Topic: Featured

Is Hazon Local or National? Yes.

I’m fascinated by photos from the Mars Rover. Of course, we could see photos of Mars, the whole red planet, for years, but I didn’t start to feel I had a sense of what the planet was like until I started seeing pictures from the ground level. And, of course, I keep hoping one of these times we’re going to see a Martian waiving “hello.” The action, should there be any, will most certainly happen at the local level. I’m often asked, following the merger between Hazon and Isabella Freedman: “Just what is the new Hazon? Is it a national organization? Is it a local organization?” And the genuine answer is: “Both.” Hazon is a national organization. We look to build a healthier and more sustainable world throughout the United States and beyond. But that work stems from creating healthier and more sustainable Jewish communities built of individuals, families, congregations, and organizations, and that – almost by definition – happens at the local level. Just this month: I attended a one-day Philadelphia Hazon Bike Ride with 200 participants and crew. Our San Francisco Bay Area office held its 5th annual multi-day Bike Ride on the heels of a successful one-day […]

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In March of 1944 the Nazis invaded Hungary. There were by then almost 800,000 Jews here. In a period of eight weeks, starting in May that year, the Nazis rounded them up, deported them, and took them to Auschwitz to be murdered. About 437,000 people were killed. That’s a bit more than every man, woman, and child in Minneapolis today. It’s like killing every single Jew in London, Montreal, Detroit, and Cleveland, combined. That’s what was going on here, this June day, seventy years ago. Seventy years on I’ve been here for a retreat, funded by the Schusterman Foundation, produced by Connection Points, and led brilliantly by Tomi Buchler and Limor Friedman, titled “From Me To We: Between Tribal and Global” – a gathering of young environmental and social justice leaders from three networks: Minyanim (a project backed by UJA-Federation of New York and the Jewish Agency For Israel), ROI (Schusterman), and Siach (itself a partnership led by Hazon and Heschel and supported by UJA). It has been an indescribably rich experience. I find myself with thoughts that are disparate and contradictory: The Shoah is over. Those most obsessed by the Shoah should let it go. Read something else. History […]

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JOFEE Experiences Show Increased Potential for Jewish Engagement

National Study Offers Insights on Participants, Programs, and Professionals NEW YORK, NY — Experiences that blend Jewish learning with the outdoors, food, and environment are attracting a growing number of diverse Jews to meaningful and inspiring Jewish life, reports the first-ever national survey on Jewish Outdoor, Food, and Environmental Education (JOFEE) —Seeds of Opportunity: A National Study of Immersive Jewish Outdoor, Food, and Environmental Education (JOFEE). The report, released today by a group of six major funders and Hazon, examines the history, programs, professionals, and participants that comprise JOFEE experiences. Leaders of JOFEE are eager to share the key findings and continue a conversation about its potential for growth and for Jewish engagement. “For the last decade, a growing number of young Jewish people have been connecting Jewish tradition, on the one hand, with food, the environment and the outdoors, on the other,” said Nigel Savage, president of Hazon. “What the study makes clear is that these programs are having an enormously significant impact – on people’s individual identity and Jewish commitment; on leadership development; and, in relation to food and the environment. JOFEE programs are strengthening Jewish life, and are having a significant viral impact as last year’s program […]

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Getting down and dirty

Dear All, Last week I was at the Leichtag Ranch in Encinitas, CA. The Leichtag Foundation bought this 67-acre ranch in 2012, and they’re developing it as a hub for the Jewish community of North County. It’s a remarkable thing to see unfold, and it’s a fascinating way of thinking about what the letters “JCC” stand for: the Ranch is about “Jewish,” it’s about “community,” and it’s very much a “center,” yet the evolution of what takes place there – and of what could or should take place there – is far from what we think of when we think of a JCC. At its heart is an understanding of how relationship to land and to place is capable of renewing Jewish life in the 21st century in significant new ways. Then earlier this week, I was emailing with Steven Wynbrandt. Steven is in LA, and I didn’t get to see him this trip. But he is one of the remarkable young leaders in this generation – an incredible inspiration in all that he does, and how that he does it. I first met him as an Adamahnik (applications now open for Spring and Summer Adamah), and he is not […]

