Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC)

What we do

“Your welfare depends on the land just as much as the welfare of the land depends on you.”


Deuteronomy 11:13-17

The JCRC’s Environmental Initiative is dedicated to educating and mobilizing JCRC constituent groups and the Jewish community on environmental issues, ranging from climate change to energy security and independence, recycling and reducing waste, preserving natural resources and limiting carbon emissions, nature beautification and clean-ups, to all of the personal and business practices that make sense and save precious natural and financial resources.

The initiative is dedicated to forging partnerships with civic and other religious-based environmental groups, drawing upon Biblical and rabbinic teachings to inspire and frame the Jewish dimensions of the environment, connecting American and Israeli environmentalists, and partnering with our JUF departmental colleagues on these and their projects.

Environmental Seder

*In 2008 JCRC partnered with the Environmental Law and Policy Center (ELPC) to co-sponsor the first environmental Passover seder. Nearly thirty Chicago-area organizational environmental leaders attended a seder at Federation headquarters to learn about the centrality of environment in Judaism and the special significance of environmental themes related in the Passover story. Rabbi Sam Gordon of Congregation Sukkat Shalom of Wilmette led the seder. View the Haggaddah (PDF) used for this special seder.

The Light Among the Nations Campaign

Distribute, via our “Light Among the Nations” campaign, compact fluorescent light bulbs:

JCRC and the JFMC Facilities Corporation have joined to sponsor the “Light Among the Nations” campaign. This program offers Jewish institutions and community members compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) at well below retail costs. These light bulbs use 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs and last 5 times longer. This not only emits less greenhouse gasses required to light our homes but it saves us hundreds of dollars in energy costs each year. Learn more about how you can obtain CFLs for your synagogue or home (PDF).

JCRC can also help your synagogue run an event with your synagogue to sell these environmentally-friendly bulbs at your next event. Request more information.