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Author Archive | Hannah Elovitz

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Hakhel Blog: Aharon Ariel Lavi

This week we start reading Sefer Bamidbar, also known as “The Book of Numbers.” A strange name for a book, is it not? It derives from the fact that the first portion of the book, as well as other parts later on, deal primarily with counting, classifying and organizing the People of Israel back in the Sinai desert. The text gives a pretty detailed account of the numbers of men in each tribe, and using some simple calculations we can estimate that anywhere between 4-6 million Hebrews lived in the world at the time. The funny thing is that after this general census it was actually forbidden to count the People of Israel again, so the exact number of Hebrews, and later Jews, will remain a mystery. However, Jews don’t always do as they’re told, right? About 500 years later, King David made another census and was severely punished for violating this law (Chronicles I, 21). If we use the same kind of calculation we will find that the nation has pretty much multiplied itself, to 8-9 million people. Do the math, and you will discover that under normal conditions the Jewish people should have been the size of the […]

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Hazon Detroit: Will We Change?

Pictured above: Rabbi Nate and other food justice leaders from across the country. Dear Friends, Last week, Hazon Detroit’s Rabbi Nate DeGroot presented at the Center for Earth Ethics’ annual clergy conference, focused this year on the intersection of food and climate change. Rabbi Nate taught on our unified connection to nature and the earth as Jews, and on Jewish practices related to gratitude and food justice. Other speakers at the conference included Former Vice President Al Gore, Center for Earth Ethics Director Karenna Gore, world-renowned soil scientist Dr. Rattan Lal, and many more. Mr. Gore’s presentation – similar in style and inspiration to An Inconvenient Truth and An Inconvenient Sequel – focused on three main questions in the face of our changing climate: 1) Must we change? 2) Can we change? and 3) Will we change? 1) Must we change? We must. Mr. Gore said he likes to keep his presentations relevant, and so he included images and videos of historically abnormal flooding all around the world that has happened in just the last week alone. We know this is severely impacting the midwest region, including right here at home, where excessive rainfall has led to significant crop losses and delayed planting amongst close partners of Hazon […]

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Recipe: Wild Alaskan Salmon

Want a bigger taste?  Join us this summer at the Hazon Food Conference! 4 6-ounce wild salmon filets (from Alaska), skin off 1 tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary 2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives Olive oil Salt and pepper Pat dry the salmon filets. Combine the fresh herbs in a bowl. Press the herbs on to the “presentation “side of the salmon (non-skin side). Salt and pepper the fish on both sides. Place a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Lightly coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil. Place the salmon filets, presentation side down, in the pan. Here is the hard part-Don’t touch the fish for at least 3-5 minutes until the fish has browned and is not sticking to the pan. If it sticks, it has not browned enough. The browned fish will be crispy and firm and will loosen itself from the pan. Turn the fish over and turn off the heat. Cover the pan and the fish will continue to cook for 3 more minutes. Your fish will be a perfect medium rare. If you want it well done (I don’t recommend it) keep the […]

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Recipe: Vegan Jackfruit Pulled “Pork” Sandwiches

Want a bigger taste?  Join us this summer at the Hazon Food Conference! This recipe and photo come to us from Dave Albert on Rootiful. Jackfruit pulled pork Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 45 minutes Total Time: About an hour Yield: 4–6 sandwiches — Adapted from MORE, moreveganblog.com Ingredients 3 20-oz. cans of jackfruit in brine 1 tsp. olive oil 1 small onion, chopped 3 cloves of minced garlic or garlic powder equivalent 1 tsp. ground cumin .25 tsp. cayenne pepper 1 tsp. chili powder 1 tsp. paprika 1.5 tsp. liquid smoke 1 cup vegetable broth .5 cup BBQ sauce (I recommend smoky, tangy…) 4 buns or rolls Directions Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Drain and rinse the jackfruit. Cut the core from the edges (it’s okay to leave a little). Using your fingers, press the jackfruit upward to remove the seeds. Don’t worry about getting out every last seed, but try to remove most. In a large pan, sauté the onion in olive oil, add the garlic, and saute a bit longer, taking care not to burn the garlic. Add the jackfruit, liquid smoke, and seasonings. Mix everything well. Add vegetable broth, cover, and simmer for 10–15 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed. (If you don’t have a cover, simply simmer […]

