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Author Archive | Hazon

leah palmer

Hakhel Blog: Leah Palmer

Several years ago, I was in shul on the morning of Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) and the Rabbi stood up to speak. They opened with: “What is the difference between the Jewish New Year on Rosh Hashanah, and the New Year’s Eve on the 31st of December?” This was apparently the opening to a Jewish joke, but I never caught the punchline because the question itself landed me deep in thought. On both occasions, we reflect on the year gone by, gather with friends or family, overindulge and promise that next year will be better. In my eyes, the crucial difference is that on the 31st of December, we promise ourselves to do better, to make better decisions, to think about others, whatever it might be. On Rosh Hashanah, we promise these things to someone who will hold us accountable. And I think that is a great thing. The days after Rosh Hashanah are Judaism’s response to the January ritual of taking out a gym membership only to never actually rock up. To buying all the gear for starting a new hobby, but never getting around to taking it out of the box. To buying a bespoke planner […]

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Rosh HaShanah for Animals by Rabbi Aaron Philmus

Rosh Chodesh Elul, 5779 By Rabbi Aaron Philmus Temple Torat Yisrael, Rhode Island Sheep, goats, cows, camels and donkeys… Domesticated animals get almost as much air-time in the Torah as people do, yet we so rarely reflect on our relationship with them. We may have a soft spot for dogs and cats, but what about the animals that feed us and clothe us every day? What about the animals that give us parchment for Torah, wool for Tallit, and skin for tefillin? The Mishna tells us that along with Rosh Hashanah for the people and the trees, there is also a New Year for the tithing of animals on the 1st of Elul called Rosh HaShanah La-Behemah. Elul is also a time of cheshbon hanefesh (accounting of the soul), so when we hear the blast of the ram’s horn, let us attune ourselves to the cries of the animals who cannot advocate for their own welfare. As I type these words, my goats are crying out for me to take them on a walk in the woods. I can hear my chickens alarming, “buk buk buk buh-GAHK!” When I look out the window, there is a mob of crows dive-bombing […]

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Inner and Outer Climate Change by Rabbi Robin Damsky

Earth Etudes 2019 Rosh Chodesh Elul, 5779 By Rabbi Robin Damsky inthegardens.org Durham, NC It’s been a year of change. Not just a move, but a move to a new climate zone and a very new culture. I moved from outside Chicago to Durham, NC – the South. The trees here are glorious – pines everywhere, wisteria in April blooming in the wild, crepe myrtle in vivid fuchsia and pale pastels just now. It’s hot. Average days are in the 90s and one can almost swim in the humidity. A long growing season brought daffodils in February, while I just set my second planting of pole beans. I’ve been graced by many a critter – my welcome basket was in the form of a 10-inch turtle on my front steps. I see many toads, frogs, and praying mantises. The hawk that sits in my front tree visits regularly; as do so many species of birds that I hear and see living within the forest in my backyard. In a Dorothy moment, I would say to Toto: “We are definitely not in Kansas (Chicago) anymore.” Being in this location with so much nature around me is a balm down deep. Yet […]

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Getting in Sync with the Treasure of Elul by Rabbi Ora Weiss

Rosh Chodesh Elul, 5779 By Rabbi Ora Weiss Restorative Judaism Boston, MA One of the great gifts of Judaism is its exquisite ability to teach us to tune in and use the energy of each month. The energy of Elul offers us unique support. But, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page when we speak of energy – so, a short explanation: Everything – and I mean everything – is energy. Just in different forms, and different frequencies. When I say frequency, it is that everything is vibrating at different rates. The different forms of energy include matter – such as the earth (remember E=mc2? – matter is just densed-down energy), light, humans and thoughts. Time itself is not homogeneous, but rather flows with different qualities of energy, different frequencies, at different times. Judaism recognizes that each month has different energies and qualities. The Bnei Yissaschar notes that chodesh – month – can be understood as chidush – renewal, (or, even entirely new!) That is, something new comes into being with each month, different flows of energy from God given to us to affect change and growth. Elul has a very special energy: it gifts us with a […]

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Eikev and the Seven Species | D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

by Sarah Rockford, JOFEE Fellow Cohort 4, Maine Jewish Food Network at Colby College Center for Small Town Jewish Life – Waterville, ME Parshat Eikev Fourteen years ago I read from parshat Eikev as a bat mitzvah. As I stood on the bimah and chanted my way through the aliyot, I reflected briefly that the eleventh-hour cramming I’d done over the past hours seemed to be paying off, but reading the final aliyah my concentration waivered, and I lost my place in the scroll. I continued to chant the Hebrew words I’d memorized while theatrically moving the lost yad along the rows of letters on the parchment. When I ran out of words in my head I stopped chanting and shot a desperate look at the rabbi—hoping he would reorient me so I could finish the portion. Our eyes met, he smiled, and congratulated me. I’d finished the aliyah from memory without realizing, and no one was the wiser for my mistake. Relieved and full of adrenaline I started to cry as the congregation began to sing Siman Tov U’Mazal Tov. I believe everyone thought I was having a profound spiritual moment, but these were tears of relief. I was just happy the […]

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Summer Feature – Teva Educators: Where Are They Now?

