“Protect the Day of Shabbat and Make it Holy.” (Deuteronomy 5:12)
We give thanks on Shabbat, we dedicate time to family and friends and we reflect on our week. Shabbat is a time to lessen our impact on our earth, and to let it rest as well.
Shop For Shabbat
Be eco “logical” about planning for your Shabbat right from the get-go. This special day each week emphasizes the significance of nature in our lives and how important it is to take conscious actions to protect our environment. Shopping locally for an organic Shabbat meal will not only help support your neighbours and community, but you will also serve a kind, chemical-and-pesticide-free meal. And don’t forget, shopping tools can be as important as the food itself. What a shame it is to carry home glorious food in a toxic throwaway.
Dress Your Table
In Judaism, the colour white signifies transformation and purity. We strive to ensure that everything is clean, neat and sparkly and we traditionally dress our tables with a white tablecloth and white napkins. In keeping with the tradition, lose the chlorine bleach and adopt safe and responsible practices. Shabbat is sacred, so make sure your personal and shared environment is safe for your loved ones, and our planet.
Prepare The Meal
Since you’ve already gone out of your way to shop the local farmers’ market, purchased your organic eats, and unpacked everything from your wonderful reusable bags, it’s now time to cook smart so you don’t undo all the good you’ve done! Think about your cooking method (this includes what you’re cooking with, and on) before you begin your preparations. Be efficient and plan ahead – it will save you money, time (and energy, too) which only means you will have a few extra minutes to share with your loved ones on Shabbat.
Bless All Around
Tikkun ‘olam, meaning perfecting or repairing of the world, is a major theme in modern Jewish social justice theology. It must be carried out by humans in partnership with God, and it is an important concept in environmentalism. It is said, that our ignorance and our poor choices have damaged the world. The good news (in our opinion), is that this problem can be fixed by switching out bad habits for healthier and smarter ones. As you recite the blessings on Shabbat, let each be a reminder to take care of our world, and all that constantly gives and takes care of us.
Keep It Kosher
Whether you keep strictly kosher or not, we all want clean food that is ethically made. If you aren’t making and baking on your own (we can’t do everything!), look for certifications and symbols that reflect your values. Support ethical companies that are serving us better food and drinks and fully disclosing their practices and ingredients in all labels. Our easy shopping rule for buying packaged goods is “If you can’t pronounce it, and you don’t know what it is, (or it’s not labelled at all), it’s not for consuming!”
Clean It Up
Now for the Dirty Talk…Whether you are tidying before Shabbat or on cleaning duty afterwards, you want your home to be truly clean. The average Canadian family consumes anywhere from 20 to 40 litres of toxic cleaning products (that contain known carcinogens) each year (oy!). Replace every conventional cleaner under the kitchen sink and in the laundry room with NOTHING (well, maybe not nothing, but as close to it as possible!). You do NOT have to sacrifice the cleanliness of your home. And who knows, maybe without those nasty chems you can convince your family and friends to even help you out with the cleaning!
Click here to view the full Eco Shabbat Guide and access tons of our favourite resources.