The congregation will celebrate the Festival of Lights by installing solar panels on its roof that will significantly decrease both its environmental footprint and its energy costs. The project places Temple Sinai of Glendale in the vanguard of Los Angeles-area religious institutions making tangible efforts to support a global sustainable energy movement.
Temple Sinai will kick off the new project at 10 a.m. on Sunday with a brief ceremony led by Rabbi Rick Schechter and Cantor Steve Hummel.
Chanukah celebrates a victory that occurred over 2,100 years ago when a small group of Jews triumphed over a much larger group of Syrian Greeks who wished to impose their own religion on the Jews. Chanukah is often called the Festival of Lights to commemorate the fact that a small amount of oil miraculously burned for eight days.
Temple Sinai has long taken seriously the Jewish imperative of tikkum olam – repairing the world. The congregation recently took steps to make its six-decades-old building more energy-efficient, installing energy-efficient LED (light-emitting diode) lighting fixtures and retrofitting the building’s aging air-conditioning and heating system.
Moore Solar and Green Construction, a Los Angeles contractor, has been selected to carry out the solar panel installation. Upon completion, the solar-panel system will provide approximately one third of the building’s electrical usage. Coupled with additional energy saving measures currently being implemented, the solar panels will soon provide half of Temple Sinai’s electricity needs.
Introducing the project, Rabbi Rick Schechter wrote, “Let’s apply the story of the Chanukah miracles to our lives today, particularly to our environment. Like the Maccabees before us, we’re going to take a small cruse of oil and with God’s help (in the form of the light of the sun) combined with human resourcefulness and ingenuity, we’re going to rededicate and renew our temple, as well as our environment and our planet.”
Temple Sinai will mark completion of the project with a solar dedication ceremony scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 29 featuring appearances by local public officials and a solar energy fair.