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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[...]

Metzora: Illness And Recovery, Then And Now by Mira Potter-Schwartz and Rabbi Ariel Milan-Polisar

Metzora: Illness And Recovery, Then And Now by Mira Potter-Schwartz and Rabbi Ariel Milan-Polisar

April 7th, 2022

Just as the Torah provides an opportunity for recovery regardless of poverty level - different recovery pathways dependent on means - so too should our health system. Parshat Metzora marks the end of the instructions that detail what a person afflicted[...]

Tazria/Shabbat Ha’Chodesh: Release, Respect, Renew by Rabbi Arthur Waskow

Tazria/Shabbat Ha’Chodesh: Release, Respect, Renew by Rabbi Arthur Waskow

March 30th, 2022

The parasha for this week is Parashat Tazria, but it also Shabbat Ha’Chodesh, the week of the new moon of Nisan, the month of Pesach. The haftarah is from Ezekiel 45:16 - 46:18.  "By whatever gateway we enter the shmitah year,[...]

Shemini: Energizing The Ultimate Source Of Energy, by Judry Subar

Shemini: Energizing The Ultimate Source Of Energy, by Judry Subar

March 23rd, 2022

"When we focus on the purposes of Shmita  we facilitate the flow of spiritual power from earth to heaven and back again." So many adjectives can be used to describe the act of eating: necessary, enjoyable, challenging, fraught, social, and on[...]

Hakhel Newsletter March 2022

Hakhel Newsletter March 2022

March 22nd, 2022

Dear Hakhel Communities, I hope you and your community celebrated a very happy Purim! We are now in the lull between Purim and Pesach (always shorter than you think!), but that doesn’t mean there’s an end to the work to be[...]

Purim is True

Purim is True

March 17th, 2022

Friends, What is Purim? And Have We All Gone Mad? Purim is everywhere. A masquerade. A feast. A time of drinking and debauchery. Why? The unbridled joy of early spring? Eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we may die? G!d…not mentioned once. G!d’s deafening[...]

Parashat Tzav: Shmita As An Expression of Gratitude By Shoshana Michael Zucker

Parashat Tzav: Shmita As An Expression of Gratitude By Shoshana Michael Zucker

March 16th, 2022

People who have the tools of production at their disposal should gratefully acknowledge their blessings, and invite others to partake of the bounty.  Of the many sacrifices mandated in Parashat Tzav, one stands out: the thanksgiving offering (Leviticus 7:12-15), which must[...]

Vayikra, Zachor: Stepping Back, Drawing Close By Rabbi Daniel Raphael Silverstein

Vayikra, Zachor: Stepping Back, Drawing Close By Rabbi Daniel Raphael Silverstein

March 9th, 2022

"When we release our usual patterns and tools, we open a sacred space for contemplation, and for re-imagining ourselves and our world." Our parsha of Vayikra (“And He called”) begins the third book of the Torah, to which it also gives[...]

Support our Partners in Ukraine

Support our Partners in Ukraine

March 8th, 2022

Friends, “War is a cowardly escape from the problems of peace.”  - Thomas Mann We are heartbroken and outraged as Putin’s merciless war on Ukraine continues. We will not be silent, and we will do all we can to support our partners impacted[...]

Pekudei: Combining Laws And Generosity by Josh Weiner

Pekudei: Combining Laws And Generosity by Josh Weiner

March 3rd, 2022

"Like the mishkan that was built of laws and gifts, the paradoxes of the shmita system allow kindness to re-enter our economic lives." This week’s parasha concludes the construction of the Mishkan - the portable center of ritual life as the[...]

How We Can Help Our Partners in Ukraine

How We Can Help Our Partners in Ukraine

February 28th, 2022

Friends, We have watched, horrified, as Putin’s Russia has invaded Ukraine, causing bloodshed, destruction, and hundreds of thousands of innocent people fleeing. What you may not know is that Hazon operates a global Jewish intentional community network called Hakhel that includes[...]

Vayakhel: Some Striking Shabbat And Shmita Parallels by Rabbi Jack Bieler

Vayakhel: Some Striking Shabbat And Shmita Parallels by Rabbi Jack Bieler

February 24th, 2022

Just as the weekly Shabbat starkly reminds us who is the Creator and who is the Creature, shmita achieves a similar goal Parashat Vayakhel, although primarily devoted to the fabrication of the Tabernacle and its vessels, begins (Exodus 35:1-3) with a[...]

Ki Tissa: Breaking God’s Tablets? Way To Go, Moses! by Rabbi Jessica Fisher

Ki Tissa: Breaking God’s Tablets? Way To Go, Moses! by Rabbi Jessica Fisher

February 17th, 2022

"Sometimes rupture is necessary and holy. Sometimes disruption is an essential spiritual practice." In parashat Ki Tissa, we encounter one of the pivotal moments of tension in the Torah. After spending forty days and nights on Mount Sinai, Moses descends, carrying[...]

Tetzaveh: Portable Holiness, Global Jewishness by Elyssa Hurwitz

Tetzaveh: Portable Holiness, Global Jewishness by Elyssa Hurwitz

February 9th, 2022

"Holiness is inside of us, meaning we can embrace shmita, both inside and outside of the Land of Israel, inside and outside of the traditional ways of observing it." As we continue forward through both the Book of Exodus and the[...]

