A new initiative to help shuls go green is being launched on Tu B’shvat, the Jewish holiday at the end of this month when Jews are encouraged to plant trees.

The launch of Eco Synagogue at New North London Synagogue on 30 January is being billed as a cross-communal environmental initiative and will be attended by former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams.

Organisers say it is designed to help Jewish communities – via their synagogues – to “respond to our current ecological crisis” and that it “provides a simple method for institutions to understand and reduce their environmental impact”.

Senior Masorti Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg said today’s younger generation were “under no doubt that our ecological crisis poses a grave threat to their future, yet they do not often see leadership to address it”.

He added: “Eco Synagogue provides a way of the Jewish community to work, collectively and across faith groups, to promote environmental sustainability.”

The project has been developed by A Rocha UK, whose Eco Church programme now has more than 500 churches involved.