Being in a job where a lot of paper is used – books, handouts, lesson preparations, photocopies – I often felt that too much of it was wasted.
Some colleagues suggested having a special waste basket for paper so that it coud be recycled. For years this was deemed impossible since it would mean more work for the school cleaners. Then the school got guidelines from the Ministry of Education and had to comply.
It still seemed that a lot of the paper going into the waste had hardly been used and it bothered me, until I came across this website. I visited this site for a reason that had nothing to do with environmental issues – I had just finished a book by Blu Greenberg – but I read a eulogy and a memory page that helped me with this issue.
J.J. was a man who loved life. He showed constant reverence for life. He was a vegetarian, at his own initiative, since the age of 14. He was a Machmir (very strict observer) of the command bal tashchit – “not to waste.” He was a friendly but relentless recycler. Under his watchful eye at Jewish Life Network, not a single piece of paper went into a wastebin without being used on both sides.
I now make sure to write on both sides of a paper, I keep unused photocopies and give them to the students for scrap paper and encourage them to do the same. It is not a big deed but I feel that every little thing helps.
In Judaism we believe that we live on after our death in the good works that we have done and in the good name we have made for ourselves. I hope that J.J. Greenberg’s relatives and friends find comfort in the fact that J.J. still inspires people – even strangers – in their commitments and everyday life.
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