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Hakhel Blog: Craig Oshkello

The local farm supply store, a seventh generation family business, left a message for me on Shabbat. Probably not aware that it was the fourteenth day of the counting of the Omer, they let me know the barley has arrived. I am one of a growing number of Jews that are leading a lifestyle based on environmental stewardship and social justice. As a Jew in the diaspora this path had yielded deeper meaning in my spiritual growth and a stronger connection to/ longing for the land of Israel. It is now Motzei Shabbos (Saturday night) and there is a buzz on the farm. Although the north faces of the 4000 foot mountains on the horizon are still under 65” of snow, the first flowers are blooming here at 800 feet above sea level at our home in the valley. Colts foot, Trout Lily, Marsh Marigold, Trillium, Lady’s Slipper and Blood Root are all of the first to bloom. They are “ephemeral” species whose bloom and foliage will disappear in a month. First to flower among the trees, the White Poplar, has a distinctly hairy looking flower locally referred to as “Popple Fuzz”, is now joined in a subtle symphony of […]

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Hakhel Spotlight: FED

FED is a community where people from diverse backgrounds, professions, and walks of life come together for open and honest dialogue; delicious, vegetable-forward food; and the creative energy and ideas of others in attendance. Each event provides motivational, entertaining content that exposes you to ideas, art, and stories that you may not have previously considered, including through FED talks (akin to TED talks in length and style), musicians, comedians, dancers, or other artistic performers. FED is a vision for an ideal Jewish community that is powered by the Jewish values of hospitality, openness, and dialogue, and explores and incorporates Jewish themes, holidays, and experiences. For instance, we recently held two Passover seders (pictured here) with a specially written haggadah, focusing on taking guests on a journey toward creativity and empowerment through incorporating storytelling, improv techniques – and amazing food, of course! This creativity with the tradition and how it can inspire reflection, help us find and realize a sense of purpose, and be our best selves is what Judaism (and FED) is all about. FED is based in New York City and has also hosted gatherings in Be’er Sheva, Paris, San Francisco, and Boston. This week, FED is traveling to […]

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Hazon Detroit: The Wheat Harvest

Dear Friends, According to our biblical calendar, we are in the midst of the grain harvest, a season of gladness and growth which lasted seven weeks of seven days. It began with harvesting barley during Passover and ended with harvesting wheat at Shavuot. Forty-nine days the wheat would grow and grow, until it was ready to be cut and harvested just in time for Shavuot, when two loaves of bread would be offered at the Temple. According to our Torah, this honoring and culmination of the growing season is the reason we celebrate Shavuot, and only later did the slightly more mythical aspects of receiving Torah at Mt. Sinai come to coincide with the holiday’s significance. At one time, the flour was the revelation. Nowadays, for each of those forty-nine days, Jews around the world engage in a practice called “Sefirat haOmer/Counting the Omer,” where we verbally bless and count each day that passes. While we may not be carefully watching our wheat crops grow, tending to their needs and supporting their health, we do have an opportunity to do just that for own spirits and souls. We once were slaves and now we’re free. But in order to truly […]

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Hakhel Spotlight: Israeli Community Barcelona

