fbpx

Author Archive | Hannah Elovitz

trees image sq

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 […]

Continue Reading
amsterdam 2 sq

Hakhel Spotlight: Kehila Ivrit Amsterdam

Kehila was established by Israelis living in the Netherlands who teamed up to create a joint framework for cultural, social, and educational activities in the Hebrew language. Kehila is based on its members’ active participation and involvement in the spirit of pluralism and cooperation. Indeed, in the context of intentional communities, this is very obvious to expect people to give a hand and carry out all community needs and ventures, but, still this community is revolutionary for many of the members. Fans of community life see the power of devotion so clearly. Volunteering, co-creating is so basic. And yet, there are so many people out there who fear this level of intimacy, who rarely dare to step in a social circle. It is mainly fear which holds people back from attaching, not ideology. And there you go, a group of Israeli parents who can’t stand aloneness any more and feel the need of warmth and tribal power as part of their parenthood. They live the ultimate urban life Amsterdam has to offer, they are not used to being part of anything. For many of them, this step was confronting and scary. Once you feel how much love and warmth melt […]

Continue Reading
fruits and vegetables

Hazon Perspective: Farm Bill Update

Our tradition teaches us to open up the corners of our harvest through pe’ah and to attune ourselves to the needs of land for rest and restoration through shmita. We at Hazon are therefore greatly relieved that the recently passed Farm Bill maintains food assistance access for those in need rather than imposing draconian work requirements and that it preserves programs that incentivize farmers to reduce erosion and increase soil carbon. The shift to an incoming house of representatives that is more committed to preserving food assistance and conservation funding after the 2018 midterm elections pressured the current congress to pass a farm bill that is more of a status quo than the conservation-slashing, poverty-worsening revamp that many in the house pushed for this summer. Thanks to high voter turnout in November and a huge wave of phone calls to our representatives from farmers and eaters alike, small but crucial programs will be funded rather than eliminated including organic research, the local agriculture market program, and supports for beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers. Another huge win is that, despite a few concessions to the timber industry, the push toward legalizing expanded clear cutting was not included in the bill. And yet the relief […]

Continue Reading
hakehilla

Hakhel Spotlight: The Kehilla in South Korea

Hakehillah is a Jewish cultural community focused on welcoming and including all who wish to celebrate Jewish tradition, religion, and culture. There aren’t many Jews in South Korea, and we want to make everyone feel like they have a family here, whether they’re a “good Jew” or “bad Jew.” We’re family. Using photos of Korea taken by our members from throughout the year, we’ve produced a calendar which includes both Korean and Jewish holidays from September 2018 to October 2019, or in other words the Jewish year 5779. If you would be interested in supporting our community in a small way, the calendar can be ordered here. The suggested donation is $35, and it can be shipped to most countries. The calendars were designed by Sarah Gavin of www.coffeecatskimchi.com who is also a core Kehilla member.   Hakehillah is a Hakhel community. Learn more about Hakhel – the first-of-its-kind Jewish Intentional Communities Incubator

Continue Reading
Hakhel (25) sq

Hakhel Spotlight: Urban Moshav Boston

On our Hakhel tour of intentional communities last month, our small group bonded quickly. With representatives from Baltimore, Boston, New York, Philadelphia – as well as Mexico, Ukraine, and Russia – we easily bridged our linguistic and cultural differences (everyone speaks some English and everyone enjoys good food). At Degania, the first kibbutz, founded in 1909, we had the opportunity to speak with Muki Tzur, one of the foremost leaders and historians of the kibbutz movement. Now in his 80s, Muki spoke with a deeply grounded knowledge and wisdom about what it means for Degania to now be entering its 6th generation. He also explained how the “poison of nostalgia” freezes the past into a false ideal, and he drew the distinction between testament and heritage: testament is an approach to the past that says “this is the way things were and must be, therefore I will tell you what to do”, while heritage says “I trust you to look at our shared past, and decide what to keep and adapt for your future.” The gifts history has to offer are insights into how people of the past thought about the future; across time, people are always thinking about the […]

Continue Reading
pittsburgh sq

Hakhel Spotlight: November Newsletter Message

Dear friends, “There were shots in a synagogue in Pittsburgh,” my hosts in New York informed me last Saturday night when I returned from a wonderful Shabbat with UWS Jews, a community of young Jews in New York, who are part of the 2018 cohort of Hakhel. “There are 11 dead, an anti-Semitic murderer.” In the second before the shock hit me, I still had time to think about the blessing of Shabbat that cuts us off from the world for a moment and enables us to gather as a community, and even to postpone such bitter news for a few more hours. On Monday, I was supposed to continue to Canada for meetings with other communities, but I quickly concluded that it would not make sense to continue with the schedule as if nothing had happened: I canceled the meetings, organized what I needed and arrived in Pittsburgh after a six hours drive from New York. “You may have gotten used to such things in Israel,” Dafna told me, “but you just live in a constant sense of anxiety.” I met Dafna after I arrived at Pittsburgh’s JCC. All attempts to contact acquaintances and colleagues in Pittsburgh in advance […]

