B'nai Israel Congregation | August 17, 2009
This is the story of an inspired and entrepreneurial Junior High class from the B’nai Israel Congregation in Sacramento.
Congregation B'nai Israel (CBI) decided to make solar cookers as their community improvement project last year, and Wendy Fischer's 7th grade class purchased solar cooker pots for use in constructing solar cooker kits to contribute to a Loaves & Fishes (L&F) homeless project. The program started in 2008 when Dave Brubaker had the notion to teach the kids about solar cooking as a way to save energy in Sacramento during good weather, lessen their carbon footprint, and start expanding the vision of ecologically friendly living in novel ways. At Dr. Rachel Weinreb’s suggestion, Bob Metcalf instructed the class on water pasteurization procedures and the importance of safe water in developing countries, expanding the class’ vision of how solar cookers could help refugees in Darfur--a special social outreach of Reform Judaism.
The cooking packages made for Loaves and Fishes contained: 1 solar cooker, 2 clothes pins, 1 three lb. black cooking pot, 1 turkey size roasting bag, and instructions and recipes for using the cookers. During the initial solar cooker give-away at L&F, the 7th-graders used old bicycle boxes to build the solar cookers, which, while environmentally friendly, were not foldable, and therefore not as useful to the homeless as they would have liked. (It's hard to carry a fully open CooKit on a bicycle!) Next year, CBI will modify the plan so that the cookers are more foldable (like the commercially made CooKit) or made out of attachable pieces, perhaps using Velcro to hold parts together.
The Congregation’s 7th grade Sunday School class is it's oldest class before the students become either Bar or Bat Mitzvah and move into other activities oriented towards teenagers ~ the connection with Solar Cookers International (SCI) was a direct result of the class's desire to find a worthy, community-based project that would support an identified need in the Sacramento area.
SCI sincerely thanks to CBI for contributing with initiative and hard labor to the spread of solar cooking in the Sacramento area!
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