The Israeli Community Barcelona was established in October 2016 by a group of local Israelis who sought to join together in order to create a framework for social activities. The activities take place in Hebrew and revolve around Jewish holidays and Israeli culture. The opening event was a Hanukkah party, which brought together 120 Israelis to a celebration of light and joy. Later, events for adults were also held and most of the holidays were celebrated in a traditional but non-religious manner, with the participation and assistance of the entire community. In September 2017, the community education center was established – an Israeli cultural home for children ages 2-8. The children meet twice a month and learn about the holidays, Israeli songs and stories, movement, music, acting, and more. What connects all activity is the Hebrew language and Israeli culture. The children play in Hebrew and enrich their vocabulary, taste Israeli culture and are curious to continue exploring beyond the activity. At the same time, the holiday traditions continued to grow, bringing local Israelis closer to an exciting and colorful cultural celebration. In addition, a group was established to support women in the first month after birth, by bringing home-cooked […]

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Hazon Detroit: Ethical Meat Buying Club: Deadline to Order 4/7

Dear friends, At the core of Judaism is the sacred task of aligning our daily actions with our deepest values. And what daily action is more Jewish than eating?! So then what does it do to the joy of our Shabbat dinner or the holiness of our Passover seder, if we sit down to eat chicken that has been raised in a factory farm, or brisket from a cow that never saw the sun? It is hard to live in a world where the most common and readily available meat we can find almost always comes from sources that none of us would objectively support. It makes honoring ourselves, our families, the earth, all living beings, and the Jewish tradition eminently challenging. Luckily, we can take a step in right direction! Join aspirational eaters from across the metro-Detroit Jewish community in the launch of the Kol Foods Hillel Day School meat buying club, offering greater access to higher-welfare kosher meat that is 100% grass-fed, humanely raised on farms using regenerative farming practices, and ethically produced. As you may know, Hillel Day School switched over to this meat for its lunch program earlier this year. Now, the same items are available […]

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Hakhel Israel Trip – Communities of Israel

Communities of Israel – Reflections from Hakhel’s Israel Tour by Sephirah Stacey Oshkello At the beginning of November, members of Living Tree Alliance traveled to Israel with 20 other leaders of Jewish intentional communities in North America as part of Hazon’s Hakhel Jewish Intentional Communities Incubator Program. In the seven glorious days of our seminar we visited about 11 mission-driven communities and 6 projects, across Israel (map here) to learn from their successes and challenges. Through this journey, it has become evident that Living Tree Alliance is part of a growing movement of Jewish organizations around the world that are inspired to Redefine Community, Rejuvenate Land, and Revitalize Culture. This movement is about re-connecting people to the ancient teachings and traditions of Judaism that allows for a more meaningful life embedded in community filled with a deepening of relationships, creative expression, and connection. This movement provides innovative antidotes to modern society’s isolated individualism. With your incredible support through the years, and the collaboration of many local and international organizations, Living Tree Alliance has grown from a concept in 2010 to serving as a leader in this movement at home and abroad. Building meaningful, intentional Jewish community, connected to the land, […]

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Hazon Detroit: Of Spirit and of Seed

Dear Friends, As you know, it’s been gray and rainy since November. Not as much snow as some years, but cold, drizzly, damp, and long. We’ve been cooped up indoors trying to find outlets for excess energy, and yet seasons are seasons and we can only do so much to buck the natural order of things. So for months now, we’ve been waiting around as the days grow darker and the nights grow longer, biding time patiently for the vernal release. And then, just like that we turned the clocks ahead and all of a sudden it’s light at 7:30pm and 32 degrees and sunny feels balmy and 40s and 50s are in the forecast and thank goodness, spring is coming! It’s in the full moon midst of this pent up vitality that Purim comes along with its burlesque theatrics and carnival conviviality, a cure for the common case of spring fever. We dance through distinctions and imbibe in creative intuition, recalling a fantastical and topsy turvy drama of inner-court intrigue and epic reversals of fate and fortune that cunningly parallel the natural world, paving the way for our people’s near-genocide to become our jubilant celebration of national triumph. In […]

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Testimony: Proposed Revised Supplemental Finding for the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards and Results of the Residual Risk and Technology Review

