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Guardians of the Earth

Introducing “Guardians of the Earth or in Hebrew Shomrei Adamah.”

Its name describes the way that the Torah sees human beings — as guardians of the earth that has been entrusted to us. Our tradition sees care for the natural world and its inhabitants as both a religious and a moral obligation. In the past year, many of us have become even more aware of the natural world around us in all its splendor and all its challenges. This heightened awareness has led to heightened urgency to practice the mitzvah to care for the earth and to protect it. Each week in this space we’ll share information about how the synagogue community is practicing this mitzvah, suggestions for how you and your family might become more engaged in guarding the earth, and thoughts on planting trees, conserving energy and a myriad of Jewish concerns.

To express interest in supporting our environmental initiatives, please contact Anita King,

August 11, 2021

Curbing Your Runoff 
Several years ago, Chizuk Amuno installed a bioretention garden in an area that was affectionately referred to as “Lake Chizzie.” On the south side of the building, between the driveway and the parking lot, there are two large trenches that serve as a bioretention garden. Water run-off from the parking lot is captured in these gardens and then through a very sophisticated filtering and drainage system, the water flows to another location on our campus where it safely percolates through the soil into the ground rather than into the storm drain system. The environmental benefit is phenomenal, as it keeps all types of pollution that could be on the parking lot (trash, chemicals, soil, etc.) from draining into the bay – thus helping to reduce damage from the runoff.  

There are steps you can take at your home to help minimize runoff into the storm drain system. For example – when it’s time to replace a cracked concrete walkway, consider using pervious surfaces. Also, planting trees, flowers, and shrubs helps to anchor loose soil, lessening the likelihood of it being washed away with the rain. 

For more information on Runoff Pollution, please read this article offered by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.  


August 4, 2021

Composting - The Ultimate Recycling Process

Now that it's August, many of us are removing the dried leaves and stems from our gardens. How about putting them to good use! The number of people composting is increasing steadily – and for many good reasons. Less waste will be going to dumps and landfills. Less climate-change-inducing methane gas will be generated. Nutrient-rich soil will be created for use in your own yard and gardens.

These links will give you more information about the benefits of composting, how to get started, and lists of resources to help ensure success:

National Aquarium in Baltimore

Maryland Department of the Environment

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

July 28, 2021
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle…
What do you do with your sneakers when you’re done with them? There are other options beyond the trash. The option most of us know about is to donate them to somebody who will give them a second life. And that’s an awesome thing to do. But what about shoes that no longer have any life left in them? The Nike Grind program takes athletic shoes and transforms them into futuristic surfaces being used in sports facilities, offices, and homes, as well as other products – including their own manufactured shoes. Since 1992, they have ground up over 130 million pounds of rubber, foam, leather, and textiles. And that’s 130 million pounds that isn’t ending up in landfills! Participation is easy – just drop your athletic shoes at any participating Nike retail store. To learn more about this program, visit:

July 14, 2021


Remember those letters. They stand for Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is the largest accumulation of ocean plastic in THE WORLD and its weight is equivalent to that of 500 jumbo jets. How did it get there? Debris makes its way to the ocean mainly from rivers. Then prevailing currents carry the debris to these massive collections in our oceans. This is where you come in – how can you help? Firstly – reduce your use of plastic products as much as possible. Next – let’s cut out debris making its way into our streams, creeks, rivers, and bay. That means get it off the street before the wind blows it out of sight or before it reaches the storm drain. To learn more about debris in our oceans, please visit

The Pikesville Owings Mills Chamber of Commerce has organized a campaign called Let’s Pick Up Pikesville. This is a monthly effort to attack the streets and remove debris from downtown Pikesville. We encourage you to get out there and help to make our world clean and safe.


July 7, 2021

Just Say NO!

That’s what Prince George’s County did one year ago this week when they put into law their ban on plastic straws. Plastic straws are not easily recyclable, nor are they compostable, so they end up in our landfills and floating in trash islands in the oceans, or even worse – in the stomachs of marine wildlife. So what are our options? First choice – at restaurants, just decline when the server asks. And be sure to hand the paper-wrapped straws right back to your server if they are placed on your table. Perhaps you enjoy or require the use of a straw. In that case, please consider investing in re-usable straws made from rigid plastic, silicone, bamboo, glass, or metal. Most can be put in the dishwasher and some come with their own cleaning brush. Also, paper straws – although not ideal – can be put in your compost bin.

