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February 13, 2009     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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February 13, 2009
 

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, FEBRUARY 13, 2009 By Judith D. Schwartz BENNINGTON, Vt. (JTh)-- In keeping with my son Bren- dan's bar mitzvah project on energy efficiency, I was com- mitted to the idea of making the event eco-friendly. With a little research, I found many ways to do this: a local venue with sustainably designed buildings and fueled largely by solar; compostable plates and cutlery; even kipot made from recycled cardboard. The green choices added little, if anything, to the cost. As we headed into Bren- dan's big weekend, I was feeling quite virtuous about it all, even rather pleased with myself. Glimpse ahead to two days after the party: My husband, Tony, and I are standing on our driveway, which is radi- ating midsummer heat, up to our elbows in trash bags. We're trying to tease out what of the remains from a weekend's worth of celebrat- ing goes into recycling vs. what can be composted vs. just plain (and now smelly) garbage. The green mitzvah: a cautionary tale JP Connections holds fashion luncheon I can assure you, I wasn't feeling so smug now. What happened? Simple: a classic case of"I thought you were going to label the bins..." Our hosts at Pompanuck Farm Institute had done such a great job of identifying what went where for other events we had attended that I assumed they'd do the same for mine. They likely thought that since the caterer was running the show, she would arrange disposal. The caterer, in turn, thought that since we wanted the party to be green, we would green it. (Only later did friends say, "I knew you wanted it green, but we didn't know where to throw things.") So in order to keep our- selves honest about our minimal-impact pledge, we had to get up close and personal with the weekend's waste. While we were able to streamline the amount destined for the landfill down to three medium trash bags, I could have done without the extra confrontation with the swill. The lesson: Making some- thing green involves not just "Update Your Spring Wardrobe" is the topic be- ing presented by Marie Johnson from Stein Mart at the first JP Connections event scheduled for Feb. 18 at 11:30 a.m. at Bonefish Grille in Longwood. More than 100 women are expected at the Jewish Pavilion's kickoff luncheon. The program will begin promptly so women are encouraged to arrive early and get seated at a table. For more information contact Nancy Ludin at the Jewish Pavilion at 407-678-9363 or nancyludin@ jewishpavilion.org. good intentions and deft purchasing, but also the more down-to-earth tasks of planning, implementing and following through on how to get rid of the garbage you generate--inevitably a higher volume than you'd ever guess. The service, afternoon kiddush and Saturday night party went off beautifully. (I trust in this company it's OK to kvell that Brendan did a fabulous job, chanting well despite a weeklong head cold, delivering a speech that revealed a depth of thought about Judaism that surprised me, and performing his own songs on his solar-fueled electric guitar.) Sunday we said goodbye to folk and in general recovered. And on Monday, Tony headed over to Pompanuck and met his nemesis: a bunch of steaming mounds of trash. "Maybe we'll just leave it and let it go out with your regular pick-up," he said, wip- ing his brow, to Pompanuck 's co-director, Scott Carrino. Scott shrugged. "You can," he said, "but around here it all goes into an incinerator." Oh noZ Our refuse--com- postable, recyclable and otherwise--wouldn't just go quietly to the landfill and benignly decompose. Itwas to combust and become fumes Guests revel at the in the air! How "green" was that? Tony called me and, resigned to our fate, agreed: He'd haul it back. The Jewish life cycle and yearly cycle are full of cel- ebrations; that is something we as Jews cherish. God willing, minimizing the environmental impact of our celebrations will become second nature, so that we'll automatically think to com- post, reuse and recycle before throwing things away just as many of us are trying to buy local or organic, switch Domestic Goddess Cleaning Service "Let me do the dirty work" Serving the Orlando area 386-747-9651 PAGE 11A Charles Kozierok eco-friendlg bar mitzvah of Brendan Schwartz. to low-energy lighting, cut back on driving. But we're now coming off decades of institutionalized indifference to what happens to debris: We throw a party, the trash goes out and no one's the wiser. I can regard our post-bar mitzvah adven- ture not as a failure but as one small arc on our collective learning curve. I can see that things already are changing. There is now a Green bar mitzvah Web site, www.greenbarmitzvahs.com, with ideas like renting digital cameras rather than supply- ing disposable ones. Where was this resource six months ago when I needed it? (Full disclosure: Brendan's bar mitzvah is noted on the biog.) Who knows? Maybe soon one of the first questions people ask about an upcom- ing bar/bat mitzvah--after "Where is the party?" and "What's the parshat?"--will be "Where are you compost- ing?" Judith D. Schwartz lives-- and composts--in Benning- ton, Vt. Congregation Ohev Shalom's 2009 Spring Adult Conservative Yeshiva "The Torah of Harry Potter" Taught by Rabbi David Kay Wednesdays at 7:00 PM, beginning 2/18/09 (NOTE: This class will not meet on 2/25/09) "Modern Jewish History as Reflected in the Classics of Yiddish & Hebrew Literature" Taught by Senior Rabbi Aaron D. Rubinger Thursdays at 7:00 PM, beginning 2/26/09 Classes are open to all members of the Jewish community at no charge. Please Pre-Register with Susan at 407-298-4650 or lerL, vasst(ohevshalom.or The Adult Conservative Yeshiva is funded thanks to a grant from Arnold and Barbara Sager through the "Sager Fund" of Congregation Ohev halonL Congregation Ohev Shalom * 5015 Goddard Avenue, Orlando, FL 32804 * 407-298.4650 * Fax ,W/-2N.7101