate action resources and supports available to Coalition members. The Jewish Climate Leadership Coalition has been designed to provide the knowledge, support, and connections necessary to achieve your climate action goals. Make the most of the resources available:
- Sign up for a Welcome Session after you register;
- Actively participate in your organization’s community of practice;
- Attend relevant webinars;
- Read the monthly newsletter (which will have information about upcoming learning and funding opportunities!);
- Join one or more of the Adamah staff person’s office hours with your questions. Consult the Climate Action Resource Guides.
Having a Climate Action Committee will ensure your organization has the capacity to make use of all of these resources.
Yes! Each Coalition member will develop a Climate Action Plan that reflects their unique situation. So whether you are a renter, building owner, or don’t even use a building, you can join the Coalition and identify climate actions that are meaningful and achievable for you.
Yes, we can help you!
We at Adamah regularly feel overwhelmed by the climate crisis and we use the words of Rabbi Tarfon to remind us “Do not be daunted… You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.” Or, in the words of environmental activist Pattie Gonia: “Here is the truth: We don’t need a handful of people taking perfect action. We need millions of people taking imperfect action. Every. Single. Day. So, take your talent, skills, resources and all your forms of capital and ask yourself, ‘What I can I do for our planet today?’”
We are not asking you to solve the climate crisis. You can, however, do your part by joining the Jewish Climate Leadership Coalition and committing to the doable and high-impact process outlined above. We will guide you through – one step at a time.
Wait! I still have questions!
Please contact us a firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to connecting with you!
Coalition Member Resources
Members of the Jewish Climate Leadership Coalition commit to developing, implementing, evaluating, and sharing an organizational Climate Action Plan each year. We are here to help you and to make that process as simple and meaningful as possible.