To learn more about the problem with plastic straws, please refer to this article,, published by

June 30, 2021

Enjoying the Heat Much?

How are you coping with the 90+ degree temperatures we’re having this week? Climate change is real and there are simple things you can do to help slow it down. First – weatherize. Applying some caulk to seal drafts around windows and doors helps. Not only will it keep your home more insulated from extreme temperatures, you will save on the energy needed (and $$$) to cool or heat it. Second – when it is time to replace appliances – make sure they are energy efficient. Pay attention to their Energy Star rating. Third – consider investing in renewable energy. If installing a wind, solar, hydro, or geothermal system is not an option for you, then purchase your electricity from a supplier that produces its power from sustainable sources.


For more ideas on how you can help to combat climate change, please visit:

To learn about the steps Baltimore County is taking to address this issue, please visit: Sustainability Initiatives - Baltimore County (

June 23, 2021

Baltimore's Plastic Bag Ban to be Delayed until July 9

You may have heard it in the news this past week – it’s the second time the ban has been postponed. In the meantime, what can we do about it? One doesn’t have to wait for a legal decree in order to take action. Most of us have a bag or basket full of re-usable bags that we have received as party swag, event commemoration, commercial marketing, etc. Get them out of your closet and into the back seat of your car, a drawer at work, or even your backpack. Make it a habit to grab these bags before entering the grocery store, the department store, the hardware store – you name it. It is a very simple and super green action you can take and make a HUGE difference. When you forgot to bring your re-usable bag, if you’re purchasing only a small item, just mention to the cashier, “no bag necessary – I’m helping to save the Earth.”

To read what Trash Free Maryland has to say about the continued environmental damage that comes with the delay, please visit this website. The pic below depicts some of the many re-usable bags that have been issued under the Chizuk Amuno umbrella. We hope they are already being used to make change.

June 16, 2021

June 2, 2021
Are the Cicadas Bugging You?
The constant chirping may be driving you mad and have you thinking about getting rid of insects once and for all. But don’t do it! The use of insecticides and pesticides contaminates our ecosystem and eliminates or severely diminishes the benefits of our multi-legged friends, such as helping to break down dead plants, pollinate plants, and serve as food for other species. In fact, the use of these chemicals in both the residential and agricultural arenas has a profound effect on the food chain. Do you like honey, nuts, and fruit? Then you definitely want to make sure we are taking care of our bee population.

As for those insects that are considered non-beneficial – check out this article entitled Eco-friendly Pest Control here.


May 26, 2021

Keeping the Bay Healthy
Chizuk Amuno has had a long-standing relationship with Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake (IPC). They were one of the funders and helped us develop our stormwater-retention installation (formerly known as Lake Chizzie) as well as our rain garden at the preschool entrance. Since then, they have supported us through numerous projects, such as a shoreline clean-up and solar power info session. As a member of their One Water Partnership, Chizuk Amuno has had the opportunity to work with other synagogues and churches as stewards of the environment. IPC aims to ignite the power of faith communities by working together to protect and restore our shared watershed.

How You Can Help
Chizuk Amuno is sending a team to Faithful Green Leader Training being provided by Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake. There will be three 90-minute Zoom sessions at 7 p.m. on Thursdays, June 10, 17, and 24. The training is free, will be a lot of fun, and will teach you skills for becoming an effective leader. The sessions will empower you to help Chizuk Amuno take meaningful action when it comes to our environment. Won’t you become part of our team? You can register at Questions can be directed to or 443-799-0349.

To learn more about environmental initiatives at Chizuk Amuno, contribute to this Guardians of the Earth column, or volunteer your time, please be in touch with Anita King, or 410-356-6721.


May 19, 2021

Fragrance and the Ozone
Did you know that many fragrances are actually air pollutants?! That’s right! We’re talking about perfume, lotions, paint, that ‘new car’ smell everybody notices, and even air fresheners. Many fragrances are made up of chemicals that emit volatile organic compounds, which can have a negative impact on indoor and outdoor air, thus affecting our health. Link to this article, Why Scent-Free Makes Sense, for more details.

