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Letter from the President — Winter 2013

Letter from the President — Winter 2013


Spertus Goes Green

In conjunction with our 90th anniversary in 2014, I am proud to announce Spertus Green, Spertus Institute’s Environmental Initiative. Issues of sustainability and environmental sensibility have been at the core of Spertus’ ethos since we moved into our new facility in 2007. In recognition, our award-winning building at 610 S. Michigan Avenue was awarded a Silver LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification by the U.S. Green Building Council in 2008.

More recently, we have taken a number of additional steps designed to enhance our commitment. Key among these was the decision to power our facility entirely with renewable energy, saving 6,200 tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere over the next three years. See the sidebar for additional examples of our sustainability.

Our commitment goes well beyond our desire to do the right thing by being a good corporate citizen. Conservation and environmentalism are Jewish imperatives, woven into the fiber of our sacred teachings of tikkun olam (partnering with God to repair the world) and bal taschit (prohibitions against wasting). As an institute for Jewish learning and leadership, we are proud to take the lead in this regard. We go to great lengths to live the wisdom of these treasured precepts in everything we do at Spertus.

For those wishing to learn more about Judaism and environmentalism, I encourage you to visit the Asher Library at Spertus in person or check out our online Environmentalism and Judaism Subject Guide. As a start, you may find the following websites of interest:

There are, of course, many ways to commemorate an anniversary as auspicious as 90 years of continuous service to the Jewish people. In the months ahead, I look forward to sharing several other important Spertus initiatives. Our enhanced dedication to sustainability offers us an opportunity to begin our ninth decade by reaffirming our historic commitment to sacred Jewish precepts and stands as an invitation for those who share our values to join us in this effort.

Dr. Hal M. Lewis

Dr. Hal M. Lewis
President and CEO
Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership



Read The Leading Edge, Dr. Hal M. Lewis’ blog about Jewish leadership.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Our award-winning facility is now powered exclusively by renewable energy!

Here are other examples of sustainable design and energy efficiency at Spertus:

  • The windows are fritted (ceramic dots called frits are bonded onto the glass) to control heat gain and glare.
  • Advanced computer-controlled lighting and HVAC systems significantly reduce energy consumption.
  • A green roof (planted with special vegetation) allows rainwater to evaporate rather than enter the sewersystem. It also absorbs air pollution and keeps the building cool in the summer.
  • Cleaning products are Green Seal certified.
  • Paints and building materials are low- or no-VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds).
  • The Spertus kitchen, managed by Wolfgang PuckCatering, purchases locally and organically whenever possible, using seasonal menus to avoid serving fruits or vegetables that require long-distance transportation.
  • Food service disposables are made from biodegradable materials (no plastic containers) and no hydrogenated fats are used. In fact, fryer oil is recycled into biofuels.
  • Through recycling and composting, Spertus saves approximately 40 tons of waste from entering landfills each year.