A very nice honor I received this year was that of carrying our little Torah on my bike. Hazon does rides at different times of the year in New York, Israel, and across the USA, as well as in California. The same little Torah scroll goes with the riders wherever the rides go. Like passing the torch. We pass it from day to day, and we think is the ultimate in portable wisdom and of course it helps to guide Hazon’s work. I carried our little Torah scroll in my bike jersey pocket from rural Marin into the City. This meant a whole lot to me; I cried a little with the Torah as we rode together into San Francisco on the rainy foggy bridge. It was all good. The universe cried a little with us, too.
Hazon landed in the Bay Area with a Food Conference in 2006 and since then has been meeting Bay Area residents and visitors at the intersection of Judaism, environmental awareness, and physical health. We offer programs, thought leadership, and community partnerships to organizations and individuals in the region.
Our California Ride is held in the spring in Northern California. We launched our inaugural Ride in 2010 with 120 participants. The Ride features Hazon programming at the Shabbat retreat, followed by a beautiful ride in Sonoma and Marin Counties, and ending in San Francisco. Our 2015 Ride & Retreat will be held over Mother’s Day Weekend, May 7-10.
Bay Area Food Festivals have been held annually since 2012. Our next Food Festival will be held at the Palo Alto Oshman Family JCC on October 18, 2015.
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A weekend of riding and relaxing. Ride for two days along the Pacific coast, through Marin County and into San Francisco. Non-riders can join for Shabbat or as crew.
Drisana Davis was born and raised in Hawaii, has a BA in English Literature from UCSB, and has been a professional in the non-profit sector for over ten years. She recently relocated back to CA after spending seven years as Manager of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia’s Mitzvah Food Project. While there, she directed hunger relief programs and food drive events at five food cupboards that annually served over 4000 unduplicated recipients. Drisana spent the last two months in India in a yoga teacher training course. At Hazon, Drisana’s primary responsibilities include overseeing Hazon’s Golden Gate Ride, marketing Hazon’s local events, and supporting our Food Justice Work. She lives in San Francisco and enjoys spending time with her family in California, hiking, cooking, and learning about nutrition, health and wellness and traveling.San Francisco, CA | 415.397.7020 | email@example.com
David Abusch-Magder, PhD has a life long commitment to involvement in Jewish education, life and practice. His education includes a PhD in Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and undergraduate degrees in Math/Physics and Judaic Studies from Brown University. He maintains a deep commitment to his Jewish education, which has taken place both in formal settings (Jewish day school, Boston’s Hebrew College and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem) as well as through ongoing study. His commitment to cultivating the passion for learning in others has propelled him to a career as a Jewish educational leader currently as the Head of the Middle School and Assistant Head of Campus at Brandeis Hillel Day School’s San Francisco campus. He has published in the fields of Jewish Education, nanotechnology, and wireless networking and has a number of patents. He grew up in the Boston area, and has lived in Jerusalem, New Jersey, and Chicago before moving to San Francisco in 2009 with his wife, Rabbi Ruth Abusch-Magder, and their children Oren and Aliza.
After graduating from University of Michigan in 2009 with a Bachelor’s in Psychology, Natasha began her journey out West by going in the opposite direction- moving from quiet Midwest suburb to big New York City. While in Manhattan, Natasha joined the Jewish food movement as a member of Hazon’s Food Team from 2009 to 2010 as a food programs fellow. Her Hazon involvement continues well beyond her time as staff as past Food Conference co-chair (2011), current California Advisory Board member, and an active program participant in the California ride two years in a row. Natasha currently lives in San Francisco as Drew School’s Admissions Associate and spends most of her free time on her bike.San Francisco, CA
Yesh Ballon is an enthusiastic participant in Hazon activities, taking part in the Israel Ride of November 2008, all of the California/Golden Gate Rides, and several Jewish Food Movement and Wilderness Torah events. This past summer he finally mastered the fine art of pickle making, thanks to a crop of cucumbers cultivated at his Palo Alto home by his wife of 43 years, Debbie, also an active Hazon participant.
A licensed architect and certified educator, Yesh recently retired from corporate life where he managed learning and development programs, and developed and delivered workshops in project management and, most recently, in energy and sustainability in the design, construction and operation of buildings.
He is a longstanding member of Congregation Beth Jacob of Redwood City, California where he has served as president, lay spiritual leader, workshop instructor, and Ba’al Tekiah. He is currently enrolled in two programs of ALEPH Alliance for Jewish Renewal leading to certification in Sage-ing® Mentorship and in Spiritual Direction/Guidance.
Yesh’s passions include writing, teaching, cycling, cooking, and baking challah.
Michele is a New York transplant that has embraced the California lifestyle. Hiking, yoga, and of course, biking which she fell in love with thanks to Hazon – and she fell in love with Hazon thanks to biking.
Michele also became a teacher (SFSU) when she came to California and is loving teaching 5th graders and imparting (every opportunity she gets) the moral imperatives for environmental stewardship and tikkun olam. Her bike coach (and ride partner) has been her son and one of her ‘things to do before she dies’ goals is to participate in Hazon’s Israel (where her daughter lives) ride with him .