Continue Reading
nate_degroot

Hazon Detroit at Interfaith Justice Speak-Out

Hazon Detroit is proud to have stood alongside so many powerful faith leaders on November 1, 2018 at the Islamic House of Wisdom in Dearborn to denounce white nationalism, show support for the Jewish community, and affirm solidarity for all those who are targets of hate. Praying for a time when these gatherings might be prompted not by hate, but only by love. To see more from the speak-out, click here or here, and read Rabbi Nate DeGroot’s full remarks below.   Thank you Imam Elahi and the Islamic House of Wisdom for having me here today. I wish I was here for a different reason – but we’re alive in this moment – And so I am grateful to be here with you this afternoon in heartbreak and solidarity And I am humbled to be up here, amongst such respected colleagues and fellow travelers. — I was asked today to speak on how the Jewish community is feeling in this moment, And I will do my best to articulate some of that. But capturing the sentiments of an entire people is an impossible task – Since I can only truly speak to how I am feeling, And even that […]

Continue Reading
hazon_seal_print_edited

Hazon Seal of Sustainability: Hazon Seal @ Chicago

Application is now closed.  However! – please let us know if you have interest in joining so we can keep you posted when space opens up!  Click HERE for the inquiry form!  —————– We are very excited to open up our Chicagoland adventure and have Chicago institutions join the Hazon Seal of Sustainability. The application is designed to guide you on your first step, brainstorming and thinking about your vision for your future Green Team. Note: The more people you include in this process, the better. People will feel more committed to participate and implement something they helped design, right? Generous support by the Jewish United Fund (JUF) allows us to support (waive participation fee and provide mini-grants) to six organizations! We encourage you to participate even if you will not receive funding this year. Most of our Hazon Seal sites (several dozens across the country) found it valuable and we know you will, too! See cost for participation on the Hazon Seal webpage, under FAQ. With that said, payment should not be a barrier to participation so please contact us if this is a concern and we can discuss. Dates to save: Hazon @ Chicago Launch Brunch! Launching the Chicago Hazon Seal cohort with Hazon visionary and CEO Nigel Savage. Friday, […]

Continue Reading
starry night sq

Turning Yom Kippur into Action

Dear friends — If you’re like me, you probably spent some of your Yom Kippur last week thinking about how to better live up to your ideals — how to be kinder, more just, more in touch with the sacred. Well, here’s an advertisement for how to put that resolution into practice. Having spent twenty-five years exploring spirituality, therapy, meditation, medication, self-help, human potential, sacred sexuality, entheogens, and a dozen or so paths to the holy, I think that meditation retreat has been the single most effective tool in the never-finished project of becoming more alive, more awake, and more invested in pursuing justice. I’m sure this isn’t true for everyone, but it has definitely been true for me and for many of the “spiritual friends” and teachers who have inspired me along the way. In my experience, no awesome spiritual state, no study, and no political action can transform the mind and heart the way that meditation does — and no amount of daily meditation can do the work of a multi-day meditation retreat. That’s true whether you’re suffering and looking for healing, or comfortable and interested in doing more with your one, precious life. Contemplative neuroscience has now […]

Continue Reading

Hakhel Spotlight: FED, Harlem

FED – an intentional community based in Harlem, NYC – feeds you with delicious food, inspirational art and ideas, and the creative energy of others you find here. For the first time, this year FED will be offering services and meals for the Jewish High Holidays, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. There is a universal need for spiritual experiences, for a sense of community and belonging. FED offers a platform for creativity and dialogue where those from a variety of backgrounds feel welcome and included. It so happens that 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 to me what Judaism – and FED – is all about. For Rosh Hashanah on September 9-11, Hadar Cohen will lead us in interactive services incorporating sound and movement, and two delicious dinners will mark the start of the Jewish New Year. For Yom Kippur, we are hosting a service on September 18 at 7pm called Kol Nidre, perhaps the most dramatic, significant and powerful service in the Jewish calendar, which launches the Day of Atonement. In a participatory music theatre take on the Jewish ritual, […]

Continue Reading