On March 18, 2019, Dr. Mirele B. Goldsmith testified at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on behalf of the Jewish Climate Action Network for stronger mercury standards. Below are her remarks. My name is Dr. Mirele B. Goldsmith. I am a member of Congregation Adat Shalom in Bethesda, MD, a leader of Jewish Climate Action Network, and an environmental psychologist. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to testify. In this time of deep division in our country, I’m proud to be here with a group of 20 leaders of different faiths who will testify today.   We have our differences, but when it comes to the mercury rule we all agree that it would be immoral to weaken the current life-saving standards. The current leadership of the EPA claims that the cost of this rule is not worth the benefits. What are those benefits? According to the EPA itself, the current mercury pollution standards avoid up to 11,000 premature deaths, along with heart attacks, asthma attacks and brain damage to infants and children exposed to mercury in the womb. In one of the most famous lines in the Talmud our ancient rabbis also discuss cost-benefit analysis, but their conclusion is […]

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Hakhel Spotlight: Hashomer Hatzair USA

Hello from Hashomer Hatzair USA! We are a socialist zionist youth movement that has a sleepaway camp in the summer and year-round activities for our kenim (branches). We are excited to be here as first time members in the Hakhel community! We use experiential and collaborative education as a tool to further social justice and peace. Over the past year or so, we have begun a process for building a life movement for our bogrim (movement members that are college-aged and older). People have started thinking about what it would really look like to live their lives communally and actualize their ideals. As a result we have organized and run a handful of seminars around the topics of economics and allyship, and have built a framework to continue the learning process. This new chapter of our movement holds strong roots and is making steady progress. We are looking forward to having a special seminar in Israel to help us learn from communities successful in hagshama (self-realization), and to learn more about our relationship to Israel-Palestine. Additionally, a hub of bogrimot will be starting to live communally next year, and will host cultural gatherings and learning events. It is exciting to […]

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Hazon Detroit: Leaping Towards Connection

Dear Friends, We are now firmly in the month of February, a 28 day month in most years, that becomes 29 days in years that are multiples of four. Of course, this phenomenon is known as a “leap year.” And while 2019 is not a leap year in the Gregorian calendar, it is in the Hebrew calendar. Seven times every 19 years, the Hebrew calendar adds an extra month, known as Adar rishon (the first Adar), that precedes the standard Adar (which becomes Adar sheni, or the second Adar). Thus, Adar, the month that brings with it increased joy and the popular holiday of Purim, gets doubled up for double the joy over double the days. But why all the complicated math? Why do we have leap years in the first place? According to Wikipedia: “A leap year (also known as an intercalary year or bissextile year) is a calendar year containing…in the case of the Hebrew lunisolar calendar, a month added to keep the calendar year synchronized with the astronomical or seasonal year. Because seasons and astronomical events do not repeat in a whole number of days, calendars that have the same number of days in each year drift over time with respect to the event that the […]

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Hazon Detroit: Growth Ring Blessings

Dear Friends, At sunset this Sunday, January 20th, we will usher  in Tu B’Shvat, one of the four new years on the Jewish calendar. Just like our secular calendar has multiple year cycles—think calendar year, fiscal year, school year—so too, our Jewish calendar has multiple year cycles: birth of the world, birth of the Jewish people, the first of Elul, and Tu B’Shvat. Tu B’Shvat, named for its calendrical date – the 15th of Shvat – celebrates the birthday of the trees. Just like our birthdays mark a year of growth for us, in a symbolic way, Tu B’Shvat serves the same purpose for trees, marking another year of their growth. Regardless of when during the year a particular tree was planted in ancient times, its first birthday was always tallied on its first Tu B’Shvat. In this way, Tu B’Shvat might be considered the day when a tree symbolically forms its next ring. We have reached the cold months of winter when, like us, trees actually slow down for a period of internal hibernation. In cold winters, growth within a tree slows to a slogging crawl, before picking back up again when the temperatures rise. In fact, it is […]

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