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Author Archive | Hazon

Rider Spotlight: Chelsea Taxman

At any given rest stop, you’ll see riders splayed out on mats, rehydrating and munching on sweet and salty snacks–refueling, you might say. Look around, and you can literally see exhaustion…until suddenly, on the side, there’s a young woman hula hooping with just as much skill and ease as she rides a bike. Today we were both part of the Tzofim group, riding 70 miles (some of us averaging 14 mph!) from Ashkelon to Mashabei Sade in the northern Negev. Meet Chelsea! Tell us about yourself. I am a recent graduate of the Camassia Institute for Sustainable Communities where I received my Permaculture Design Certification.  Currently I am consulting in my hometown of Omaha, Nebraska to provide the permaculture philosophy, dance, and nonviolent communication.  I am also a singer/songwriter and brand new cyclist.  The Israel Ride is my first multi-day ride! (more…)

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Who are the Israel Riders Anyway?

A big part of this ride is the people.  To be exact, we are 114 riders, a crew of alumni from the Arava Institute, mechanics, and incredible staff members from Hazon and the Arava Institute. Riders come from four countries–the US, Australia, Israel, and Canada 47 of the group are Israel Ride Alumni…while for 61 others, this is their first Hazon event We range in age from 12 to 74–with two young men celebrating their bar mitzvahs and three individuals older than 70 We are 83 men and 39 women 11 riders have never been to Israel before (more…)

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104 Kilometers Later…

Our journey began this morning at 6 am with the traditional Hazon Ride send-off of a shofar blast. 114 of us pedaled out of the parking lot of our hotel and through the not-quite-empty-enough streets of Jerusalem, passing important government buildings, The Israel Museum, and many confused Israelis. After speeding down some incredible downhills, we made it to our first pit stop, where two of our educators on the trip, Dr. Alon Tal, founder of the Arava Institute, and Bill Slott, a member of Kibbutz Ketura, shared stories of Jerusalem’s past and present with us. Bill explained that our journey from Jerusalem to Ashkelon was one between two ancient capitals–Jerusalem, the capital of the Israelites, and Ashkelon, the capital of the Philistines. Along the way would be the site of one of the most famous biblical stories, that of David and Goliath’s battle (Ha’Ela Valley). Talk about some old pavement…Alon told us of the city of Jerusalem’s goal to be the “cycling capital of Israel,” and the progress it has made on its light rail system. (more…)

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Eating for Cycling, Cycling for Eating

The Israel Ride is a partnership between The Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, an environmental studies program in Israel, and Hazon, America’s largest Jewish environmental organization. Hazon does a ton of work around “food issues,” from our annual Food Conference to our network more than forty Community Supported Agriculture sites across North America–basically anywhere that Judaism and food intersect (which is practically everywhere), we talk about it. So, I would be remiss not to talk about my food experience in Israel so far. (more…)

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Morning in the Old City

The Western Wall is the remnant of Solomon’s Temple rebuilt by Herod before the exile in 70 C.E. It forms the edge of the Temple Mount – the site on which Jews believe Abraham was tested by God in the story of the sacrifice of Isaac, and on which was the Holy of Holies – the inner-most sanctuary of the Temple, entered only once a year, on Yom Kippur, and only by the High Priest.

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Bill Clinton, Fonzie, and me

The trip over was relatively easy. Two highlights include spotting Henry Winkler in the international terminal in Atlanta (a good omen, right?) and seeing cops biking around the airport. I was tempted to ask if I could take a spin–a few more training miles wouldn’t hurt, especially with the amount of rain we’ve had in NYC recently–but resisted.

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Arrival In Israel

We arrived three and a half weeks ago and have mostly settled in, aside from a few outstanding details about my study at Hebrew U’s beit midrash program. I’ve done a few training rides around Jerusalem, in between classes and things. A new friend here (Oren Hirsch, for those who know him) was kind enough to give me a Googlemap with several Jerusalem bike routes marked out on it.

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Of Floods and Sea Change: The Story of Noah and the 10/10/10 Day to Celebrate Climate Solutions

October 6, 2010 By Jessica Haller, CIO for Hazon and Director of the Jewish Climate Change Campaign The vendor is calling, offering his hot roasted peanuts.  The time is over 5000 years ago, and the place is central Mesopotamia. Noah’s contemporaries smell the peanuts and their mouths water.  As they walk by, each takes a peanut, just one, just to taste.  They aren’t really stealing, after all, it’s just a peanut.  They continue to walk and as they pass the orchard, the just-ripe fruits also call to them, and they take an apple, just one, not really stealing.  At the grain store, a few grains, just a taste. After a few days the peanut vendor is left with hulls, the orchard owner with bare trees. Years of not really stealing a little, a taste, a bite, and the erosion of morals is so great, according to Midrash, that God decides to start over. (more…)

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10/10/10 Global Work Party

What Would Noah Do? Shabbat Parshat Noah and A Global Climate Change Campaign (10/9 – 10/10)

