Hazons guide to healthy, sustainable Chanukah resources

Chanukah, also known as the Festival of Lights, has an underlying theme of sustainability and preserving resources. After all, the holiday recalls a one-day supply of oil that stretched into eight days. Hazon, the Jewish environmental nonprofit, is offering guidance on healthy, sustainable Chanukah resources that honor those early Maccabees.


Use environmentally sustainable candles. Beeswax, soy and palm oil provide more natural alternatives to the traditional paraffin Chanukah candles. Check out Big Dipper Wax Works (www.bigdipperwaxworks.com) for Chanukah candles.

Bicycle menorah made a splash at the Hazon food conference in Davis earlier this year.

Green your Chanukah decorations. Try crafting a dreidel out of recyclable materials. Also, as a family or community activity, make your own Chanukiah using recycled materials you find around your house. Remember making an alphabet block Chanukiah as a child? Re-create the experience with your family or community, and see how creative you can make your Chanukiah.

Join the Green Menorah Covenant Coalition (www.theshalomcenter.org/node/1276). Help reduce CO2 emissions and environmental damage through this covenant that attempts to heal the planet of the climate crisis of global scorching.


Take a photo and create your own frame, knit a scarf or a hat or make your own beeswax candles. Bake a special Chanukah dessert to give to friends and family as a more environmentally friendly gift.

Instead of giving chocolate Chanukah gelt, give money to your local emergency food provider or hunger relief organization.

If you still want chocolate gelt, opt for fair trade choices (Chocolove, Dagoba, Equal Exchange, Sunspire, etc.).

Send environmentally friendly e-cards as opposed to the traditional paper cards. Or buy cards made from recycled paper. In addition, use recycled or recyclable paper when wrapping gifts.

Shop Hazon. The Hazon store (www.hazon.bigcartel.com) has a variety of gifts such as recyclable Klean Kanteens, sustainably made T-shirts and infant bodysuits made from organic cotton, and cycling jerseys.


During Chanukah

After lighting your menorah each evening, dedicate yourself to being more environmentally sustainable and enacting food justice when possible. Volunteer at your local emergency food provider one night, cook a meal for someone recovering from surgery the next night, and screen a movie relating to food justice another night.

Potatoes and other root vegetables are in abundance during the winter. Stop by your local farmers market and stock up prior to making your Chanukah latkes.

Since Chanukah frequently involves oil in some form for every meal, buying organic oil ensures a more sustainable celebration. Negev Nectars (www.negevnectars.com) makes sustainable olive oil in Israel.

 Rather than buying a traditional brand of sour cream, stock up on an all-natural or organic one. More of an applesauce fan? Make your own from apples purchased locally or buy an organic brand.

Use the festive opportunity to cut down on meat consumption and eat some of the wonderful produce available during the winter months.

If you’re hosting a Chanukah party or communal meal, use recyclable, reusable or compostable plates and flatware.

Fair Trade Judaica (www.fairtradejudaica.org) is home to a collection of fair trade products, including menorahs, oil, gelt, dreidels and decorations to help enhance your celebration of Chanukah.