Protecting the earth has always been a Jewish value. Going green or eco-friendly has become mainstream at schools, institutions and in many other aspects of our lives. A green bar or bat mitzvah can include these values of protecting the earth and at the same time celebrate the milestone of becoming a young Jewish man or woman.
Here are some ideas on how to make a bar or bat mitzvah green.
For many, the Evite email invitation has replaced paper completely. There are many websites offering Jewish-themed animated cards and online RSVP tracking. If you still want paper, instead of buying glossy-coated bar or bat mitzvah invitations that cannot easily be recycled, choose invitations made from recycled cotton or post-consumer waste.
Décor and party favors
Skip one-time-use disposable items such as balloons, streamers, and plastic tablecloths for the party. Instead go for items that can be reused or that are made from sustainable materials. For candles, pick those that are made from soy or palm oil instead of non-renewable petroleum. For party favors choose to give usable favors such as organic fair trade chocolates or tree seedlings instead of plastic toy trinkets.
If the bimah or the tables are to be festooned with floral arrangements, make the flowers locally grown organic instead of foreign flora that are grown overseas and sprayed with chemical pesticides. After the event, donate the flowers to a hospital or pass along to another simcha. Potted plants are another option. They’re a good take-away gift for your guests and they add much needed oxygen to the environment.
Food glorious food
Whether you are cooking or having your bar or bat mitzvah catered, food can be a way to be earth-friendly. When possible, include seasonal, organic ingredients on the menu. Many catering companies offer kosher organic meat and poultry and organic fruits and vegetables. Choosing organic food grown in a sustainable manner not only reduces the impact on the earth, it also tastes better. After the meal is enjoyed, donate leftovers to an organization that helps provide food for the hungry.
Gift items made from recyclable materials are available in many objects of Judaica. Giving a gift certificate to an event is a way to give the celebrant an experience instead of a thing. Another good green gift idea? Cash.