        10/10/10 is a globally acknowledged date to help bring awareness to the significance of climate change.  It is all too appropriate that Shabbat Noah falls out on the same weekend.  Our Shabbat and day of action is in participation with the 350.org campaign, an international effort that’s building a movement to unite the world around solutions to the climate crisis. August 23, 2010 By Dr. Mirele Goldsmith, environmental psychologist and sustainability consultant. Noah was 600 years old when God told him to build the ark.  How the hell did he do it? We really don’t know.  The Torah doesn’t say how Noah built the ark.  It just says that God told Noah he had 7 days to get it done.  And he did. What’s the message for us today?  Why have we chosen the Shabbat when we read the story of Noah as the day to commit ourselves to take action on climate change?   Because if Noah could do it, so can we. (more…)

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Greening Mecca

Jessica Haller – CIO and Director of The Jewish Climate Campaign I’m in Bath. Say it like an Englishman, not like you’re in the shower. Baaath. Six months after Hazon attended the celebration of religions at Windsor Castle, with their 7-year plans to address climate change, I returned to England to take part in the steering committee for the Green Pilgrim Cities program, sponsored by ARC (Alliance of Religions and Conservation) and the United Nations Development Program. The committee was a reunion of old-new friends from the celebration at Windsor castle, including Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem Naomi Tzur, and representatives of pilgrimage cities and religions from across the globe. The idea, hatched at Windsor, was to unite pilgrim destinations around the world in addressing the ever-present problem of pilgrims leaving a mess in their wake.  100 million water bottles were left on the road and in the rubbish on the Hajj (the Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca) in 2008. 100 million.  That’s a lot of plastic, a lot of oil, a lot of bottles water, and a lot of money spent on a resource that should be free. The stories cross religions and regions. (more…)

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Hazon Helps Bring Protected Bike Lanes to New York’s Upper West Side

A special report by Mara Friedman, Hazon Advocacy Intern Congratulations to the Upper West Side Community Board on a close 24-19 vote in favor of creating protected bike lanes on Columbus Avenue between 96th-77th street! The auditorium was packed with supporters sporting neon stickers that “Protected Bike Lanes Protect Everyone.” Among the speakers testifying were actor Matthew Modine, and New York Times columnist Randy Cohen, who spoke out in favor of the protected lanes. About a dozen people from Hazon were at the meeting, including Executive Director, Nigel Savage, who spoke on behalf of the Jewish community. Nigel extolled the social justice and environmental impact such bike lanes would have, not to mention the safety benefits. He spoke of the Jewish community’s interest in civil rights movements of the past, driving home the idea that protected bike lanes are not just a fringe issue but that they would be a positive addition to the Upper West Side (UWS) for all its residents. Additionally, Nigel reminded the board that Hazon has collected over 400 signatures of residents and letters of support from over a dozen kosher businesses and synagogues on the UWS. (more…)

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Shmita & the Unified Religious Personality

Hazon, together with the Jewish Farm School, invite you to be a part of the Shmita Project, whose purpose is to consider the role of Shmita, the Sabbatical year, in our lives. Shmita Project encourages people to do that in two ways: through using the laws and values of Shmita as the conceptual framework for creating a more sustainable Jewish community and a more sustainable world. Second, to encourage practical application of Shmita laws among individuals and communities. In honor of this week’s Torah portion which discusses the laws of Shmita, I would like to explore some of the themes behind the laws. There are three things which the Torah calls “Shabbat Shabbaton.” The first is Shabbat itself, the second is Yom Kippur, and the third is Shmittah. These three concepts: Shabbat, Yom Kippur and Shmittah, can be seen as pathways to the unification of the spiritual/religious personality. On an ordinary weekday it is all too easy to maintain the distance between our spiritual life and what we might mistakenly consider our ‘secular life.’ We are caught up in the decidedly non-spiritual routine of the workplace, the highway, and the shopping mall. On Shabbat however, we are granted a sanctuary […]

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Chanukah Miracles and Climate Change

By Daniel Bloom, Hazon Program Associate Traditionally on Chanukah we celebrate the curious episode of a jug of oil, enough for one day, miraculously burning for eight days. The rabbis debated the exact nature of the miracle. Amongst the many possibilities, one opinion suggests that the oil was divided into eighths, each of which burned for an entire day. Another opinion claims that after filling the menorah on each of the first seven nights, the jug remained full. It is apt that we will be thinking about burning oil when the world’s leaders meet in the coming days for the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. The Conference represents the best opportunity so far for the community of nations to tackle the issue of climate change on a global scale and discuss concrete plans and targets for the reduction of greenhouse emissions. Nonetheless, there is reason to be skeptical. First, we may assume that the leaders of the world’s nations lack the political will to commit to serious change, and second, that even if leaders were to make a commitment, a top-down nation-state driven campaign would have little impact in changing global emission patterns. These two claims are undoubtedly interrelated. […]

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2009 Fall Israel Ride: Reports from the Field

Day Six: Monday, November 9 Kibbutz Ketura to Eilat David Eisenberg Eilat, Israel, on the red sea. We’ve biked just shy of 310 miles since leaving Tzfat, everyone one of them fantastic. Robert Rosenbaum – Kibbutz Ketura to Eilat – 47 miles. We started out our final day climbing over 38 miles to Mt Hizkiyanu. We had a well deserved lunch on top of the mountain, where you can see Israel, Jordan, Egypt and Saudia Arabia. We then decended 5 miles (very steep) into Eliat. Relaxed at the Red Sea. Our closing banquet is this evening. Don’t want this to end! (more…)

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