Over two thousand years have passed since the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem; and still, the Maccabee triumph over the Seleucid Empire serves as a motivational tool for Jews around the world. While the menorah oil miraculously lasted the Maccabees eight nights instead of one, our current fossil fuel reserve isn't so lucky; which is why Liya Rechtman started the Hanukkah Conservation Challenge.
In the Huffington Post article, How One Jewish Environmental Activist Found Inspiration In The Hanukkah Miracle, Mrs. Rechtman discussed her blog, Reformed Judaism, and how it's being used to insight climate action in Jewish communities all over America. Mrs. Rechtman shared, "…it's important to realize the ways that by slightly altering your lifestyle and daily routines one person can make a real impact on energy conservation." This month, in honor of Hanukkah, readers were encouraged to replace their lights with energy efficient LED bulbs, and the response has been extremely positive.
Additionally, Blessed Tomorrow's Partner, Green Faith, has joined the campaign by performing energy audits on Jewish synagogues, as well as, starting educational programs in congregational spaces to spread a join solution amongst Jewish communities.
The Hanukkah story is an account of a religious miracle, but in it lies another important message — one that is inspiring some Jewish activists in their work for the environment.
Liya Rechtman, an Eisendrath Legislative Assistant at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, is using the Jewish month of Kislev, which runs Nov. 23 – Dec. 22, to do a "Hanukkah Conservation Challenge," during which she will replace all of her incandescent light bulbs with energy efficient compact fluorescent bulbs.
The challenge is light-specific to highlight the miracle at the core of the Hanukkah story. After years of battle between the Jewish Maccabees and the Syrian-Greek army, the Maccabees finally defeated the last fortress and returned to the Second Temple in Jerusalem. They had only enough oil to light the temple for one day — but it miraculously lasted for eight.