Syn­a­gogue so­lar pan­els will take some beat­ing

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMUNITY - BY NAOMI FIRSHT

WIM­BLE­DON SYN­A­GOGUE’S Tu Bish­vat cel­e­bra­tions were even greener this year as they in­cor­po­rated a ded­i­ca­tion cer­e­mony for its new so­lar pan­els.

More than 150 peo­ple, in­clud­ing around 100 chil­dren, at­tended the Tu Bish­vat Seder and ded­i­ca­tion cer­e­mony af­ter the Re­form shul’s Sun­day morn­ing cheder.

New rabbi Ja­son Ros­ner and syn­a­gogue co-chair Ja­son Burns cut a rib­bon in front of an in­for­ma­tion panel de­tail­ing the car­bon emis­sions off­set by the pan­els.

“As the screen men­tions how many trees worth of car­bon we’ve off­set, it seemed ap­pro­pri­ate for Tu Bish­vat,” Rabbi Ros­ner ex­plained.

The 100 square me­tres of pan­els were in­stalled on the roof dur­ing re­pair work last Septem­ber. They pro­vide suf­fi­cient elec­tric­ity to power all the lights in the build­ing and some of the heat­ing.

“In re­plac­ing the roof of the build­ing, we wanted to do some­thing eco­log­i­cally sound,” Rabbi Ros­ner added. “It was a good ex­am­ple for the syn­a­gogue to set to en­cour­age eco-friendly be­hav­iour.”

The £750,000 re­fur­bish­ment pro­ject for south Lon­don’s largest con­gre­ga­tion also en­com­passes im­prove­ments to the main hall and a new ark, bimah and li­brary.

Pro­ject man­ager Colin Men­de­low- itz said sig­nif­i­cant funds had al­ready been raised by mem­bers and the plan was for the work to be com­pleted by Rosh Hashanah.

“We re­alised we have a won­der­ful, huge roof sur­face and could end up with a greener build­ing which could pro­vide elec­tric­ity for the syn­a­gogue.”

Al­though the pan­els cost £50,000 to in­stall, the shul be­lieves there could be long-term cost sav­ings. Sur­plus elec­tric­ity could even be sold back to the Na­tional Grid.

Rabbi Ros­ner said he had de­lib­er­ated hard over the choice of bless­ing for the cer­e­mony as the Re­form Sid­dur did not in­clude an ap­pro­pri­ate one.

He even­tu­ally opted for the prayer for some­thing new.

Rais­ing the roof: Rabbi Ja­son Ros­ner

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