Jewish tradition teaches our responsibility to protect the environment and preserve it for future generations. The Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley looks for opportunities to have an impact on the local environment and in national environmental issues. 


Local activities include participation and organization of two creek cleanups each year, advocating for restrictions on the use of plastic bags, and encouraging synagogue and Jewish agency greening through energy audits. Nationally, we partner with the Jewish Council of Public Affairs and its subsidiary, the Council on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJEL), to take positions on National and Statewide environmental issues. We welcome community input and involvement.


Recently the little-observed Jewish holiday of Tisha Ba’av was marked locally with a panel discussion on climate change. While the temple destructions were eons ago and far away, climate change is the overwhelming crisis of our times that deserves both our sorrow and hope for the future. The beautiful essays below are inspiring—take a read and contact me at diane@jvalley.org if you too wish to join in being ‘shomrei ha’adamah’, guardians of our earth.


Lisa Freedman Shaffer’s reflection on Tisha B'av and climate change
Daniel Swid’s reflection on Tisha B'av and climate change
Margie Freedman’s reflection on Tisha B'av and climate change


We have recently joined the Jewish Energy Covenant Campaign. Here is what we are committed to working on.


Elevate the Jewish environmental and energy imperative by:


  • Reaching out especially to Jews in leadership positions in the public, communal and private sectors to ensure that Jewish-owned real estate, be it communal or individual, goes green; 
  • Encouraging Jewish philanthropists to support Jewish environmental organizations and initiatives and to support clean technology innovation; and, 
  • Advocating legislation and policies that promote energy security, alternative technology, alternative and renewable energy, energy efficiency and sustainability; and, 
  • Advocating the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and our dependence on carbon intensive energy sources while seeking to build a sustainable and resilient response to climate change, especially in developing nations that are most vulnerable.


Engage in Jewish stewardship by creating a sustainability plan for our agencies and institutions that includes the following goals for implementation:


  • Set as a goal to reduce greenhouse gases emissions by 14% by September of 2014. Including recent efforts and using our energy costs as an initial measure, creating a comprehensive baseline with which to measure our full carbon footprint, and working within this community-wide effort. 
  • Conduct a comprehensive energy audit; 
  • Identify a sustainability officer, team, or otherwise appropriate green contact person – with an integrated, system-wide approach in mind; 
  • Connect and share resources with our Jewish, interfaith, and civic partners in such efforts, both locally and nationally; and, 
  • Identify and commit to specific energy/carbon reduction targets, and to specific reporting structures to evaluate and publicize progress.

recent programs


From the Promised Land to the Golden State:  Shifting the Water Paradigm
April 12, 2016

Co-sponsored by Community Relations Council, Jewish High Tech Community, Israeli Consulate of the Pacific Northwest, Jewish National Fund, Club Z, Addison-Penzak Jewish Community Center and Checkpoint Technologies.