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Hazon Blog

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COP27, Mount Sinai, and Flora of Vanuatu

COP27, Mount Sinai, and Flora of Vanuatu

November 22nd, 2022

Friends, This year, thanks to support from the Jewish Agency for Israel and several supporting foundations, our first-ever Jewish Youth Climate Movement delegation traveled to COP27: ten Jewish climate activists from campuses across North America, and ten Israelis from the educational[...]

Hakhel Newsletter: November 2022

Hakhel Newsletter: November 2022

November 21st, 2022

Dear Hakhel Communities, In this week’s parsha, we read the famous story of two brothers, Jacob and the elder Esau, sons of Isaac. Jacob convinces Esau to sell him his birthright in exchange for a pot of lentil stew, and under[...]

Hazon Detroit: November 2022

Hazon Detroit: November 2022

November 10th, 2022

The Hebrew month of Cheshvan marks the beginning of the cycle of praying for rain, highlighting the ancient Jewish wisdom that we are dependent on the natural world around us. In Detroit, the remaining few leaves are joining a colorful[...]

Hakhel Newsletter: October 2022

Hakhel Newsletter: October 2022

October 26th, 2022

Dear Hakhel Communities, I hope you had a wonderful chagim season filled with beautiful community, spiritual moments, and important new beginnings on a personal and collective level. Speaking of new beginnings, Simchat Torah marks the start of reading the Torah anew, and[...]

V'Zot Habracha & Hakhel: How The Torah Ends The Shmita Year by Rabbi Yonah Berman

V'Zot Habracha & Hakhel: How The Torah Ends The Shmita Year by Rabbi Yonah Berman

October 13th, 2022

"Joining together with our People, and remembering a place and time before we had our own land, we are being called to maintain the sanctity of humanity and creation." The final parsha in the Torah, V’Zot Habracha, is unique in that[...]

Hazon Detroit: October 2022 Newsletter

Hazon Detroit: October 2022 Newsletter

October 12th, 2022

Shana Tova! How sweet and hopeful to have arrived into this new year with you. We hope that you are nourished and inspired from these last weeks of reflection, joy, togetherness, and intention-setting. We look forward to showing up for[...]

Ha'azinu: The Idolatry Of The Denier, by Rabbi Haggai Resnikoff

Ha'azinu: The Idolatry Of The Denier, by Rabbi Haggai Resnikoff

October 6th, 2022

"We are growing closer to our last chance to turn our attention back to the earth and its needs, for our beliefs to become re-rooted in reality." What is sacred to a climate denier? What do they worship? They privilege pseudo-science[...]

Vayelech: Is This The End Of Shmita? by Rabbi Petakya Lichtenstein

Vayelech: Is This The End Of Shmita? by Rabbi Petakya Lichtenstein

September 28th, 2022

"What is being born when something is ending and what is ending when something is being born?" This week is the last week of the 7 year sabbatical cycle called Shmita. The portion of Torah read this week, as the year[...]

Nitzavim: Keep It Real - Don’t Overthink It! by Rabbi Benjamin Shalva

Nitzavim: Keep It Real - Don’t Overthink It! by Rabbi Benjamin Shalva

September 21st, 2022

"The shmita year is nearly ended, but not quite. There is still time. Time to pause. Time to pray."  "And in the night My father came to me And held me to his chest He said there's not much more that you can do Go[...]

Ki Tavo: Property, Shmita And Learning To Fly, by Aharon Ariel Lavi

Ki Tavo: Property, Shmita And Learning To Fly, by Aharon Ariel Lavi

September 13th, 2022

"You can only give what is yours." Parshat Ki Tavo opens with the commandment of bikkurim. It continues with related agricultural commandments and a commandment to inscribe the Torah on large stones. The sages add that this was made in 70[...]

Hakhel Newsletter: September 2022

Hakhel Newsletter: September 2022

September 8th, 2022

Dear Hakhel Communities, We have now entered the month of Elul – a time of introspection, where we review our deeds and our spiritual state this year and prepare for the upcoming “Days of Awe” of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. What[...]

