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Hazon Blog

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Shmita & Parshat Behar Bechukotai 5781

May 4th, 2021

Please enjoy this week's video newsletter message. Full text transcript is below.  We were thinking we might try and send out some videos as well as just written words, and this week's parsha seemed like a great time to begin. (Leviticus 25:1)[...]

Behar-Bechukotai: Letting the Land Rest, by Rabbi Yonatan Neril

Behar-Bechukotai: Letting the Land Rest, by Rabbi Yonatan Neril

May 4th, 2021

Then shall the land make up for its Sabbatical years throughout the time that it is desolate and you are in the land of your enemies; then shall the land rest and make up for its Sabbatical years. (Leviticus 26:34) Today,[...]

Emor: Holidays For The Haves – And The Have-Nots, by Dr. Jeremy Benstein

Emor: Holidays For The Haves – And The Have-Nots, by Dr. Jeremy Benstein

April 21st, 2021

Parashat Emor includes one of the Torah’s major accounts of the festival calendar. In Leviticus chapter 23, after the description of the Temple rites of Shavuot, the text repeats the commandments of peah and leket, to leave the corners of the fields and the[...]

Acharei-Kedoshim: Love is a Clean Slate, by Anna Dubey

Acharei-Kedoshim: Love is a Clean Slate, by Anna Dubey

April 21st, 2021

This week’s parsha, Acharei-Kedoshim, focuses on a number of ordinances about sanctification and holiness. Buried among laws of purification is a central tenet of Judaism: “ואהבת לרעך כמוך,” or “Love your fellow as yourself.” (Leviticus 19:18) In a Talmudic story I[...]

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Different Jewish narratives in relation to place

April 21st, 2021

Wednesday, April 21, 2021 | 24th day of the omer – tiferet she'b'netzach   Dear All, Tomorrow is Earth Day, and there’s lots happening. I hope you will attend some of the many events that are taking place, including our second annual #SoundTheCall. And tune[...]

Tazria-Metzora: Seedtime, by Sue Salinger

Tazria-Metzora: Seedtime, by Sue Salinger

April 14th, 2021

Let’s locate ourselves in space and time to enter this poetic, symbolic story for personally reconnecting with the divine and repairing breaches to the god-field. Tazria-Metzora is the instruction manual for holy personal, communal, and sacred repair — for restoring[...]

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Earth Day as a secular chag

April 9th, 2021

Thursday, April 8, 2021 | netzach she’b’gevurah    Dear All, It’s Earth Day two weeks from today. This prompts me to think about Earth Day as the secular equivalent of one of the festivals of Jewish life. Doing so helps us to better understand[...]

Shemini: Respecting the Sanctity of Life, by Rabbi Miriam Midlarsky Lichtenfeld

Shemini: Respecting the Sanctity of Life, by Rabbi Miriam Midlarsky Lichtenfeld

April 7th, 2021

Back in my teen years, at our pre-Prom gathering at my friend’s house, I didn’t eat any of the shrimp cocktail that she had put out for us to eat. She praised my self-discipline. To me, though, this seemed natural[...]

Tzav: Hiddur Mitzvah - Are My Hands Clean? by Shoshana Gugenheim Kedem

Tzav: Hiddur Mitzvah - Are My Hands Clean? by Shoshana Gugenheim Kedem

March 23rd, 2021

We named our daughter Hadar.  She was born on Shabbat of parashat Tzav which contains a small and precious passage detailing the garments with which Moshe adorns Aharon for his service at the Temple.  The name Hadar shares a root[...]

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The Economy, Krugman, Healthcare, Pesach – and Power, Ethics & Ecology in Late Jewish Antiquity

March 18th, 2021

March 18, 2021 | 5 Nissan 5781    Dear All, The whole world we live in, right now, is “both/and” rather than “either/or.” Everything happens simultaneously. Everything and its opposite is true. Things overlap and repeat, fold in upon themselves. I feel this strongly in relation to[...]

Hazon Detroit: Food Rescue Update

Hazon Detroit: Food Rescue Update

March 17th, 2021

One year in, we’ve rescued over 250 tons – or 500,000 pounds – of food! Hazon Detroit's Food Rescue and Redistribution work continues to be a major focus for us, as we try to help reduce the amount of food insecurity[...]

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Blessing for a Wounded Earth

March 16th, 2021

by Rabbi Dianne Cohler-Esses O Holy Earth! We live on your sacred ground. We were placed here to guard you and tend you to bless, respect and protect your overflowing goodness sustaining maintaining life. But we-- we misunderstood. Our growth, our strife went unchecked. We pollute you instead of salute[...]

Vayikra: Call Them In, by Rabbi Gila Caine

Vayikra: Call Them In, by Rabbi Gila Caine

March 15th, 2021

וַיִּקְרָ֖א אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֑ה וַיְדַבֵּ֤ר יְהוָה֙ אֵלָ֔יו מֵאֹ֥הֶל מוֹעֵ֖ד לֵאמֹֽר׃ “And He called to Moshe and Adonai spoke to him from the Tent of Meeting, saying….” (Lev. 1:1) Why first call and then speak? Why not go right to speaking? Talmud suggests that in this, the[...]

