Germantown Jewish Centre has launched a "Green Mezuzah Havurah," a new group devoted to sustainability and lessening the carbon footprint of its members.
The idea came in part from Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin, founder of the Baltimore Jewish Environmental Network, who spoke at the local synagogue in the spring and urged members to create small groups dedicated to environmentalism.
During the High Holidays, Rabbi Leonard Gordan also called on the congregation to focus on sustainability.
According to Maxine Margolies, who co-chairs the shul's Social Action Committee, a group of about 10 families will meet monthly in members' homes to study Jewish texts that relate to the environment. They will also be given some practical tips on greening their homes.
Sharon Webber, the other co-chair, explained that they will also ask each member to take on three new eco-friendly practices.
"It will almost be like an environmental-sustainability support group. We'll talk about how things are going and how we did," said Webber.
The Germantown group is open to anyone, including nonsynagogue members.
At the end of six months, members will receive an actual green mezuzah, albeit one that contains an environmental manifesto, rather than the traditional prayers.