The Post fact-checker flubbed here. The story dates to the 2nd century B.C., not the 4th. But this blog is forward-looking:
The Festival of (Energy-Efficient) Lights; Dreidels, Latkes, Compact Fluorescent Bulbs: A Holiday Environmental Push
Michelle Boorstein, December 21, 2006 (Washington Post)
- Jewish environmentalists want to know: "How many Jews does it take to change a light bulb?"
- Ba-da-bum. Although this sounds like the start of a corny joke, it's actually the name of a campaign engaging hundreds of synagogues across the country this week as Jews mark Hanukkah, the festival of lights. The campaign is organized by the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life.
- At least a dozen synagogues in the region are among 500 nationwide that are adding a tradition to this holiday dating to the 4th century B.C.: replacing regular light bulbs with energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs.
- Hanukkah, an eight-day holiday that ends at sundown Saturday, marks the Jewish rebellion against forced assimilation by the Greeks. The central tale of the holiday involves a lamp in a liberated temple burning for eight days when the Jews had enough oil for only one day…Jews light a nine-armed candelabra, often called a hannukiah or menorah. Eight arms represent the days, and the ninth is for a symbolic candle used to light the others.
- The past year has seen an unprecedented environmental push in the U.S. faith community, which sometimes has been wary of a movement seen as liberal, possibly pantheist and without scriptural roots…synagogues this Hanukkah are celebrating the light-oriented holiday by launching energy audits, giving out CFL bulbs to congregants and chanting a newly written "installation prayer" for the changing of the bulbs…
- There have long been environmentalists in the faith community who saw pollution and recycling as sacred subjects, part of their vision of caring for God's Earth. But the past year or two has seen this philosophy take off, particularly with many evangelical Christian leaders for the first time calling global climate change a concern. The Regeneration Project, a faith-based environmental advocacy group with branches in 20 states, showed the global warming documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" in 4,000 congregations this year, according to the group's founder, the Rev. Sally Bingham, an Episcopal priest in California…
- Using CFL bulbs, which last up to eight times as long as standard incandescent bulbs, has become a rallying cry, according to the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life. The group says that if every U.S. household switched a single bulb, it would have the same impact as taking 1.3 million cars off the road…
- “Change is hard…but changing a light bulb is easy."