Topic: Tzedek/Justice

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Because Sometimes it Rains on Your Sukkah

Geshem Be’ito (Acceptance of Rain in Its Time) The following essay will be published in the forthcoming book of teachings “Good Noticing” published by the Institute for Jewish Spirituality. The rhythms of the Jewish calendar may not coincide with your particular climate. At times, our traditional rituals may range from the impractical to the impossible. For example, in the Northern Hemisphere, calling upon light in the darkness of Chanukah in Kislev/December always resonates, but singing about blossoming trees in Shevat/January may not make sense. How can we stay true to our tradition when the weather doesn’t cooperate? And as mindfulness practitioners, how might we elevate the news of undesirable weather? Those of us who live in the Northeastern United States are usually blessed with bountiful precipitation year-round. Furthermore, our religion is no longer based on the careful balance between following God’s laws and receiving in return enough rain for our crops to survive. The Reform movement even removed the second paragraph of the Shema from prayer books to make the bold statement: we are modern Jews—we do not believe that we can influence God to change the weather by keeping the commandments of our tradition. Recent evidence suggests that even […]

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Roseanne Barr and What Can Happen When We Teach about Shmita

Dear Friends, The story of Hazon is often a story about stories. Next week, on Tuesday, April 1, at the Green Building in Brooklyn, we’ll be telling the stories of four incredible inductees at our 3rd annual If Not Now Benefit, honoring the powerful stories of Rabbi David Ingber, Barbara Ribakove Gordon, the Margulies Family, and Margot Seigle. It’s going to be a wonderfully fun and meaningful evening, and, if you are in the New York area, I hope you’ll join us. But, for now, I want to share an unbelievable story that happened during our recent Purim Retreat at Isabella Freedman with Roseanne Barr. In the last decade of the 20th century, Roseanne Barr brought the issues and concerns of working class America to life through her groundbreaking sitcom “Roseanne.” At our Purim retreat, it was Roseanne Barr once again bringing concepts to life, this time in such a powerful and profound way that it literally changed the lives of some of those in the room with her. One of Hazon’s current points of focus regards creating a renaissance around the Jewish concept of shmita, the sabbatical year described in the Torah and other Jewish texts, which is scheduled […]

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Roseanne Barr Invokes Jewish Values to Change Lives

Roseanne Barr invoked Jewish values to change lives at an innovative, enlightened, and provocative Purim retreat at Isabella Freedman this past weekend. In the last decade of the 20th century, Roseanne Barr brought the issues and concerns of working class America to life through her groundbreaking sitcom “Roseanne.” This past weekend, it was Roseanne Barr once again bringing concepts to life, this time in such a powerful and profound way that it literally changed the lives of some of those in the room with her. Roseanne served as the leader for a gathering at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in Falls Village, Connecticut, for the Jewish holiday of Purim, one of many holidays celebrating a great story of redemption. The Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center is a campus of the organization Hazon, a Jewish non-profit with the mission of creating a healthier and more sustainable world. One of Hazon’s current points of focus regards creating a renaissance around the Jewish concept of shmita, the sabbatical year described in the Torah and other Jewish texts, which is scheduled to begin on Rosh Hashanah of 2014. A rarely recognized tradition, particularly outside of Israel, the idea of shmita includes not only […]

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Care to Share Gathers Over One Ton of Food

Originally posted in UJA Federation’s news. Try to picture 3.3 million grains of rice. If that’s too challenging, you could also visualize 200,000 grapes, 35,000 eggs, 4,000 pomegranates, 440 watermelons, or 220 pumpkins. Each of these quantities of food weighs a solid ton, which is the amount of fresh produce collected during UJA-Federation’s first annual Care to Share fresh food drive in conjunction with Met Council, Hazon, and AmeriCorps. (more…)

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Care to Share

UJA-Federation of New York — in collaboration with Met Council, AmeriCorps, and Hazon — invite you to participate in our first annual Care to Share citywide and volunteer fresh produce drive. Care to Share will take place from Monday, October 3 – Tuesday, October 18, 2011, encouraging volunteers to symbolically fulfill the Jewish custom of gleaning, a custom tied to the harvest season and the Sukkot period. Traditionally, farmers leave the four corners of their fields unharvested so the needy can glean from the fields with dignity. (more…)

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