Jewish Environmental Movement Receives Funds for Collaboration and Strategy

The Nathan Cummings Foundation and the Morningstar Foundation have awarded the Green Hevra, a new network of U.S.-based Jewish environmental organizations, $65,000 in seed funding. With these funds the group will lay the groundwork for strategic collaboration across the Jewish environmental movement in 2012. This is the first time the Jewish environmental movement has received shared funds for collaboration and strategy.

“We believe that the global sustainability challenge is analogous to the civil-rights campaigns of an earlier time,” said Sybil Sanchez, director of the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, the organization charged with administering the group. “Just as the Jewish community joined with others to provide leadership in that time, today we’re mobilizing the Jewish community to rise to the environmental challenge.”

In recent years, the movement has grown, applying ancient Jewish wisdom to modern environmental challenges. The Green Hevra, Hebrew for “green community”, is fostering growth by sharing strategic knowledge with partner organizations and identifying opportunities for collaboration.

The day after Earth Day, the Green Hevra gathered for a series of professionally facilitated meetings to identify strategic opportunities for cooperation and impact. They also are mapping the field of the Jewish environmental movement in order to develop a plan for broader engagement.

“As the field grows, we must take the time to foster trust and forge a collective strategic vision with accompanying partnerships in order to take our movement to the next level,” said Evonne Marzouk, director of Canfei Nesharim and a co-founder of, the Jewish environmental web portal and a focus of the Green Hevra’s outreach efforts.

Inspired by the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable, a similar movement-building initiative founded in 2009, the Green Hevra is a network of national and regional Jewish environmental organizations. While membership is expected to expand in the coming years, the group’s initial 15 members are: Baltimore Jewish Environmental Network; Canfei Nesharim; Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL) / Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA); Eden Village Camp; Green Zionist Alliance; Hazon; Jewish Farm School; Jewish Reconstructionist Federation; Kayam Farm at Pearlstone;; Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism; Shalom Center; Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center; Teva Learning Alliance; and Wilderness Torah.

images from Green Hevra retreat April 2012, courtesy