As we begin approaching Teva’s 25th Anniversary, we will be spending the summer months featuring former Teva Educators who were once Teva students. They are from different Teva seasons and have different stories, experiences and memories. Enjoy the walk down memory lane with us! Jacob Chatinover came to Teva in 2001 as a student with Solomon Schechter West Hartford. He was an educator in the Fall of 2012 and 2015, and the Spring of 2013 and 2014, and a Topsy-Turvy Bus summer educator in 2014 and 2015. In 2015, he was a full-year-round educator, including “Senior Educator” in the fall and planner/Lead Educator of the bus tour that year. Jacob is on his way to Rabbinical School. What do you remember about Teva as a kid? Which moments/memories/stories stand out? I remember the night hike. I remember walking as it started raining. Our Morei Derech (trail educator) asked if anyone knew a blessing to say for the rain, and I at the time was reading the whole siddur. So I brought out tefillat geshem (rain prayer), which is normally for Shmini Atseret, and we said that in English as it rained. I remember Decomposition. I remember praying outside for the […]

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Hazon Detroit: Food Festival This Sunday!

Dear Friends, This Sunday, we will gather as a Jewish community for the 4th Annual Hazon Michigan Jewish Food Festival – the largest event annually in the Michigan Jewish community. This event, which takes place at Eastern Market in Detroit from 11am-4pm, is truly one-of-a kind. It spans geography, age, race, interest, denomination, and so much more. For four years running now, we have been able to bring a message of sustainability and food justice to the metro Detroit Jewish and city-based community, while inspiring a reconnection with the city, with one another, with the food we eat, and with the earth itself. Jewish tradition is full of references to food. In the Torah, food is part of our service to God. Growing it is how we make an income and harvesting it is cause for celebration. Throughout the ages, as Jews have migrated from place to place, food has followed us. And at the same time, we have followed food, adapting and evolving our culinary traditions to intertwine with the surrounding communities wherever we’ve dwelt. And today, food is central to our family holidays, our contributions to popular culture, and our interaction with the world around us, serving as […]

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Summer Feature – Teva Educators: Where Are They Now?

As we begin approaching Teva’s 25th Anniversary, we will be spending the summer months featuring former Teva Educators who were once Teva students. They are from different Teva seasons and have different stories, experiences and memories. Enjoy the walk down memory lane with us! Noah Slovin came to Teva in 1998 as a student with Solomon Schechter Day School of Worcester and came back as a Teva educator in the Fall of 2010. Noah is now working for a consulting company as a Planner focusing on helping communities prepare for natural disasters. What do you remember about Teva as a student? Which moments/memories/stories stand out? 1. I remember singing “The River is Flowing” every evening, and one of the educators told us to think about it every day and try to figure out what it meant. I think I figured it out on the last day but then I wasn’t called on so never got to prove myself. 2. I remember being led to the overlook in a blindfolded trustwalk line – we walked in a line for a bit, then stopped, and our Morah Derech (trail teacher) led us one at a time to stand in a spot, and […]

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Recipe: Apple Honey Bundt Cake

Want a bigger taste?  Join us at the Rosh Hashanah Retreat! Apple Honey Bundt Cake This recipe & photo come from Allrecipes.com Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 55 minutes Total time: 1 hour and 15 minutes Servings: 12 pieces Ingredients 1 cup white sugar 1 cup vegetable oil 2 eggs 3/4 cup honey 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice 3 apples – peeled, cored and shredded 3/4 cup chopped walnuts Instructions Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).  Grease and flour a 9-inch Bundt pan or 2 loaf pans. In a large bowl, stir together the sugar and oil. Beat in the eggs until light, then stir in the honey and vanilla.  Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and allspice; stir into the batter just until moistened.  Fold in the apples and nuts.  Transfer batter to prepared pan or pans. Note: If you’re baking the cake in loaf pans, reduce baking time to 45 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center of each pan comes out clean. Bake Bundt […]

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Sustainable Vacation Tips

by Ariel Marantz and Rebecca Silver Summer is vacation time! Here are some tips to think about when planning your next vacation. Traveling: Are there ways that you can travel without flying? Try to use public transportation, including buses or trains, as much as possible. If you must fly, travel non-stop, choose coach seating, and pack lightly. Click here to find out why, and explore green airports and airlines. Bring your own plane snacks in reusable containers to avoid the plastic-wrapped meals!  Pack reusable water bottles, reusable coffee cups, containers, and silverware with you before you go.  Secure any travel liquids in silicone reusable bags instead of plastic – you can find them here or by going on stasher’s website. Say Tefilat Haderech (traveler’s prayer), have fun, and appreciate the nature around you! Hotels: If staying in a hotel, bring your own shampoo, conditioner, and soap bars to avoid using the provided plastic containers Be sure to not throw your towels on the floor unless they truly need washing Request that your bed sheets not be washed each night (washing unnatural materials causes microplastic sheds!) Be mindful of turning off lights when leaving the room, and try to use the […]

