the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Going Green

During my senior year at Columbia, I decided to become a Reform rabbi.  Why?  Well, I had taken a seminar on Jewish Thought and there was this cute brunette in the class.   She was somewhat religious, but more importantly, she had these very long legs… sigh.  Does it really matter what the motivation is when there is a calling to God? 

I went on an interview with a rabbi from the Reform seminary. 

“Why do you want to become a reform rabbi?” he asked.


It was probably an answer that I should have rehearsed earlier. 

Later on, when I had some time to myself, I finally came up with an honest answer. 

“I am interested in Judaism.  I like the traditions, moral outlook, and the rituals.  But I have a lot of doubts and I probably won’t remain religious for very long.  It’s a big commitment to go to temple on Saturday, stay kosher, and not to look down my Aunt Birdie’s blouse when I get drunk on the Manischewitz during Passover.  So, I figure it would be good to become a rabbi because then I would be GETTING PAID to be a super Jew, and it would be a lot easier to do.”

I tell this bizarre story because I just started writing for a group blog, The Brita FilterforGood’s “green” blog.  For the next several months, I will slowly be “going green,” telling you about my experiences on a weekly basis on the FilterforGood blog.

But I’m not going to pontificate.   Take note of this:  I am getting paid to do this. 

Yes, I am writing for a corporate blog, even if it is a socially-minded one.  I will be taking green steps in my life, but I cannot honestly say that I would be taking these steps on my own.  I will be like the rabbi who became a rabbi to get paid to be kosher.  That does not mean that I won’t become a dedicated “green” person or that I wouldn’t have become a wonderful rabbi after college.  It just means that, as of now, I have no right to lecture to you on this subject.  I know it is a pain in the ass to carry your own recyclable bag when you go shopping, especially if it is decorated with daisies, like my mother’s bag.   So feel free to question anything I say about the environment.  I want you to be as skeptical about anything I say, just like I am when I read your “do good” blogs sponsored by General Motors.  Think of me as your paid guinea pig.

Even if you don’t want to read my posts, you should read the other five contributors.  The are extremely caring and knowledgeable about green issues, and can actually explain global warming to you — Blake Makes, Melting Mama, teensygreen, green LA girl and long-time blogging friend and nemesis, Whoorl. 

All I ask from you is to comment every once in a while, so I don’t get fired.   My posts will go up on Monday.

And please — recycle.


  1. lizriz

    Congratulations! 🙂

  2. Katherine

    Congrats… now tell those douchebags at BritaUSA to start recycling filter cartridges like they do in Germany!

  3. Neil

    Katherine — I did read about that issue. At least give me two weeks before I start attacking my own employer. Give a guy a break!

  4. laurie ruettimann

    Crap, Neil. Now I have to make more garbage and waste more energy to offset your green activity & shrinking carbon footprint.

    Thanks a lot.

  5. V-Grrrl

    Save this comment and attach it to your next post! I won’t be commenting again!

    Yours in reducing, recycling, and reusing words,

  6. All Adither

    Interesting choice of bloggers…

  7. Neil

    all adither — what you are saying is, “Why the **** is he doing this?”

  8. texasholly @ June Cleaver Nirvana

    I’ll be back on Monday for the Reform Class for Rabbis.

  9. Marinka

    I can’t wait! I can make comments like “Global warming is a left wing conspiracy!!!” right?

  10. Yvonne

    Congratulations Neil, glad you’ve taken this step. Am very interested in seeing how you get on.

  11. Yvonne

    And when I say “this step” I mean making money out of your great wriing for this blog, and going green!

  12. TRO

    You graduated from Columbia. Sheesh, you are so much smarter than me. Oh well, I am better looking. Or not.

  13. TRO

    And to show how dumb I am . . . and how drunk . . . I missed the whole green thing. I will say that I think I will drive my SUV an extra hour for every green post you do. It’s only fair I think.

  14. Neil

    TRO — I am expecting decent debates from you about some of the green craziness!

  15. vodkamom

    I’ve decided to use dish towels instead of paper towels, recycle the cartridges, try those DAMN cloth grocery bags (if I remember) and compost all the crap from the kitchen that I can. That’s the best I can do. Does that count? Now, where’s my bloody mary…

  16. vodkamom

    p.s. about time someone pays you……..

  17. Dave

    The greenies must’ve caught wind of the fact that you were a Citizen of the Month.

  18. Lou P.

    Those plastic bags from grocery stores (you know, the type that are being banned by cities in the People’s Republic of California) make great trash can liners.

  19. Astrogirl

    Babe – don’t worry about it. All we expect (demand) from you is some of your wit (preferably served under glass, with a lovely mint jelly – oh wait, that’s the pheasant. Apologies), and we don’t really care what the hell you blog about. There; now the dirty little secret is out – we’re all a bunch of blog whores.

    Or maybe that’s just me. And maybe just the whore part. I can never keep it straight.

  20. better safe than sorry

    congrats on the paying blog! we’re a very green family, i look forward to reading what you will be contributing.

  21. nelumbo

    Yea! I’m glad to hear you’re on your way to making some money from your blogging. Looking forward to reading about you going green.

    Oh, and the picture bar of the new site isn’t working…it doesn’t seem to be linked when I click on it.

  22. Anissa@Hope4Peyton

    Good luck and big hugs of congrats to you! One more site today, world domination for the kosher tomorrow. Which would be weird, because I’m totally not Jewish, but anyways.

  23. piglet

    i wish you well on your journey, great things come from change.

    looking forward to unlocking the mysteries of “going green”.

  24. Katherine

    Neil – I know! I just think the hypocrisy of a company that has extremely green practices in one of their markets greenwashing themselves in another market is too much!

    I hope you find going “green” as easy as I have. Every little bit helps!

  25. schmutzie

    Congratulations on the new writing gig! I be all jealous and shit.

  26. Wendy

    I think AJ’s hairstyle is hot, if you take away the old face, and the whiteness of it. In fact, check out this clip. I swear he took the same picture with him to the salon. And if you want a style like that, you *have* to go to a salon.

  27. Wendy

    Ok… somehow that wound up on the entirely wrong post. I don’t have a clue how that happened.

    Oh yeah, ImSleepDeprived, by the way.

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