Although the Eco Synagogue Survey is important, Eco Synagogue is more than just a survey.

Eco Synagogue is a cross-denominational response to the Jewish community’s desire to become more environmentally responsible.

Eco Synagogue’s volunteer Steering Group team supports synagogues who are considering joining, and brings people together to share learning. It also develops resources and guidance to enable effective decision-making and action within individual communities and across the network.

The survey is the centrepiece of Eco Synagogue. It is designed to help each synagogue to assess its own environmental activity across 6 domains – liturgy and prayer; education; building; land; global engagement and lifestyles.

Whether or not your synagogue is already taking steps to reduce its environmental impact, the survey will provide a blueprint to guide its decision-making and planning.

Once your synagogue joins, you can access the online version of the survey which scores activities within each category according to their overall estimated impact. It will be up to your community to decide on your priorities before and after completing the survey (see section below: How do we use the Eco Synagogue survey?).

Members are invited to join our closed Facebook group to access and share information. This will help to reduce duplication of effort and might help members to collaborate around shared goals (e.g., reducing plastic packaging from suppliers, identifying good resources etc).

In addition, the Eco Synagogue team will hold regular member events and workshops around emerging topics of interest to resource individual synagogues and improve the effectiveness and impact of the network as a whole.

Eco Synagogue has been established as a cross-denominational effort, with its earliest members (who currently steer it) being:

Alyth Gardens
Finchley Progressive Synagogue
Finchley Reform Synagogue
Muswell Hill United
New North London Synagogue
Lincolnshire Jewish Community
Kehillas Netzach Yisroel
Golders Green Synagogue
Kehillat Nashira
Kingston Liberal Synagogue
Mitzvah Day
Yeshurun Synagogue
Maidenhead Synagogue
North West Surrey Synagogue
South Hampstead Synagogue
Kol Chai Hatch End Reform Jewish Community
Northwood & Pinner Liberal Synagogue
Sadeh Farm
Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue
Oxford Jewish Congregation
Belsize Square Synagogue
Westminster Synagogue

Since the launch of the project in January 2018, we have received expressions of interest from a further 18 synagogues from throughout London and across the UK. We held our first post-launch workshop on 9th May 2018.

Each question on the survey is weighted to reflect the impact of the relevant action. For example, you get more marks for including ‘the environment’ as a weekly theme in your children’s education programmes than you do for providing a weekly environmental sermon on Shabbat.

As your community responds to the survey, it will be able to define its own parameters (e.g., if it has no land or building). Your responses will help you to see how much you are already doing and what else you could achieve – incentivised by the Bronze, Silver and Gold awards system.

Some of the actions are easier to achieve than others. It might be difficult to inspire the community to take them on. Membership of Eco Synagogue gives you the opportunity to learn how peers have overcome such barriers and to share your own successes in tackling other challenges.

Members will be able to share information and ideas on a closed Facebook group and will have access to corporate benefits, such as collective bargaining and purchasing power.

Most of our resources (including a PDF’d version of the survey) will be available online for non-members and we will always welcome potential members to our events: our aim is to lower the bar for environmental action within and across the community. However, we urge you to join to increase your and Eco Synagogue’s impact.
Ideally, you should already have a Green Team in place before undertaking the survey – supported and attended by members of the Rabbinical and professional teams as well as lay community members. If you do not already have a Green Team, then please see our resource on building a Green Team in your synagogue (link to PDF).

You can still answer the survey without having a Green Team but will need the Synagogue’s professional and Rabbinic teams to respond to certain questions (e.g., about the building or liturgy). Once you have undertaken the survey, you will want to create an environmental vision for your community and think about the next relevant and workable steps to achieve it.

In some cases, proposed changes will need to be authorised by the Synagogue’s Board/Council; in others, they might involve cooperation with other sections of the synagogue, such as the education or kiddush teams, or collaboration with other members of Eco Synagogue.

For any further support, or to find out more, please contact us at [email protected]