Ki Tetze: Mitzvot To Combat Bad Habits And Destructive Behaviors, by Rabbi Yedidya Sinclair

Ki Tetze: Mitzvot To Combat Bad Habits And Destructive Behaviors, by Rabbi Yedidya Sinclair

September 7th, 2022

"Shmita too can loosen the sway of addictive patterns of consumption." Parshat Ki Tetze begins with two mitzvot that the rabbis characterize as countering addiction. The first, of these, the laws of the female captive, challenges and attempts to moderate the[...]

Shoftim: On the Spiritual Tension of Shmita, By Dr. Tamar R. Marvin

Shoftim: On the Spiritual Tension of Shmita, By Dr. Tamar R. Marvin

August 31st, 2022

“For is the tree of the field like a human?” Shmita is riven with tension. On the one hand, it is introduced to us in Parashat Behar as a Shabbat of the land: ve-shavta ha-aretz Shabbat la-Shem—“the land shall abstain in[...]

Re’eh, Rosh Hodesh Elul: The Expansiveness of Freedom by Rabbi Dr. Bradley Shavit Artson

Re’eh, Rosh Hodesh Elul: The Expansiveness of Freedom by Rabbi Dr. Bradley Shavit Artson

August 24th, 2022

"In releasing the land, our finances, and our fellows to freedom, we free ourselves as well, and this freedom ripples out in expansiveness and life." The new month of Elul famously opens us to a time of renewed intimacy. As we[...]

Ekev: It Is A Land Which Hashem Your God Looks After, by Rabbanit Michal Kohane

Ekev: It Is A Land Which Hashem Your God Looks After, by Rabbanit Michal Kohane

August 19th, 2022

"In dealing with the land – working it, taking care of it, making it bloom - we have to be constantly connected to the Divine." The Torah portion of Ekev, the 3rd in the last book of the Torah, stretches from[...]

Va-Etḥanan, Shabbat Naḥamu, and Tu Be-Av: With  Heaven And Earth As Our Witness, By Rabbi Louis Polisson

Va-Etḥanan, Shabbat Naḥamu, and Tu Be-Av: With Heaven And Earth As Our Witness, By Rabbi Louis Polisson

August 10th, 2022

"If you know you have harmed the earth, know that you can heal it." On Shabbat Naḥamu, the Sabbath of Comfort the week after Tish’ah B’Av, we read Parashat Va-Etḥanan. Though Shabbat Naḥamu is about consolation and healing after lamenting Jewish[...]

Devarim/Hazon, Erev Tisha B'Av: Rooting Ourselves In Space And Time by Rabbi Jesse Paikin

Devarim/Hazon, Erev Tisha B'Av: Rooting Ourselves In Space And Time by Rabbi Jesse Paikin

August 3rd, 2022

On the confluence of the beginning of Deuteronomy, Tisha b’Av, and the shmita year North Americans often suffer from the affliction of being uprooted from space and time. Out of a historical or philosophical perspective, some of us call ourselves “post-modern,”[...]

Matot-Masei: What We Can Learn from Regret, by Rabba Dr. Carmella Abraham

Matot-Masei: What We Can Learn from Regret, by Rabba Dr. Carmella Abraham

July 28th, 2022

"Through the lens of regret, we learn the importance of appreciating the land and its fundamental purpose of sustaining humankind." In a surprising twist, the midrash recounts the regret expressed  by the tribes of Reuben and Gad for choosing to stay[...]

Hakhel Newsletter: July 2022

Hakhel Newsletter: July 2022

July 27th, 2022

Dear Hakhel Communities, While it may be extremely hot in your part of the world, or extremely cold if you’re in a different part, Hakhel has remained in motion this past month. Some recent highlights include OLAM’s release of a report[...]

