• cantorkaygreenwald

It's been a summer....

Once again, it has been too long since I have taken up the figurative pen. It has been a weird and complicated summer, right? But as the High Holy Days are upon us, I have one particular prayer repeating in my mind: The Aleinu. This prayer first appeared in our Rosh Hashana liturgy, and it reminds us, “L’takein ha’olam b’malchut Shaddai.” That is, “To repair the world with God’s sovereignty,” or as some of my colleagues prefer to loosely translate, “in partnership with God.”

Like me, some of you may have been feeling weary - the world is looking pretty dark and scary right now. How wonderful that at this time of year we are reminded that the cycle of life continues, that there is room for forgiveness and hope, and that we can find strength and renewal!

So – let’s get back to the work of repairing our world.

Here is one small and pretty simple change that you might consider making: We all have to brush our teeth twice a day, so switch to a plastic free tooth cleaning product (or two).

This last week, I visited the dentist for the first time since we all went into quarantine. I was a little concerned about my check up, since I have switched to a brand of eco-friendly dental floss and I wondered it if offered the same cleaning properties as the drug store varieties with which we are all familiar. Happily, my teeth look better than ever, and I am now hooked on plastic free floss! Here are a few varieties that you might consider – all of them are compostable and/or biodegrable.

Dental Lace is completely vegan. It comes in cute little glass bottles that you can order in your choice of color combinations.

Ohm is a silk floss (therefore not vegan), that is somewhat stronger than some vegan flosses. Ohm floss comes in a little aluminum container.

Lucky Teeth makes a bamboo floss that is charcoal infused. It is vegan and very strong (doesn’t tear easily).

In addition to floss, there are other ways to avoid plastic in your teeth cleaning routine. You can use a bamboo toothbrush, like this one

You can also use plastic free toothpaste – that is, a toothpaste that does not come in a plastic tube. This one is a little more difficult for those of us with sensitive (read, “older”) teeth. I have not yet found a completely plastic free toothpaste that is made for teeth like mine.

If your teeth are not as sensitive, however, there are a wide variety of plastic free toothpastes. For example:

According to the Dental Lace website, if everyone in the U.S. flossed the way the ADA recommends that we do, then our empty dental floss containers would fill a landfill the size of a football field 6 stories high! Moreover, regular floss is made of nylon and plastic, so it will not biodegrade. Marine animals have been known to eat dental floss, which has not only caused them harm, but also assures that it will get into our food chain.

When I started this blog a little less than a year ago, I suggested that it is nearly impossible to completely remove plastic from our lives. With the onset of the pandemic, it has become even more difficult. I am still going to ask you to do the best that you can. We can each move the world one tiny step forward.

Because, “Aleinu.” It is “On us” – it is our responsibility.

May this New Year of 5781 bring us sweetness and - with all of our collective work and help - a healthier planet for us all.

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