click here to jump to start of article

Aish Students Launch Recycling Program

When God created the first human beings, He led them around the Garden of Eden and said: “Look at my works! See how beautiful they are. For your sake I created them all. See to it that you do not spoil and destroy My world; for if you do, there will be no one else to repair it." (Midrash Rabbah – Ecclesiastes 7:13)

Henry Goodelman depositing plastic bottles for the Aish Recycling Program

This Midrash teaches the value of appreciating God's creation, of using it responsibly, and taking leadership to protect it when necessary.

Using this inspiration, Aish Jerusalem student Henry Goodelman initiated the Aish Recycling Program which has successfully recycled over a thousand plastic bottles so far.

Aish’s program consists of the strategic placement of recycling bins across the Aish Jerusalem campus and creating a system where student volunteers regularly deliver the bottles to the recycling station in Jerusalem’s Old City.

The Jerusalem Post reports on the Aish recycling effort:

In an effort to do what he could to encourage more Old City recycling, Goodelman and his friends set up recycling posts in six Aish HaTorah dormitories where students can deposit their plastic bottles. He said that he and his team then come around approximately every two days and fill up garbage bags with the bottles, carrying about 40 to 80 bottles each time to the bin in the Jewish Quarter parking lot.

“I think we all value the community here,” Goodelman said. “This is something that we can actually do that makes a difference.” The next step, he said, would be to encourage other yeshivas and nonprofit organizations located throughout the neighborhood to do the same.

The Torah teaches us "bal tashchit" (don't waste) which includes any unnecessary destruction and wasteful consumption (Maimonides – Kings 6:8,10). Everything in this world belongs to God, and abusing Creation is tantamount to disrespecting God and violating our directive to use the world responsibly.

After completing three degrees at the University of Pittsburgh and leaving a job in graduate school admissions, Henry arrived to Israel in January 2012 to learn at Aish HaTorah. During his studies, he has helped develop new programs and is always thinking of innovative ways to get students involved. Henry's initiatives represent a fundamental Aish goal to inspire students to take leadership and implement the Torah values they learn in the real world.

Your tax-deductible contribution can support the Aish Recycling Program.

For more info: Rabbi Nachman Elsant –

Written by Matan Hazanov

Give Tzedakah! Help create inspiring
articles, videos and blogs featuring timeless Jewish wisdom.