Hakhel Newsletter: June 2022

Hakhel Newsletter: June 2022

July 26th, 2022

Dear Hakhel Communities, It’s hard to believe that it was a month ago that Hakhel community leaders gathered together in Israel for our Trip & Summit! We toured Israeli intentional communities for in-depth learning; and gathered at the Summit to learn[...]

Hazon Farm Bill Campaign

Hazon Farm Bill Campaign

July 26th, 2022

Join Hazon in Advocating for a Just and Climate Resilient 2023 Farm Bill! The once-every-five-years Farm Bill authorization process is in full swing! This presents an historic opportunity to lower the nearly one third of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions spewed by the[...]

Pinchas: Loving the Land, by Talia Weisberg

Pinchas: Loving the Land, by Talia Weisberg

July 20th, 2022

"If we lived our love for land - whether in Israel or elsewhere in the world - how different would our world look?" Parshat Pinchas is, at its core, about loving the Land of Israel. The first major event of the[...]

Balak: Getting The Best of Both Worlds, by Aharon Ariel Lavi

Balak: Getting The Best of Both Worlds, by Aharon Ariel Lavi

July 13th, 2022

"Where is the sweet spot between conserving and respecting the past (cycles), and progressing towards a new reality (linearly)?" Parashat Balak is one of the two weekly portions in the Torah named after a significant non-Jewish protagonist. The first one is[...]

Chukat: What Happens When You Keep Hitting The Rock by Gillian Steinberg

Chukat: What Happens When You Keep Hitting The Rock by Gillian Steinberg

July 6th, 2022

"We must hear both God and the rock crying out: the punishment is upon us." In Chukat, after Bnei Yisrael complain about missing the comforts of home, Moses strikes a rock to elicit water. God is angry at Moses for striking[...]

A Prayer for our Country

A Prayer for our Country

June 30th, 2022

Friends, Today, the Supreme Court of the United States, in their ruling on the West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) case, stripped the EPA’s authority to limit carbon pollution from power plants, drastically reducing our ability to fight climate change.[...]

Korach: When Is The Desire For Equality Sincere? by Avraham Norin

Korach: When Is The Desire For Equality Sincere? by Avraham Norin

June 29th, 2022

"Capable leadership can use authority wisely to contribute to solidarity and equality." A memorable line from the movie The Incredibles is said as Syndrome captures the Incredible family and explains his grandiose plan to the captured heroes "I'll sell my inventions[...]

Shlach: Honoring The Bounty by Rachel Siegal

Shlach: Honoring The Bounty by Rachel Siegal

June 23rd, 2022

"A person who is deeply connected to the land around her is a person who can honor its uniqueness, celebrate its bounty, and respect its need to rest." This week’s parsha, Shlach, contains the well-known scene of the scouts sent to[...]

B’haalot’cha: Of Fertility And Infertility In Land And People by Anna Burke

B’haalot’cha: Of Fertility And Infertility In Land And People by Anna Burke

June 15th, 2022

"Action and prayer work hand-in-hand; we cannot rely solely on God for our well-being, but we can derive meaning and support from walking our journeys with God in our hearts and minds." Parashat B’haalot’cha marks the beginning of the Israelites’ journey[...]

Naso: Lift Up Their Heads - And Notice Them, by Rabbi Carol Glass

Naso: Lift Up Their Heads - And Notice Them, by Rabbi Carol Glass

June 8th, 2022

"Moving towards equity, inclusion, and diversity by truly seeing others and sharing our bounty with them." By mandating a 7th year cessation of all agricultural production and the release of intra-Jewish debts, shmita is a highly ‘disruptive’ ancient Jewish practice with[...]

BaMidbar: Being Sustained, In Eden and the Wilderness, by Rabbi Eli Herb

BaMidbar: Being Sustained, In Eden and the Wilderness, by Rabbi Eli Herb

May 31st, 2022

"To create a society balanced between the curse of civilization and the wildness of being nourished by the Creator." “When the Holy Blessed One gave the Torah, no bird chirped, no fowl fluttered, no ox lowed … the sea did not[...]

