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Author Archive | Lisa Kaplan

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Personal Reflection: Hazon Food Conference

By Daphne Steinberg Can one’s life change in the course of three days? I think so. I wasn’t really sure what I’d signed up for when I registered for the 2018 Hazon Food Conference. But I’m confident that I didn’t expect to have the transformation/awakening I ended up having. In that short period spent at Isabella Freedman, I encountered a greater array of Jews than I ever have before, even having lived in Israel. White, black, and Hispanic Jews. Straight, gay, transgender, and non-binary Jews. Orthodox, conservative, reform, and reconstructionist; young, middle-aged, and elderly Jews. And any number of combinations thereof. It was eye-opening. Not that I didn’t think they *could* exist, I just wasn’t accustomed to thinking outside my box. The Jewish community is bigger and more diverse than I ever imagined. What touched me so deeply was the unique commitment each person there had to being Jewish and the respect they had for and support they gave to everyone else’s Jewish practice. That was summed up for me in an unforgettable way midway through the conference. On Friday morning, I went to the goat barn for a milking demo and “capriccino.” There I watched the young staff attend […]

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Hazon Seal Spotlight: Temple Solel (FL)

By Stephanie Jofe and Ariel Marantz For any questions or comments for Temple Solel, please reach out to us and we are happy to make the shidduch! Click here for the associated blog post with more resources for your institution! — Being that Temple Solel is located only a few miles from the ocean and many of our congregants live even closer than that, the issue of sea level rise and the health of our oceans is of existential importance to us. Therefore, many of Tikkun Olam Committee’s activities have focused on climate change, sea level rise and protecting the oceans. Toward that end, Temple Solel has:   Formed the Sea Level Rise Solutions Group, an interfaith organization that works to educate the community about sea level rise. Our major annual program is our King Tide Event where over 100 community members – including Temple Solel congregants, Broward College students, several local elementary school through high school students, local politicians and community members – come together during the King Tide to observe, measure and learn about the sea level rise in our community. We have also compiled a “how to” document for other synagogues (or any group) to hold a […]

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Recipe: Moroccan Charoset Balls for Passover

Moroccan Charoset Balls By Susan Barocas A typical Moroccan charoset recipe contains dates, raisins, local spices and various fruits finely ground together for unique blends. There is a tradition of rolling up haroset into balls that are delicious eaten alone or squished between two pieces of matzah at the seder, for a Passover breakfast or an anytime snack. Prep time: 15 min Cook time: none Yield: about 24 balls Ingredients 2 cups pitted dates (about 24 medium-sized) 6-7 dried figs, Black Mission or Smyrna 1 cup raisins, preferably golden 10-12 dried apricot halves 1 cup roughly chopped walnuts ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon or to taste Couple pinches allspice (optional) 1 to 2 tablespoons sweet red wine or grape juice ½-¾ cup almonds, finely ground (optional) Directions Using a food processor with the metal blade, pulse and grind the dates, figs, raisins, and apricots until coarsely chopped, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the walnuts, cinnamon, and allspice, if using, and pulse until mixture is finely chopped and blended together. Keep scraping down the sides as needed. It often will start to form a ball. Add just enough wine or grape juice to make the mixture stick together. Too much […]

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Recipe: Creamy Asparagus Soup for Passover

Creamy Asparagus Soup for Passover By Liz Rueven, Kosher Like Me This one pot vegan soup highlights the earliest spring crop during our joyous celebration of a new season. Feel free to make it in advance and store in the refrigerator for 2-3 days before serving. Serves 6-8. Ingredients 2 bunches asparagus, chopped (woody ends snapped and discarded) 1 small head cauliflower, rinsed and separated into florets 4 Tbsp olive oil 1 large red onion, peeled and chopped 4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped 6 cups vegetable broth 4 Tbsp fresh dill, chopped (reserve some for garnish) 1 tsp fresh thyme 2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped salt and pepper to taste 1 Tbsp lemon juice (or more to taste) ¼ cup chopped pistachios (optional) Directions In a large soup pot, heat olive oil until shimmering. Saute onions until soft. Add garlic and toss for 2-­3 minutes. Add asparagus and cauliflower to same pot. Stir and cook, covered, for 10 minutes. Add vegetable broth, bring to a boil and immediately reduce to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes or until cauliflower is tender. Remove from heat and stir in fresh herbs. Cool soup and puree to velvety texture with an immersion […]

