what do chocolate and a synagogue have in common?

nothing really, but greater washington interfaith power and light (“gwipl” – i think part of dc culture is definitely its acronyms) had its 2008 awards ceremony on monday night in the form of a chocolate reception.  awesome.  i didn’t really have to read the subject line twice to know i was already there.  anyway, rabbi fred and mike tidwell gave us a tour of adat shalom, which i believe was built in 2000 with a lot of “green” practices.  if any DCGMs have pictures from the event, please comment so i can post them. 

the event was also a fundraiser, and it seems the interfaith community has caught wind of imam johari’s (an area imam) fundraising skills, and as imam johari has tendency to do, he assigned everyone homework.  each of us was asked to tell 5 people to donate to GWIPL.  here’s my proposition for you the reader: you should, if you’re able, donate to gwipl because it’s a local, effective, truly sincere organization.  it’s not some big organization where your money might go to red tape.  i realize a blog isn’t the most personal way to fundraise, but think of it like this- if you’ve got 10, 20, whatever bucks to spare (bring a lunch to work for a couple days instead of eating out), and you like this blog and the things dc green muslims supports, why not?  no big deal.  

part two

part of the reason people appreciate DCGM events/activities so much is because it’s such an open, non-judgemental atmosphere.  young muslims seem to especially appreciate this because perhaps their masjid isn’t the friendliest place, or they had a bad experience with muslim clubs on college campuses.  so even if they come more for the socialization and less for directly “green” things, it makes DCGM a good thing to be a part of.  i do have some (hopefully constructive) criticism, though, and it applies to the greater “green” movement as well as to us.  let’s call it greenvangelism (yes i googled it out of curiosity and yes i could probably link to something interesting, but you have fingers too!).  greenvangelism is sneaky because it appeals to our moral sensibility – “you don’t recycle?! what’s wrong with you??”  and while it certainly comes from good intentions it can definitely turn people off.  see, it’s kind of like religious proselytizing – no one really likes being talked down to.  it can be a little more insidious when the atmosphere is ripe with it to the point where differing views/practices aren’t even on the table for discussion.  people start experiencing mild anxiety over what kind of food to bring to an event, whether they’re “allowed” to drive to something, etc. – suddenly it’s not a love for environmentalism that drives their actions but a fear of social castigation.  

i don’t think DCGM has gone down that road, and for that i’m thankful.  but i personally would like to avoid it, and i hope this blog is one place to start that discussion in the hopes of maintaining that wonderful atmosphere that we are so known for. 

happy Friday!


  1. Walid
    December 20, 2008 at 5:30 am

    nice post, and ever better term!

  2. NJArtitecture
    December 28, 2008 at 3:08 am

    really enjoyed this post, thanks for making the distinction …