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Food and Farm Advocacy: Recommended Reading

March 11th, 2021

The Jewish practice of determining what is “fit to eat” (a literal translation of “kosher”) is complex in this age of global food systems. It is not simply upon us to find the purest ingredients for our tables at any[...]

Vayakel-Pekudei: Work on Your Connection by Eli Weinbach

Vayakel-Pekudei: Work on Your Connection by Eli Weinbach

March 9th, 2021

Rest requires work. Without putting in the prep time, we may find that a day off is spent thinking about what has yet to be done. Without planning, vacation may not be much more exciting than staying home. Extended conversation[...]

Ki Tisa: Believe in Equality and Leave the REST to G-d by Dvir Cahana

Ki Tisa: Believe in Equality and Leave the REST to G-d by Dvir Cahana

March 4th, 2021

The story beats of Parshat Ki Tisa teach us two Shmita-esque concepts. The Parsha begins with the democratized call to cooperatively erect the Mishkan, where each individual was commanded to evenly contribute a half-shekel to the project. The purpose of[...]

Purim: Truths Revealed Over The Past Year by Melissa Hoffman

Purim: Truths Revealed Over The Past Year by Melissa Hoffman

February 22nd, 2021

Many of us anticipated this Purim as the approximate year-marker since our lives changed unimaginably. There’s something apt about the holiday that highlights the topsy-turvy nature of life bookending the beginning — and hopefully the beginning of the end —[...]

Terumah: Good Neighbors by Judry Subar

Terumah: Good Neighbors by Judry Subar

February 16th, 2021

Breathlessly, the first third of the Torah runs through stories of creation, accounts of love and rupture in the pre-Israelite and Israelite family, reports of slavery experienced and slavery escaped, and rules governing all sorts of circumstances.  Over the course[...]

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Rosh Chodesh Adar, and a preview of the Shmita Prizes

February 11th, 2021

February 11, 2021 | Erev Rosh Chodesh Adar   Dear All, The Hebrew month of Adar, by tradition, “increases joy.” Those who are used to Jewish tradition may take this idea for granted. But underlying it are presumptions that are worth thinking about,[...]

Mishpatim: We All Live Downstream by Adriane Leveen

Mishpatim: We All Live Downstream by Adriane Leveen

February 9th, 2021

"We all live downstream." Those words, spoken by a member of a first nation community in the haunting film, The Condor and the Eagle, capture a simple truth we are too ready to forget. None of us will escape the[...]

A Call to Action for Rabbis and Spiritual Leaders From Hazon's Detroit Rabbi, Nate DeGroot

A Call to Action for Rabbis and Spiritual Leaders From Hazon's Detroit Rabbi, Nate DeGroot

February 3rd, 2021

Dear Rabbis and Spiritual Leaders, With each passing day, and each new scientific report, it is becoming increasingly clear that the climate crisis is and will continue to be the most pressing moral issue of our time. I know you, like[...]

Yitro: The Operating Manual by Deirdre Gabbay

Yitro: The Operating Manual by Deirdre Gabbay

February 2nd, 2021

Parshat Yitro, in the book of Exodus, contains the beginning of the story of the Revelation at Sinai. The story of Revelation begins here, but the telling unfolds in a complex, layered piece of narrative origami. The halakhic midrash of[...]

Beshalach: Redemption Song by Rabbi Isaiah Rothstein

Beshalach: Redemption Song by Rabbi Isaiah Rothstein

January 29th, 2021

It is Friday evening and the sun is just about the set. The synagogue is filled with a psalm and song-filled greeting for Her Majesty, the Shabbat Queen. After six long days of toiling, working, and serving,  we have finally[...]

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Thoughts on this Tu B'Shvat

January 28th, 2021

Thursday, January 28, 2021 | Tu B'Shvat 5781   Dear All, One of the questions underpinning the entire Jewish environmental movement is the question: to what end? If we want to make a difference in the world, can’t we – shouldn’t we –[...]

Food Rescue Hero: Darraugh Collins

Food Rescue Hero: Darraugh Collins

January 21st, 2021

After the completion of ten weeks of exposure, enlightenment, and heavy back breaking work, Tania and I find ourselves longing for our internship to continue on into 2021. By working with Hazon and other partner organizations and leaders in the[...]

Bo: Hyssop - The Paintbrush of Liberation, by Rabbi David Seidenberg

Bo: Hyssop - The Paintbrush of Liberation, by Rabbi David Seidenberg

January 20th, 2021

In parshat Bo, the destroying angel passes over the houses of the Israelites — in Hebrew “pasach al hapetach” — sparing their firstborn, and giving the Passover holiday its name in Hebrew and English. But the angel only “knows” who[...]