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What is Tu B’Shvat and Why Do We Celebrate It?

by Nigel Savage Introduction to the new Hazon Tu B’Shvat Haggadah You can trace the recent history of  Tu B’Shvat seders like branches on a tree. The first one I went to, in London in 1986, was hosted by Bonna Haberman z”l and Shmuel Browns, mentors to me and many others in the renewal of Jewish ritual. I made my own seder the following  Tu B’Shvat, and I’ve made or attended one every year since. Seders, like trees, grow branches, and the branches sprout fruit in all directions. Historical Roots The roots of Tu B’Shvat stretch back to the beginnings of organized Jewish life. We learn from the Mishnah (Tractate Rosh Hashanah) that “the New Year of the Trees” divided the tithing of one year’s crop from the next – the end and start of the tax year, so to speak. After the expulsion from the Land of Israel, Tu B’Shvat went underground, like a seed, ungerminated, lying beneath the soil of Jewish thought and life. The expulsion from Spain in 1492 scattered Jews in many directions, and some landed in Tzfat. Like a forest fire that cracks open seeds dormant for decades, Tzfat’s kabbalists rediscovered Tu B’Shvat and began […]

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One Water, All Lives: Teva Over Greenland

By Mike Tintner 2018 Teva Educator On the plane flying from Moscow to New York City, returning from Israel, I had the chance to bless. After standing up for the first time in hours on the long flight I stumbled to the window, where I saw a spectacular sight. For as far as my eyes could see was white. Below me were the glaciers of Greenland I have seen so many times on the news and in documentaries. I met someone wearing a black kippah journeying from Israel to New York for his sister’s wedding. We talked about the blessing of beauty, Maaseh Breshit, and proceeded to say the full Hebrew blessing. I told the Orthodox appearing man about my work teaching the connection between Judaism and nature to kids at Teva. As I said these words I wondered what he must think. First: There is such a program? Second: What qualifies you to teach this? The truth is I was the one judging myself. I usually am proud of my work and sometimes I struggle to explain it. In my 107 seasons on Earth, I have witnessed a lot. I have been part of the movement of water protectors […]

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What is our theory of Jewish journeys?

Commencement speech by Nigel Savage Spertus Commencement, Sunday, December 9th 2018, 7th day of Chanukah, 5779 Watch the full video here. Nigel starts speaking at 00:36. Download a pdf transcript here. Dean, Keren, Hal, Tal, Elana, Rabbi Bauman, graduates, family members and friends, A huge mazal tov to all of today’s new graduates, and to your family members and teachers and everyone here today. Want to say a special word of thanks to Tal Rosen – you and your wife and your father have each been dear friends to me and partners to Hazon over many years. Thank you so much for who you are and all that you do. Now, first: some of you may have assumed that today is the first day in 25 years that I’ve worn a cap and gown. Not so: Liz and I dress like this every Sunday to watch Downton Abbey and then the Queen. But thank you so much for inviting me. These are unique programs, in a unique institution, and a unique city. I’m delighted and honored to be here, and especially since I’m from Manchester, the Midwest of England. It’s so important that Jewish leadership doesn’t just come from New […]