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Join the People of the Bike

Dear Friends, While I’m not a farmer myself, I have deep admiration and appreciation for the work that farmers do: how beautiful it is, the glory of hard work transforming into harvest, the ways that it gives life to our community. I am similarly not a biker; and yet for years now I’ve had the honor and pleasure of witnessing – and supporting – the many members of our community who have participated in Hazon bike rides. Since 2008, I, personally, have served as a crew member to Hazon bike rides in New York, in the San Francisco Bay Area, and in Israel, watching community members just like you (and perhaps including you) traverse amazing vistas, experience life-changing transformations, and support sustainable communities, a healthier environment, and – in the case of the Arava Institute & Hazon Israel Ride – a more peaceful world. And perhaps the most surprising thing to me about attending Hazon bike rides is how they’ve left me feeling that one day I might be a participant myself. Indeed, most Hazon bike riders don’t look like they just came off the Tour de France. Participants come in all shapes, sizes, ages, genders, religious backgrounds, and levels […]

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Wine jugs, worms, priests, and hospitality

In August 2012, inspired by Yosh Schulman and David Rendsburg, I started to learn a page a day of Talmud as part of the new daf yomi cycle – the page-a-day learning that takes you through, as it were, the whole megillah of the Talmud. There are 2,711 pages in the Talmud, so the whole cycle takes seven-and-a-half years. It’s been a fascinating experience thus far, and one of the reasons I’m writing today is that we’re thrilled to announce that Arthur Kurzweil will be teaching his amazing Talmud retreat as part of our 2014 Elat Chayyim program. I first met Arthur many years ago, and he has a remarkable gift for bringing the Talmud to life, especially for those who may (legitimately) be intimidated by it. If you have never spent time delving into the Talmud, or you have but want to dive deeper, then you’re warmly invited to join Arthur at Isabella Freedman for the Talmud Circle Institute. Join us as spring begins to emerge during Session 1 (March 17 – 21) and/or when the sun should be shining during Session 2 (July 21 – 25). For me, daf yomi has been really fascinating. (I’m not in fact […]

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New year, new vision, new programs… new organization!

January 6, 2014  |  5 Shvat 5774 Makom Hadash, NYC  |  Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, Falls Village, CT Dear All, It’s a new year and, legally, we’re now a new organization: this is the first email from the post-merger Hazon. After a long process, we’re excited to bring together the strengths, resources, and communities of the three organizations that, two years ago, separately comprised Hazon, Isabella Freedman, and Teva.  A huge thank you to the many of you who gave us year-end gifts. Your support, and that of so many of the people reading this email, enable us to do the many things that we do. The time since we announced our merger has been focused both on strengthening our systems internally and growing our programs and resources externally. The links below go to our new website, which should give you a sense of the depth and breadth we now have to offer. If you want to read an overview of the new organization, click here. If you’re interested in participating in one of our multi-day events this year, you’re warmly invited: In Israel we have both a bike ride and a sustainable food tour. (The Israel Ride is […]

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Cultivating Soil and Soul

Cultivating Soil and Soul Dear All, I am thrilled and delighted to hand this week’s lead story to Dr. Shamu Sadeh, co-founder and director Adamah. All the Best,   Nigel Savage Executive Director, Hazon PS: A number of you sent nice notes about the piece I wrote last week. I had intended to include a link to a nice piece I had written ten years previously about my Grandma. For those who are interested, here it is. “There’s a wonderful Hebrew saying: ein yirat shamayim, bli r’iyat shamayim — you can’t have Awe of the Heavens, without seeing the heavens. It’s true! Sometimes all it takes to re-awaken to the divinity in our surroundings is to spend but a few moments alive in nature. (To better capture the wordplay, a good English equivalent might be: to feel grounded, feel the ground!) My three months as a Spring Adamahnik were a living fulfillment of this wisdom. I came to Adamah disenchanted with my Judaism, disconnected from my body, and out of touch with my spirit. But in sighting the sky and touching the soil, I was transformed into a spiritually open, intellectually exhilarated, and physically reborn partner with the Heavens. And […]

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