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Light In The Darkness

January 12th, 2021

Tuesday, January 12, 2021 | 28th Tevet 5781   Dear All, Tomorrow night it’s Rosh Chodesh Shvat. The beginning of the beginnings. Next week a new president, a new government. The week after it’s Tu B’Shvat and the Big Bold Jewish Climate Fest. The almond[...]

Vaera: Our Plagues and Our Plans by Ann Hait and Rabbi Gabe Greenberg

Vaera: Our Plagues and Our Plans by Ann Hait and Rabbi Gabe Greenberg

January 12th, 2021

In Parshat Vaera, the action revolves around God’s command, through Moses, that Pharoah free the enslaved Israelites. Pharaoh's hard-headedness and selfishness preclude him from doing so immediately, and in response, God sends a series of plagues to Egypt. Dam, tzfarde'a,[...]

Shemot: Talking with God by SooJi Min-Maranda

Shemot: Talking with God by SooJi Min-Maranda

January 6th, 2021

This week’s parsha, Shemot, is the same Torah portion that I read from the bima at Temple Beth Emeth in Ann Arbor, MI, thirteen-and-a-half years after officially claiming Judaism as an adult b’nai mitzvah. What a wonderful opportunity to be[...]

Take action for a just and climate-smart food system

Take action for a just and climate-smart food system

January 6th, 2021

Take action for a just and climate-smart food system… even if you aren’t following all the complexities taking place on Capitol Hill! We are tracking opportunities for the Jewish community to tip the scales toward effective policy. Join our advocacy alert[...]

Vayechi: Brotherly Love by Eli Weinbach

Vayechi: Brotherly Love by Eli Weinbach

December 30th, 2020

This week, Jacob, like his father before him, sets out to bless his progeny. The first to receive his blessings are Joseph’s sons, the brothers Ephraim and Menashe. Those who have been following since Bereshit will know that being a[...]

Vayigash: We Need Emotional Shmita Now by Rabbi Shoshana Friedman

Vayigash: We Need Emotional Shmita Now by Rabbi Shoshana Friedman

December 23rd, 2020

Deep into the Joseph story, we come to a moment that catches my breath and makes me tear up every year. Joseph, sold to slavery long ago, stands now as the viceroy of Egypt. He has designed a system of[...]

Miketz: Run Wild by Judry Subar

Miketz: Run Wild by Judry Subar

December 16th, 2020

In the beginning, the world was a wild and chaotic place.  While the arc of the Genesis narrative bends relentlessly toward the taming of the chaos, progress is slow.  As the human species settles in for the long haul, its[...]

Vayeshev: Entitlement and Creation by Hannah Elovitz

Vayeshev: Entitlement and Creation by Hannah Elovitz

December 10th, 2020

Our story returns to tell us, “Now Jacob was settled in the land where his father had sojourned, the land of Canaan” (Gen. 37:1, JPS translation). Jacob’s father and grandfather had only ever been outsiders in the land in which[...]

Darkness, and light – from the United Nations

Darkness, and light – from the United Nations

December 9th, 2020

Wednesday, December 9, 2020 | Erev Chanukah   Dear All, First: a huge thank you to every single person who has supported us in 2020. A record number of people supported us on Giving Tuesday. I and we appreciate it. This year we survived,[...]

Food Rescue Hero: April Roe Agosta

Food Rescue Hero: April Roe Agosta

December 8th, 2020

For our second edition of Food Rescue Hero of the Week, Tania and I instantly knew the exact woman we needed to highlight. For years, April Roe Agosta has fed those in need -- from her backyard to the back[...]

Vayishlach: Rename and Renew by Rabbi Joshua Ratner

Vayishlach: Rename and Renew by Rabbi Joshua Ratner

December 3rd, 2020

2020 has been a year of unbelievable struggle. Between the devastating impact of Covid-19, the profound struggle for racial equality that erupted in nation-wide protests in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, and the hyper-partisan election campaign that tore apart[...]

Hazon Detroit: Tragic Hope & Meaningful Action

Hazon Detroit: Tragic Hope & Meaningful Action

December 3rd, 2020

by Rebecca Levy   Dear Friends, Since the summer, we have had the incredible fortune of having six wonderful interns supporting and enriching our work. Much gratitude to Repair the World Serve the Moment, the Applebaum Internship Program, JOIN, and the Hornstein Program[...]

Vayetze: The Meaning of Seven by Aharon Ariel Lavi

Vayetze: The Meaning of Seven by Aharon Ariel Lavi

November 24th, 2020

Shmita is the seventh year, following six regular years — and numbers in the Torah are not incidental, but rather a channel for meaningful ideas. The first, and most renowned, appearance of the number seven is obviously the seven days[...]

Light, and the amplitude of life

Light, and the amplitude of life

November 20th, 2020

Thursday, November 19, 2020 | 3 Kislev 5781   And announcing a new initiative for college students: Campus-at-Camp – at Isabella Freedman – spring '21. Applications opened today and close December 4th.   Dear All, I’m feeling intensely the amplitude of life right now. One of the things that[...]