Beth Cousens serves as Principal of Imagine: Jewish Education Consulting, working with leaders in Jewish education and in Jewish life to help organizations create impact. Her focus on strategic thinking, collaboration, and creative and relevant Jewish educational ideas have helped her to be a respected voice in this field. For almost two decades, Beth has helped to lead Jewish educational organizations in program and policy development. At Hillel:The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, she launched the department of Organizational Learning and invigorated the Meyerhoff Center for Jewish Experience, creating new initiatives and setting new priorities within Hillel. At the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, she was responsible for launching change projects in congregational education, Jewish overnight camping, and teen participation in Jewish life. Beth has a PhD in Jewish education from Brandeis University and was the recipient of a Wexner Graduate Fellowship. She is the author of numerous articles and research publications about Jewish life and living and is a specialist in emerging adulthood, Millennials, and Generation X. She lives in San Francisco with her husband.
Jill has been very active at PTBE for many years, including running development for over 2 years, serving on the religious school board and Board of Trustees, and founded and served as chair of the green team. Professionally she ran her own consulting business specializing in development, implementation and maintenance of Product Life Cycle, Program Management and Business processes. She spent over 10 years with HP, including the world wide program management responsibility for HP’s first ecommerce venture. Jill holds a MS in Industrial Engineering from Stanford University and BS from USC. She is an avid backyard farmer.
Sharon Leslie is a physical therapist specializing in Cancer Rehabilitation. She runs the Cancer Rehabilitation department at Palo Alto Medical Foundation in Palo Alto, California working with women and men throughout their cancer journey to address the musculoskeletal and neurological side effects of cancer and its treatment. She received both her Masters in Physical Therapy and Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Washington University in St. Louis. She is a former Wexner Heritage Fellow, has served on the board of the Israel Center in San Francisco, the founding advisory board for the Israel Cultural Connection, and is currently serving on the Hazon California Advisory board and as board president at the Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto.
Sharon’s true passions come through the connection of health and food. She strives to help her children and the community make a connection between what we grow and ingest and how that impacts our bodies, our environment and the land.
Sharon lives in Los Altos, California with her husband Seth, her three wonderful children and their five chickens.
Sue is a five-ride veteran for Hazon and a perennial top fundraiser for the California/Golden Gate ride. Sue’s family has been in California for seven generations and she’s interested in building sustainability Jewishly for many generations to come. Sue founded and runs an independent financial advisory firm in Berkeley, North Berkeley Investment Partners, and as a result of studying shmita law with Hazon decided to solidify the way her firm does business a little differently. In 2013, Sue’s firm was certified as a B corporation, so it’s part of a growing group of companies that are run around stakeholder concerns – the community, employees, and the environment – as well as shareholder concerns. Sue passionately studies Torah. Sue’s wife Deborah Newbrun is Director of Hazon in the Bay Area, and they are raising four teens in their blended family in both Berkeley and San Francisco.
Rafi’s adventures are guided by both passion, and pragmatism. He is equally likely to be found careening through redwood forests on his bicycle, and tinkering with the latest gadget. Rafi embraces that technology and ecology coexist. He is inspired by the agrarian roots of the Jewish tradition; promoting an environmentally aware, and socially responsible society. Rafi hopes to bolster a community that participates in personal, and global health through knowledge, and education.
Because the poor will never cease to be in the midst of your land, therefore I command you saying: Open your hand to your brother, to your needy, and to the poor in your land.
Our current industrial-based food system does not adequately give equal access to healthy, nourishing food. However, Jewish tradition, firmly rooted in texts from the Torah, sees a direct connection between social justice, agriculture, and religious/communal obligations. Hazon stands at the forefront of the New Jewish Food Movement, which incorporates multiple entries into the world of food justice through a Jewish lens.
We are expanding our impact on the entire Jewish sustainable food movement, bringing issues of affordability, labor practices, and access to healthy, sustainable food to the forefront of the consciousness of all who are working to improve our food systems. We encourage the full spectrum of the Jewish community to promote social and economic justice locally, nationally and internationally, as a key Jewish value. See page 56 for an overview of Hazon food justice programs.
The Hazon Food Justice Program Guide: Toolkit for Jewish Institutions will be released in 2014. Please check back for this comprehensive, go-to resource for Jewish institutions, organizations, and agencies to use to integrate food justice learning through a Jewish lens into community programming. It is our goal to share materials, curricula, and successful program ideas so to build awareness and foster relationships that will extend to the broader community nationally so that food justice becomes an established part of the work of the Jewish community.
Special thanks to our local funders!
Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund (Setting the Table)
Walter and Elise Haas Fund (Food Justice Program Associate)
Lisa & Douglas Goldman Fund (Shmita)
Leslie Family Foundation (2014 Hazon Food Festival in Palo Alto)
Hazon Bay Area often partners with local organizations and makes appearances in the community at various events. Stay tuned for a list of upcoming community events.