The EPA has developed a program called Safer Choice, which is intended to help consumers find cleaning products that are safer for humans and the environment. Their criteria include both the ingredients of the product as well as the packaging. They have even developed a fragrance-free standard. The next time you purchase cleaning products, look for the Safer Choice logo. To view the logo and learn more about the Safer Choice program, please visit:

May 12, 2021

How Trees Help our Climate
One tree can sequester (or take in) more than one ton of carbon dioxide in its lifetime. Planting trees and avoiding deforestation are key measures in reducing the human impact on global climate change.

Here are 10 proven ways that trees make a big difference. Trees…
1. improve air quality.
2. improve water quality and reduce flooding and erosion.
3. temper climate.
4. conserve energy.
5. are good for the economy.
6. create habitat for plants and animals.
7. improve health.
8. reduce crime.
9. reduce noise pollution and can serve as screens.
10. promote community.

The National Wildlife Federation has developed the Trees for Wildlife™ program. It is designed to help you guide children and teens through activities that will deepen their understanding of how trees make a difference in their lives and in the world. For more details about this initiative, please visit:


May 5, 2021

Fill Those Car Tires – Save $$$ and Our Environment
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), only one in five cars has the right amount of air in its tires. At worst, driving around with under-inflated tires is dangerous, potentially leading to a flat tire, a blowout, or the tread coming off, which can lead to a crash. But too little air in your tires isn’t only dangerous, it can also make an impact on the environment. Poor tire pressure can mean a higher rate of emissions, as well as lower fuel efficiency. According to, for each gallon of gas you save you’ll reduce your carbon footprint by 20 pounds. This is a bonus for your wallet, too. According to the NHTSA, you’ll save as much as 11 cents per gallon on fuel by keeping them at the right pressure level.

For more information about the potential savings when adhering to proper tire pressures, visit: Tree


April 28, 2021

A Separate Bin for Plastic Bags

Did you know? If you throw plastic bags into your curbside recycling – it contaminates the entire bin-full. Instead of being recycled, that entire load has to go to a landfill. In fact, 26% of all waste intended for recycling, ends up in land fills specifically for this reason. Please take your clean, dry, empty plastic bags to Wegmans or Giant, where they actually do recycle them. For example, Wegmans plastic bags contain 40% post-consumer recycled content, all of which is generated by customers returning their plastic bags to the store. That means we reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and virgin plastic.


For a list of other items that should not be put in your curbside recycling, view this list compiled by Reader’s Digest.

April 21, 2021

Earth Day is Tomorrow!
Judaism has provided ways to appreciate the world around us. Perhaps you have heard there is a blessing when you see a rainbow or when you hear thunder. But did you know there is a blessing for when you see something beautiful? In addition to the imperative to take care of the earth, we are also compelled to recognize and enjoy all the earth gives us. Tomorrow, April 22, is Earth Day. Be sure to get outside and focus on natural wonders. When you see a tender bud growing out of a branch or stem, hear a bird chirping her morning song, or feel the wind caressing your face, remember to say this b’rukhah:
Barukh atah adonai eloheinu melekh ha’olam shekakha lo baolamo.
Blessed are you, our God, King of the Universe, who has such beautiful things in His universe.


April 14, 2021:

Join Us for These Earth Day Activities!
Chizuk Amuno Campus Clean-Up and Recycle Center
Sunday, April 25, 11:45 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
This is a great opportunity for members of all ages to help maintain the beauty of the Chesapeake Bay while maintaining the beauty of Chizuk Amuno’s campus. We will be collecting debris that has settled on our grounds as well as along Stevenson Road, keeping it from making its way into our water stream. Then, participants will have the opportunity to sort everything into separate bins to be recycled, rather than ending up in a land-fill. To participate as a debris-collector or to man our ‘recycling center’ – please be in touch with Anita King,

Earth Water Woman
Thursday, April 22, 7 – 9 p.m.
For several years, Chizuk Amuno has benefited from the support of Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake. This year, IPC is sponsoring this film presentation, followed by a celebration of congregational efforts to heal their local watersheds and the Bay! The documentary Earth Water Woman urges viewers everywhere to examine their relationship to their watershed. We encourage you to register here: and attend this inspiring event. (FYI – the documentary is available to watch any time up to and including the event.)


