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 nourishment that fuels conversation, exchange of ideas, and communal striving.
In this city, at this time, in relationship with Detroit’s internationally-renowned urban agriculture movement, Hazon Detroit seeks to introduce and co-create new understandings of what “Jewish food” could mean, expanding and evolving our inherited definitions. What would it look like if “Jewish food” meant food that was grown organically? Food that was sourced locally? Food that contributed to greater equity and liberation for those growing it? And in the Jewish community, which has joined with us in growing a regional movement towards greater sustainability and environmental Jewish connection, what new meeting points might we make between “Jewish” and “food”? Could “Jewish food” mean food grown in a synagogue’s community garden, or harvested by a Temple youth group? Can it be part of a broader picture, which includes food grown from soil amended with compost made from a Shabbat kiddush compostable plate?
As the saying goes (Midrash Rabbah, Bereishit 70), “The belly carries the feet.” So follow your belly down to Eastern Market this Sunday and immerse yourself in the festive range of vendors, tastings, education, art, justice, sustainability, and more. Plus, check out this article from the Jewish News all about the Festival!
In loving community,
Rabbi Nate, Wren, Marla, Brittany, and Hannah