Hakhel Newsletter February 2022

Hakhel Newsletter February 2022

February 8th, 2022

Dear Hakhel Communities, What makes the world holy, and how can we increase the holiness of the world together? In this week’s Torah portion, T’tzaveh, the Israelites learn about how to organize a community with Torah at the center, in a[...]

Terumah: Cultivating The Trait of Generosity, by Rabbi Micah Peltz

Terumah: Cultivating The Trait of Generosity, by Rabbi Micah Peltz

February 3rd, 2022

"When we are able to live generously, then we can create not only a sacred structure, but a more sacred world."  Parashat Terumah begins the final section of the book of Exodus which deals mostly with the construction of the mishkan,[...]

Mishpatim: Shmita, By Rabbi Dr. Bradley Shavit Artson

Mishpatim: Shmita, By Rabbi Dr. Bradley Shavit Artson

January 26th, 2022

"Our mastery and possession of creatures and objects is always provisional and limited by the broader guidelines of our creatureliness." This parashah is known in Hebrew as Sefer Ha-Brit (the Book of the Covenant). It contains the first body of laws[...]

Yitro: The Ten Commandments As A Guide To A Sustainable Society, By Dr. Jeremy Benstein

Yitro: The Ten Commandments As A Guide To A Sustainable Society, By Dr. Jeremy Benstein

January 19th, 2022

"What does it take to build a society that will long endure on the land?"  The highlight of this week's parasha, the Decalogue, begins with God's self-identification as having brought Israel "out of the house of bondage" and launches directly into[...]

We Are One: Tu B’Shvat and MLK, Sustainability & Justice

We Are One: Tu B’Shvat and MLK, Sustainability & Justice

January 17th, 2022

Friends, We find ourselves immersed in another dark pandemic winter, a reality we could not have fathomed two years ago. And as the pandemic drags on, our social fabric continues to fray, while the climate crisis continues unabated. Then, into this moment[...]

Beshalach: The Knowledge Of Water, Fire And Clouds By Rabbi Gila Caine

Beshalach: The Knowledge Of Water, Fire And Clouds By Rabbi Gila Caine

January 12th, 2022

"This is the strongest lesson of shmita, that the non-human world around and within us is filled with its own intelligence, and its own Torah." This week’s Torah portion kicks off with our ancestors leaving Mitzrayim (the Biblical Egypt, the place[...]

Hakhel Newsletter January 2022

Hakhel Newsletter January 2022

January 11th, 2022

Dear Hakhel Communities, This week’s Torah portion, Beshalach, is the scene of many incredible miracles that have captured the imagination of countless generations: the splitting of the Red Sea to allow the Israelites to escape Egypt; the manna that rained down[...]

Bo: In Times Of Darkness, Can We Share Our Light? By Yali Szulanski

Bo: In Times Of Darkness, Can We Share Our Light? By Yali Szulanski

January 6th, 2022

"The plague of darkness evokes imagery of desperation, fear, and of dark times. It is the plague, perhaps, that most echoes the time we live in now." Parashat Bo occurs in anticipation of Bne’i Israel’s exodus from Egypt. Here, the last[...]

A few words from Hazon’s new Global Ambassador, Nigel Savage

A few words from Hazon’s new Global Ambassador, Nigel Savage

December 30th, 2021

Please make a gift to Hazon today. Every dollar received by the end of the year will be directly invested into our growing programs and deepening our impact. ​December 30, 2021 | 26 Tevet 5782 | Jerusalem   Dear All, For affording me this sabbatical,[...]

Vaera: What Gives Me Hope? By Dr. Barak Gale

Vaera: What Gives Me Hope? By Dr. Barak Gale

December 29th, 2021

"Shmita offers a “release” from this harsh legacy, whispering to us: Aspire to this time when you no longer harden your heart."   Vaera recounts the Ten Plagues and the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart.  I am often asked in my climate presentations[...]

Shemot: Building A Society That Rejects Decadence And Oppression, By Rabbi Binyamin Zimmerman

Shemot: Building A Society That Rejects Decadence And Oppression, By Rabbi Binyamin Zimmerman

December 23rd, 2021

Shemitah and jubilee ensure that Israeli society will be protective of the weak, combating wage gaps and building a redeemed economy. If it worked with the Exodus, it could work now.   Parashat Shemot begins the second book of the Torah, Exodus,[...]

Parashat Vayechi: E Pluribus Unum? by Judry Subar

Parashat Vayechi: E Pluribus Unum? by Judry Subar

December 16th, 2021

We must temper using our own resources to satisfy our individual human desires in recognition of our responsibility to preserve our Earth for the benefit of humanity. Mortality sets the scene for the concluding chapters of Genesis. Vayechi, the last portion[...]

Hakhel Newsletter December 2021

Hakhel Newsletter December 2021

December 13th, 2021

Dear Hakhel Communities, What do you believe will come of you in the days and years to come? What about your loved ones and community? Why is this your vision? These are just some of the questions evoked in this week’s[...]