EVERETT — Caring for the environment is part of the Jewish philosophy of living.
That’s why Temple Beth Or in Everett is participating in a project with the Snohomish County PUD to educate its members about energy conservation.
The Reform Jewish synagogue held a fair earlier this month where people learned how to use less energy and exchanged incandescent light bulbs for energy-efficient ones. Some signed up for the challenge to cut energy and water consumption by 20 percent, said Naomi Katsh, a member of the temple who helped organize the event.
Katsh, a physician at the Everett Clinic, was part of a group that founded the synagogue around 1985.
Organizers of the event distributed kits with clothes lines, low-flow shower heads and other energy-efficient appliances for people to use at home.
PUD officials launched the program, Community Power!, earlier this year to promote energy conservation in communities across the county.
The synagogue has swapped many of its regular light bulbs for energy-efficient ones and began composting food scraps leftover from meetings. “We’ve been getting each other energized about these things,” Katsh said.
Judaism teaches people to be stewards of the land, Rabbi Jessica Marshall said. To emphasize that connection, she has held Shabbat services outdoors and led Hebrew school students on nature walks. Shabbat is the Jewish day of rest, beginning at sunset on Friday and ending after sunset on Saturday.
“There’s a lot of different ways to rest, and many of use find that we want to reconnect with our sense of wholeness and re-energize for the week,” she said. “For a lot of people, that sense of peace comes from nature.”
Members of the synagogue took a Shabbat hike to Wallace Falls in east Snohomish County and a Havdalah hike at Seattle’s Discovery Park. Havdalah is the ceremony marking the end of Shabbat.
Most families who attend the temple live in Snohomish County but some members come regularly from King County and Whidbey Island. Not all members want to or can worship outdoors, and Marshall keeps a balance to meet the needs of her congregation.
Marshall is an avid bike rider, and is actively involved with the Jewish environmental organization Hazon. She also loves hiking and plays “way too much Scrabble.”
Katya Yefimova: 425-339-3452, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Temple Beth Or
Temple Beth Or is at 3215 Lombard Ave., Everett. 425-259-7125 or www.temple bethor.org.