Getting outside is one way to “green” your Pesach. Image via godinthedesert.
Pesach, or Passover in English, is an interesting paradox of both returning to a way of simple living as well as celebrating the holiday in a truly royal manner. Matza, one of the primary mitzvot of the holiday, is made of the most basic ingredients – flour and water. Yet, the Seder (the holiday meal) should be a truly royal event to the extent that it is the only day of the year when Jews are supposed to use all of their finest dishes. Perhaps this paradox is symbolic of the Jewish belief that one can only become a free man, a member of royalty, by freeing oneself from materialism. In this guest pot, Sviva Israel – an environmental education center – offers 10 tips to make Pesach more meaningful and kinder to the environment and one another.
1. Clean out your shelves– Do we really need all the things in your closet? Most of us don’t need 30% of what we own. Clear up your shelves and enjoy the extra space. You don’t need to rent space in Public Storage for unnecessary possessions.
2. Your Trash Can Save Others Cash – Clothing, food and other items in good condition can be used by others if you don’t need them. Give them to friends, charity organizations, or leave them neatly by the trash bin for others to take. What must be trashed can be separated into paper and plastics for recycling, which reduces landfill and helps preserve our green spaces.
3. Scavenger Hunt – There are some great treasures to be found that others have thrown out. Before Pesach, many people leave out great books, toys, furniture and the like. Save money and landfill space by taking them home and enjoying them.
4. Avoid Harmful Chemicals – Heavily acidic chemicals are bad for your health and the environment. If you can afford it, buy organic cleaners, or try old-fashioned alternatives like vinegar and baking soda.
5. Holy Fire – Fuel your hametz fire with recycled mitzvoth by burning your lulav from Sukkot . Burn your hametz in an area that won’t leave the fire marks until the winter rains. Remove the hametz from plastic and polystyrene packaging before burning, to avoid releasing dangerous chemicals in the air that can cause respiratory disease.
6. Seder Solutions – Ideally, according to Halacha and to minimize our environmental impact, one should not use disposables for the Seder. If you feel you can only host the 30 guests you have invited to your Seder by serving it on disposables, plan to use the minimal amount for each table setting, without superfluous courses and trappings.
7. The Simple Life – Do we really need flour-free Cheerios and pot-noodles for Pesach? Try skipping processed and over-priced Kosher-L’Pesach Foods and enjoy the simple pleasures of a baked potato and salad. Your body, your wallet and the earth will appreciate it.
8. Afikoman – Don’t offer the kids the latest electronic fad. Try suggesting your children a family trip during the year. You may be surprised to find they prefer to spend special time with you to the latest gadget. Alternately, think of gifts that can inspire their love of the natural world – binoculars, bug-identification kits, nature books, etc.
9. Stay Close to Home – Instead of guzzling gas by driving for hours up north and getting stuck in traffic jams, discover the beautiful trails that can be found near your home. There are some beautiful trails and nature sights close to most cities in Israel.
10. Aliya LaRegel – Recall the traditional pilgrimage on foot or mule to Jerusalem using the modern-day equivalent of public transportation. You’ll discover that it can be fun, economical, less stressful than trying to find parking places, and you’ll help reduce your ecological footprint.
This guest post is from Sviva Israel. For more environmental resources and tips, visit www.svivaisrael.org.