BeHukkotai: Why Land is Different, by Rabbi Dr. Bradley Shavit Artson

BeHukkotai: Why Land is Different, by Rabbi Dr. Bradley Shavit Artson

May 25th, 2022

"Land is imbued with holiness, which means that like God, it is beyond human measures of usefulness or control" As we prepare to close the Book of Leviticus, the Torah’s pinnacle, we are left with a message of responsibility, consequences, and[...]

Parshat Behar: To Dwell Within Them, by Arthur Green

Parshat Behar: To Dwell Within Them, by Arthur Green

May 18th, 2022

״אין לך פרשה שאין בה תחיית המתים אלא שאין בנו כח לדרוש״  (ספרי האזינו ש״ו) There is no portion in the Torah that cannot be brought back to life, if only we had the strength to interpret!” (Sifrei, Ha’azinu 306:35) 1 וידבר יהו״ה[...]

Parshat Emor: Making It All Count, By Rabbi Jon Kelsen

Parshat Emor: Making It All Count, By Rabbi Jon Kelsen

May 11th, 2022

"Counting the Omer - like the shemitah cycle - invites us to believe that each day, week and year is count-worthy, valuable and unique." One after the other, the days proceed. The slog continues on, with no progress or forward movement[...]

Od Lo Avdah Tikvatenu, Our Hope is Not Yet Lost

Od Lo Avdah Tikvatenu, Our Hope is Not Yet Lost

May 5th, 2022

Today is Yom Ha’Atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day, the 74th anniversary of the birth of the state of Israel in 1948. Yesterday was Yom HaZikaron, Israel’s Day of Remembrance, a day for grieving the loss of 24,000 fallen Israeli soldiers and[...]

Parashat Kedoshim: How To Be Holy Now?, by Rabbi Atara Cohen

Parashat Kedoshim: How To Be Holy Now?, by Rabbi Atara Cohen

May 4th, 2022

"Taking a step back to envision a holy, caring society - especially in light of the oppression perpetuated by this very parasha." Parashat Kedoshim begins with what one might call a “greatest hits” compilation of mitzvot. Here God lists the ways[...]

Yom HaShoah | Legacy & Responsibility

Yom HaShoah | Legacy & Responsibility

April 28th, 2022

Friends, Today is Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. One of my early memories is the moment my father told me that almost all of our family–his parents’ families–were murdered in the Holocaust.  My grandparents, Saul & Lonia, grew up in Lodz, Poland. They[...]

Acharei Mot: You Can Be Too At Home by Abe Mezrich

Acharei Mot: You Can Be Too At Home by Abe Mezrich

April 27th, 2022

"What you see as your own private grounds is actually a base from which to serve the world." It makes sense that Aaron’s sons would bring a strange fire to God in the Mishkan (Tabernacle). Aaron their father is the high[...]

Freedom, Wandering, & Resilience

Freedom, Wandering, & Resilience

April 14th, 2022

“In every generation, one must see oneself as if one had personally experienced the Exodus from Egypt.” – Passover Haggadah  Friends, Like our ancestors leaving Egypt – beginning the long desert wandering – we face daunting years and decades ahead. The Israelites rejoiced[...]

Hakhel Newsletter: April 2022

Hakhel Newsletter: April 2022

April 12th, 2022

Dear Hakhel Communities, We wish you all, your families, and your communities, a Chag Pesach Sameach! Passover is the holiday of freedom. We tend to think of ourselves as free people living in free societies, at least most of us. And yet,[...]

Pesach Torah Reading: Between Particular and Universal, by Vincent Calabrese

Pesach Torah Reading: Between Particular and Universal, by Vincent Calabrese

April 12th, 2022

"Though the Exodus tells the story of one nation’s birth, the legal and religious system to which it gives rise is open to outsiders." On Passover our Torah reading is taken from one of the most dramatic moments of the Book[...]