April 7, 2021:

According to, plogging is the act of picking up litter while jogging. Exercise and Shmirat Adamah (protecting our earth) – all at the same time!

April brings us Earth Day, which was established on April 22, 1970 by Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson in order to help bring awareness to environmental issues and inspire action to keep the earth healthy. In 1990, Earth Day went global, mobilizing millions of people around the world to take earth-friendly actions. Here is a simple earth-friendly action you can take: Bring re-usable bags with you when you shop. This saves on the plastic bags usually supplied at stores, which generally are not bio-degradable. If you forget to bring your own bags with you, forego the store plastic bag for small purchases; for larger purchases – hold on to those plastic bags for the next time you visit a retailer that offers recycling for their plastic bags.

To learn about the mission of, the work they do, stories about prior projects, and upcoming events, please visit their website.


March 31, 2021:

It’s Raining, It’s Pouring, Water Costs are Soaring

As we enter our rainy season, conserving water may be the last thing on your mind. However, It’s important to know that using water-saving techniques can save you money and divert less water from our rivers, bays, and estuaries, which helps keep the environment healthy. It can also reduce water and wastewater treatment costs and the amount of energy used to treat, pump, and heat water.

Did you know that by turning the water off while brushing your teeth, you can save up to eight gallons of water per day? That’s nearly 3,000 gallons per year! There are many ways to conserve water in and around your home on a daily basis – ranging from installing low-flow shower heads and dual-flush toilets, to simply using full loads in your washing machine and turning off the faucet while washing your dishes until you’re ready to rinse.

Visit this website for imaginative ways you can save water.


March 24, 2021:

Producing and using electricity more efficiently reduces both the amount of fuel needed to generate electricity and the amount of greenhouse gasses and other air pollution emitted as a result. By doing so, local air pollution is reduced as well as the negative effect on climate change. One simple way to work toward this goal is to install LED lightbulbs throughout your home. LED lightbulbs have longer lifespans, are extra durable, safer, dimmable, energy-efficient, and produce less heat. By switching to LED, you will be helping our environment AND you will also save on your electricity bill.

As Pesah approaches, we share this Omer calendar developed by Interfaith Power & Light of DC, MD, and Northern VA to address environmental issues. We hope that you will download, print, and use it as a daily guide for both appreciating the abundance in our natural world, and in journeying together to responsibility for our damaged climate. Hag Sameah!

March 17, 2021:

Family Pollution Police
It is our responsibility to protect and preserve that which takes care of us. Why not promote family time in the process? Especially with the official arrival of spring this weekend and warmer weather to come.

What You’ll Need:

  • Biodegradable/compostable garbage bags
  • Biodegradable or reusable gloves or a reach extender for each family member
  • Bikes, skateboards, or just a good pair of shoes

What You’ll Do:
Get moving! As a family, travel around your neighborhood or to nearby parks picking up all the trash you can find. Then, of course, dispose of the trash properly! (Some of it may be recyclable.)

For more ideas on being an environmentally-friendly family, visit this site:

March 10, 2021:
Instilling an awareness of caring for the earth is an integral part of the curriculum in many different ways in all of our schools. For example, did you know that Krieger Schechter Day School is a certified Maryland Green School? In June 2020, KSDS was awarded the Maryland Green School title through MAEOE (Maryland Association of Environmental and Outdoor Education). This is a title shared by 655 other Maryland schools. Maryland Green Schools encourage sustainability and foster environmental literacy among all members of the school. They encourage students, faculty, and staff to make changes in their school community to reduce negative environmental impact. To learn more about the projects that MAEOE supports and volunteer opportunities, follow this link:

There are many simple and economic actions you can take to turn your home into a green home. We encourage you to make your own cleaning products (dish soap, laundry detergent, window cleaner, toilet cleaner, multi-purpose cleaner)? Follow this link for easy to follow directions:



Tue, October 19 2021 13 Cheshvan 5782