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Big Questions

By Nigel Savage Thursday, November 29, 2018 | 21 Kislev 5779 Dear All, In 2000, a small group of people believed (a) that we had to try to address environmental sustainability in the world, including some big big – BIG – challenges; (b) that the Jewish community needed to be part of this process, and by the way (c) if we do it right it will strengthen Jewish life as well. We’re called Hazon (Hebrew for “vision”) because it seemed apparent, even then, that if we were going to put our attention on big, intractable, and depressing challenges, we would need to do it with a sense of positive vision. The good news, 18 years on, is that those beliefs are still good beliefs (in a moral sense) and true, practically speaking. The impact of Hazon has grown very dramatically these last 18 years. We’re delivering 35,000 person-days a year of immersive experiences. We’re supporting the Israeli environmental movement in significant ways. In Boulder and Denver and the Detroit area, we’ve started to create and connect the synapses of Jewish sustainability, so that a wide range of initiatives around food and sustainability are integrating into Jewish life in profound ways. […]

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Hazon. Important.

by Nigel Savage November 15, 2018 | 8 Kislev 5779 Dear all, In the last two weeks we’ve had the shivahs for the people who were murdered in Pittsburgh, the post-Pittsburgh Shabbat, and then the midterms. As I write, California is on fire and a record number of lives have been lost. The Gaza/Israel border is tense and there too lives have been lost. And for historical context we’ve commemorated a century since the end of the Great War and 80 years since Kristallnacht, essentially the start of the next one. So it feels like everything is accelerating and many things are deteriorating. A fine time to enter the month of Kislev, this time of light in the darkness. I want to write especially today about Hazon itself – our failures and challenges, our vitality and our necessity, against this tumultuous backdrop. In a factual sense there is, as ever, much going on. We delivered our largest-ever Israel Ride (registration is now open for 2019, and remarkably 120 people have already registered. We sold out in the spring last year, so if you’re thinking about joining us, sign up soon!), plus a separate tour of Israel’s intentional communities for our […]

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Hakhel Israel trip – Day 1

Monday, November 5, 2018 By Gil Landau, Kfar B’ir, Washington DC Monday morning, we stood on a mountaintop overlooking the Kineret and the place where the earliest Kibbutzim were established. After hearing our guide James tell his moving personal story of coming to Israel and building an intentional community, we discussed each group’s goals, dreams for the future, and three questions we needed to answer during this trip to move our communities forward. Our community, KfarDC, an urban co-housing community to be built in downtown DC, discussed our goal of reducing loneliness caused by modern society, our dreams of creating a model for Jewish co-housing in America, and the need to learn about how to recruit serious volunteer and financing housing in a high-cost urban environment. We then went down the mountain and heard from Muki Tzur, a pioneer of the kibbutz movement. Muki explained that the core principle for building just communities is to balance freedom and equality. All theory aside, Muki stressed that we need to stop discussing and start building. This was a lesson that was reinforced when we visited the Hadar neighborhood of Haifa and the young intentional communities there. We met with Shai Felbnik, who […]

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Detroit Newsletter: Drops of water

Dear Friends, Last night at sundown, we concluded the Jewish lunar month of Cheshvan, the first month following High Holidays and the only month on our calendar without a Jewish holiday. For this reason, there’s a tradition dating back to the Mishnah(~200 CE) of calling this month Marcheshvan, meaning “bitter Cheshvan” (mar like marror on Passover). This bitterness seems to have been reflected all around us these last thirty days. Here in Michigan, the leaves started turning, and then falling. We turned our clocks back, and all of the sudden it’s dark by 5:30pm. There’s a chill in the air we haven’t felt since the final snow melted late last winter. And most bitter of all, we’ve faced numerous heartbreaking tragedies as a Jewish community and a country. However, there is another interpretation of mar that may provide us some clarity and hope – mar can also mean “drop,” as in a drop of water. During this month, mar is our prayer for rain and the month when Noah’s flood swept through the land. When read with this in mind, we begin to understand that we must act and live with a sense of sacred responsibility, adding our drop to the turbulent waters of this historical moment, trusting that with enough drops comes […]

