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'Green' Hanukkah sparks criticism

Dec. 5, 2007 at 7:57 PM

PITTSBURGH, Dec. 5 (UPI) -- A group of Israeli environmentalists has launched an Internet campaign encouraging Jews around the world to light at least one fewer candle this Hanukkah.

The effort, aimed at curbing climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions, has been criticized by some Jewish leaders, who say the candles play a sacred role in the Hanukkah observance.

The founders of the Green Hanukkia campaign say each candle burning all the way down produces 15 grams of carbon dioxide, and that -- multiplied by an estimated 44 million households in Israel -- adds up quickly.

"The campaign calls for Jews around the world to save the last candle and save the planet, so we won't need another miracle," Liad Ortar, a founder of the campaign, told The Jerusalem Post.

"The challenge is not going to be lost or won by how many candles 13 million Jews around the world light on Hanukkah, especially since a large proportion won't light any at all. I'd like to see a comparison on how far you have to drive your car to create the same amount of carbon dioxide as one candle," Rabbi Danny Schiff, community scholar at the Agency for Jewish Learning in Pittsburgh, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

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