Climate change the focus for new role at the United Synagogue

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Climate change the focus for new role at the United Synagogue

Naomi Verber is to be the Head of Environmental Policy in an 'ambitious' position which seeks to improve the movement's ecological impact

Naomi Verber
Naomi Verber

A new and “ambitious” role has been introduced by the United Synagogue focussing on climate change.

The organisation announced that Naomi Verber is to be the Head of Environmental Policy, drawing on her experience of designing and running Europe’s first kosher eco hotel.

Verber, who worked as a management consultant for 15 years, will analyse its current activities and programmes, before developing a strategy to guide the US with its environmental policies – and better engage the community on the issue.

This comes after Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis told the ‘Carbon Zero, If Not Now When?’ event at the Jewish Museum this week, that climate change “threatens our world”. He made his comments ahead of the COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow this month.

Chief Rabbi Mirvis speaking at the ‘Carbon Zero’ event

Michael Goldstein, President of the United Synagogue, said: “Like Covid, climate change is one of the issues of our generation.

Echoing the Chief Rabbi who said acting on climate change “is a religious priority”, he said the US must “play its part to improve our environmental impact, and with this ambitious role we are committed to take steps to inspire and engage our rabbinic and lay leaders and our communities, on this crucial issue.

He welcomed Verber to the role, saying that “that with her track record in this area she is well placed to help us think through the most effective ways we and our communities can deliver significant and lasting positive change.”

Naomi Verber, who was chair of Golders Green shul before partnering with environmental charity Sadeh to create the eco hotel, said: “I am thrilled and honoured to be starting this role.”

“I know the challenges of steps forward in being more environmentally responsible. Grassroots support is essential but it can only go so far without central policy and backing. I am delighted how seriously the United Synagogue is taking the climate crisis by creating this role and I look forward to engaging” with the community, “to learn from what you’re doing and share practical ideas for action.

“The Chief Rabbi has said that we must change now to protect our future and the planet and the United Synagogue intends to be part of that change.”

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