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Hakhel Israel trip – Day 2

Tuesday, November 6, 2018 By Elie Benhiyoun Divorced with three kids and nowhere to go, Sara made the trek north to Afula. When she arrived, the first thing she did was get on a bike, find whatever odds and ends she could get her hands on and sell them at the shuk, the local market. She did this every day for a few years until she was finally able to have a stall of her own. Today, 35 years later, this impossibly slight woman with an indomitable spirit told us her story, some of us with tears in our eyes. The Afula Market, or “shuk” in Hebrew, was the heartbeat of this small northern town only a few decades ago. It was utterly vanquished by the neighboring department stores and has since become a hive of underworld activity. Thankfully, Sivan, an Afula local artist, didn’t see it that way. These dilapidated walls were the ideal canvas for art and the opportunity to empower creative teenagers in Afula. It now boasts a dazzling display of murals, making the shuk burst with life. We had the privilege to speak with Sivan and her friends Gili and Mor on our first stop after […]

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From then to now. And where next?

by Nigel Savage Thursday, October 18, 2018 | 9 Cheshvan 5779 Dear All, This is a blunter email than usual. For 18 years Hazon’s impact in the world has been partly predicated on not ‘banging people over the head,’ as I sometimes put it. We’re not here to make you feel bad. And not least because many of us aren’t feeling so great about the world right now, and thus don’t need anyone to make us feel worse. Pedagogically, personal or institutional change is not best effected by telling people what to do. And yet, that said, this is a moment in which I don’t have to tell you what to do. I just want to direct your gaze. I note that a significant number of Americans across the Florida panhandle are now homeless, or have wrecked houses, or are mourning the random deaths of loved ones. They could be you or me. They had the misfortune to find themselves in the way of a storm whose impact was greater than previous ones because of aggregate human behavior these last decades. And it happened just after the publication of the IPCC report, which makes absolutely clear that things are on track […]

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Hakhel Spotlight: Bible Raps

Bible Raps joined Hakhel in the summer of 2018, and looks to fuse the two rarely overlapping worlds of Hip Hop and Torah. Here is how they do it… Rappers and Rabbis: An Unreasonable Obsession With The Word By Matt Bar I know there is some obvious concern to be raised when bringing hip hop into sophisticated adult Torah study. I mean, the one is lewd, misogynistic, full of killers and concubines and the other is hip hop. Ba-dum-bum-CHING! Over the past 18 months, Bible Raps has been facilitating retreats, podcasts, and curriculum that bring together a diverse group of rappers (street-wise lyricists who have honed their craft rap-battling on subway trains) and rabbis (book-wise teachers who have cut their teeth dueling it out in the Beit Midrash). Bible Raps has been serving as the anvil upon which these two word-loving communities let their lyrical hammers loose against the yellow-hot steel of Torah. And boy have the sparks been flying! Our podcasts and events are turning out razor-sharp-edged analysis amid steam-explosions of laughter. The hammer blows coming out of the Bible Raps Smithy have been hitting some powerfully deep frequencies. The rumblings are already being felt throughout the Jewish Adult Education […]

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Hakhel Spotlight: MoEd

MoEd is… The place you should have been going after school when you were a kid. It just wasn’t around, so you couldn’t… A fun-loving kids’ community, where kids come to meet and play and talk – and learn (without realizing it)! A Hebrew-speaking Jewish afterschool, where every participant defines their space, their role, and what they want to learn. We do our best to give the kids a set of tools, a bag of skills… and a world of questions. They have to connect the dots, draw the lines, and come up with their very own definition and identity. We are a community of kids, backed by a community of families. We come together in the evening to make shakshuka from a recipe written in Hebrew, or watch The Band’s Visit and have a long discussion about the meaning of ‘center’ versus ‘periphery’ and everything in between. Members contribute their skills and knowledge to a growing, engaged community that learns about the Dead Sea Scrolls from a parent who is a professor, or about second-language acquisition from another parent who is a language specialist. MoEd is located in Chevy Chase, Maryland and serves the greater DC area. We have […]

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