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Hakhel Spotlight: Zooz, Melbourne

Zooz is a community in Melbourne, Australia which is run by for and young Jewish adults, aiming to provide these individuals with a framework for meaningful engagement with Judaism, Israel, and the wider community. Zooz members meet weekly on Wednesday nights to engage with their Jewish identity and connect with like-minded people. This is achieved through peer-run sessions and community leaders lending their time to teach, inspire, and encourage the next generation of young Jewish people. Zooz also has a shul where services are run every Friday night and on chagim. The Zooz shul is highly regarded in the community as a place of meaningful tefillah (prayer) and beautiful singing. Zooz Members are constantly involved in leadership within a range of Jewish schools in the community, helping out as madrichim on camps and as part of other programs. Zooz also hosts a range of communal events throughout the year, most notably their famous Tikkun Leil Shavuot, which brings hundreds of people together in community and is a place for learning. With a strong core leadership, good governance, and proud members Zooz is very excited for what the future holds. We plan to increase our reach in the community and hope […]

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Summer Feature – Teva Educators: Where Are They Now?

As we begin approaching Teva’s 25th Anniversary, we will be spending the summer months featuring former Teva Educators who were once Teva students. They are from different Teva seasons and have different stories, experiences and memories. Enjoy the walk down memory lane with us! Aliza Hertzmark came to Teva in 2000 as a student with Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville, MD and came back to be a Teva educator in the Fall of 2009. Aliza currently works as a civil engineer in Baltimore, MD. What do you remember about Teva as a student? Which moments/memories/stories stand out? I remember singing the psolet song. After about two days of steadily declining psolet weight, the weight of the psolet bucket shot up on the third day. Someone on staff (either Teva or from our school) tried to say that the scale was broken. I also remember sitting by the pool pavilion as my kvutza (group) discussed what change each of us was going to do in order to earn our earth bead. What do you think Teva taught you as a young person? Teva inspired me to feel that one small act of change could make a difference. When you grew up […]

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Summer Feature – Teva Educators: Where Are They Now?

As we begin approaching Teva’s 25th Anniversary, we will be spending the summer months featuring former Teva Educators who were once Teva students. They are from different Teva seasons and have different stories, experiences and memories. Enjoy the walk down memory lane with us! Sabrina Shapiro came to Teva in 1998 as a student with Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School and came back to be a Teva educator in 2011. What do you remember about Teva as a student? Which moments/memories/stories stand out? The best part about Teva, for me, was that I was with all my school friends, learning, but in a place I’d much rather be, the forest.  I remember Salamander Tag, “fox walking” and singing and dancing really loudly in the cafeteria. What do you think Teva taught you as a young person? It wasn’t so much what I was taught, but just having a great time in nature was so valuable to me. When you grew up and thought about Teva, before you came back to be an educator, what sentence would you have used to describe it? The best time at school ever because we didn’t have to sit down and (be quiet) for […]

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Summer Feature – Teva Educators: “Where are they now?”

As we begin approaching Teva’s 25th Anniversary, we will be spending the summer months featuring former Teva Educators who were once Teva students. They are from different Teva seasons and have different stories, experiences and memories. Enjoy the walk down memory lane with us! Neshama Sonnenschein came to Teva as a student with Solomon Schechter School of Manhattan in the 4th grade. She returned as a Teva educator for the Fall 2017 and 2018 seasons and is currently the Teva Education Coordinator. Neshama, left, as the worm during Resource Revolution What do you remember about Teva as a student? Which moments/memories/stories stand out? I have a few memories that stand out to me from being a Teva Kid. The first is that I took a packet of butter one morning and realized that I didn’t like it, so I went to an educator and asked what to do with it. They patiently, and without judgement answered that the butter can be scraped off from the packaging and put into the psolet bucket and the packing could go in the trash. I remember thinking that my question and action had value, even if I was adding to our psolet for that meal. The […]

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Harvesting and Baking our Heritage | D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

by Hannah Fine – Hazon Detroit Parshat Shelach In parshat Shelach, Moses sent twelve spies to scout out the land of Canaan and report back to the Israelites. All of the spies returned with the same objective report. It was a land of milk and honey brimming with fruit and sustenance. There were grapes, and figs, and pomegranates which they even brought back to show Moses and the Israelites. The spies also reported that the inhabitants of the land were mighty and intimidating. While all twelve spies saw the same land and shared the same observations, they were split between two opposing conclusions. Ten of the spies were convinced that the formidability of the inhabitants meant certain demise for the Israelites. Doom was a foregone conclusion so it was not even worth trying. The other two spies, Caleb and Joshua, had a different interpretation. They were confident that, despite the strength of the peoples and societies in Canaan, the Israelites could overcome it. Caleb and Joshua contended that the greatness of the Promised Land was worth the challenge.  At Hazon Detroit, we are working to overcome a formidable structure that exists in our land: the lopsided nature Michigan’s grain industry. […]

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