Welcome to Repair the World’s 8 Nights of Service: awesome volunteer projects, donation opportunities and tikkun olam ideas to bring service to the center of your Hanukkah celebration!
This time of year you may be finding it hard to escape emails for last minute sales, an overload of holiday music – be it for Christmas, or by the likes of the Maccabeats (ahem, featuring Mayim Bialik!). You may even have a strange urge to eat lots of lots of oily things and (safely) light some stuff on fire for eight nights by a window. Don’t worry. This is normal: Tonight’s the night to shred those potatoes (watch your fingers…), heat up that oil (careful of the splatters!) and get ready to rock out for Hannukah/Chanukah/The Festival of Lights/That-holiday-with-lots-of-yummy-fried-treats.
The Hannukah story of the Maccabees using oil that lasted way beyond its expected one-day may seem, well, really ancient. But we like to use it to remind us about our everyday dependence on the planet and its everyday gifts to us. So why not make sure we make the world’s resources last a little longer, too? Incorporate eco-awareness, resource conservation and environmentally-friendly practices into your week of celebration. Some ideas to get you started:
- Take the Green Menorah pledge: This awesome idea, pioneered by The Shalom Center, encourages you make a pledge each night (while lighting your candles, naturally) to make one aspect of your life greener – and inspire friends, family and your community to do the same!
- Get sustainable gelt: Skip the waxy, mass-produced stuff and indulge your Hanukkah sweet tooth with fair trade chocolate gelt from Divine Chocolate, or all natural gelt from Lake Champlain Chocolates.
- Fry with organic oils: Crisp your latkes (yummy fried potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly-donuts) in organically-produced olive and vegetable oils. Hanukkah never tasted so eco-delicious.
- Give homemade gifts: Avoid shopping. Check out CHOW’s homemade gift ideas, or the ones over at Family Education. (You can even make your own wrapping paper using recycled materials!). Even better, skip gifting altogether and make a donation to an organization you love in someone’s honor.
- Switch to fluorescent light bulbs. Hanukkah is the festival of lights, after all. So make the switch to fluorescent light bulbs which, according to Energy Star, use about 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs and last 6 times longer.
Find even more eco-friendly Hanukkah tips and ideas at Hazon’s Healthy, Sustainable Hanukkah Resource list. And let us know how you plan to green your Hanukkah by tweeting @repairtheworld and #8Nights.