Author Archive | Yoshi Silverstein

Shemesh and Service Work: Igniting Holiness Through our JOFEE Work | JOFEE Fellowship Cohort 2 Reflections

We were pleased and proud to graduate the second cohort of JOFEE Fellows last month at our closing seminar at the brand-new Urban Adamah farm and community center in Berkeley, CA. With this cohort’s sixteen fellows, we have now graduated 33 fellows who collectively have impacted close to 60,000 participants nationwide. Cohort three will see twenty new fellows working in fifteen host organizations. Wow! Closing seminar was a wonderful experience in celebrating the cohort’s individual and collective accomplishments and learning about the tremendous work of our partners at Urban Adamah. In the words of one fellow: “I’m blown away by the ways in which this group of people who have only come together three times over the course of a year can support each other in such deep ways. It was a joy and an honor to witness each member of the cohort as they recalled their journey and told stories from the year, and I felt totally held by the group.” This was yet another very special and talented cohort. You can see some of their final presentations here and even catch up on the live Facebook stream here. In reflecting on this cohort, I’d like to share a […]

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Old Stones, New Ripples – Reflections on the Close of JOFEE Fellowship Cohort 1 | D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

by Yoshi Silverstein – JOFEE Fellowship Director May 18th, 2017 | 22nd Iyar 5777 | 37th day of the omer | gevurah she’b’yesod 16 Organizations. 17 Fellows. Over 500 programs. An estimated 37,000 participants in Jewish Outdoor, Food, Farming & Environmental Education (JOFEE) programs across the country. These are some of the incredible numbers emerging as we look back at our first JOFEE Fellowship cohort, who completed their closing seminar and siyum last week at our sister JOFEE organization, the Pearlstone Center outside Baltimore, MD. Behind those numbers are thousands of people encountering – many for the first time – the incredible power of a Jewish tradition steeped in deep cultural and spiritual connection with the earth, with place, with human communities and our surrounding ecosystems, with our food, and with each other.  A Jewish tradition that recognizes both the limits and abundance of the resources our home planet provides for us. A tradition that says this world is amazing – there is so much magnificence – and yet we have work to do – not to complete by ourselves, but neither to desist from doing our part. And wow did our JOFEE Fellows do their part! Here are a […]

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Choosing Life | D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

by Yoshi Silverstein  Parashat Nitzavim & Rosh Hashanah Editor’s Note: Welcome to D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog! Most weeks throughout the year, you’ll be hearing from the JOFEE Fellows (and staff): reflections on their experiences, successful programs they’ve planned and implemented, gleanings from the field, and connections to the weekly Torah portion or Holidays and what they’ve learned from their experiences with place in their host communities for the year. This one is from me, Yoshi, Director of the JOFEE Fellowship. Views expressed are the mine and do not necessarily represent Hazon. Be sure to check back next week for Zach Goldberg’s post on JOFEE and Yom Kippur!   P.S. Interested in being or hosting a JOFEE Fellow? Applications for cohort two are now open for both prospective fellows and prospective host institutions!  You all know the big one coming up this week: Rosh Hashanah. The Head of the Year, when we begin the High Holiday season full of heart-beatings and introspection, good food, wine, and cheer followed by the Yom Kippur fast. This week is also Parshat Nitzavim – the Torah portion from my Bar Mitzvah. Much of that weekend is a blur at this point, twenty years later (wow, that just sunk in […]

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Wanted: Emerging JOFEE Leaders

On a brisk and bright August morning the summer before 11th grade, I stood on the banks of a silty, glacier-fed creek tumbling through alpine meadows at the base of Mount Rainier. Siddur in hand, tallit on the shoulders, and kippah overhead, I sang the Shacharit morning prayers with a soul-thumping gusto emboldened by the awesome backdrop of natural wonder and the surrounding chorus of voices from my fellow Odedim – camp counselors-in-training. It was an inspiring and formative experience of nature, spirituality, community, and place. Today, I’m an educator, landscape designer, and writer, and I’ve spent the past decade-plus working to cultivate these experiences for others. As of last month, I am thrilled to have begun the latest chapter in this journey as Director of the JOFEE Fellowship here at Hazon. The JOFEE Fellowship, which stands for Jewish Outdoor, Food & Environmental Education, is a direct result of the JOFEE Report released in 2013. The research in this report formalized what practitioners and participants have known for some time now: JOFEE is a powerful catalyst for immersive Jewish experiences that connect people to Judaism, community, and the natural world. The report also told us what our field needs to […]

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