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Vayera: Training in Hospitality, by Dr. Irene Lancaster

Vayera: Training in Hospitality, by Dr. Irene Lancaster

October 18th, 2021

During the Covid epidemic, hospitality has increased. There are many tales of people contacting their neighbours – and even people they didn’t know - in order to help with shopping and other services. This emphasis on loving kindness throughout the[...]

Climate Action NOW with Hazon & Dayenu

Climate Action NOW with Hazon & Dayenu

October 17th, 2021

Friends, Hazon works alongside many strong partners across the Jewish world and beyond, and moving forward we are honored to feature our allies as guest writers for our newsletter. To start off this partnership series, Rabbi Jennie Rosenn introduces Dayenu and the critically important role[...]

Lech-Lecha: Treating Both the Land and the Stranger with Empathy and Kindness, by Rabbi David Seidenberg

Lech-Lecha: Treating Both the Land and the Stranger with Empathy and Kindness, by Rabbi David Seidenberg

October 14th, 2021

Shmita is about freedom and justice for people, not just rest and regeneration for the land. One of the spookiest stories in the whole Torah is found in Lech Lecha. It’s called the brit bein habetarim, the covenant between the halves. The[...]

Hakhel Newsletter October 2021

Hakhel Newsletter October 2021

October 11th, 2021

What's Inside: Community Spotlight | Sharing Resources | Monthly Quote   Dear Hakhel Communities, Last week (October 9), we read the famous Torah portion that tells the story of Noah (Noach), the righteous man who built an ark that preserved animals and humans[...]

Noach: Finding Our Rest, Building Our Ark, by Rabbi Robin Damsky

Noach: Finding Our Rest, Building Our Ark, by Rabbi Robin Damsky

October 7th, 2021

"Rest is not idle, rather active and creative.  I refuel myself through my meditation practice, The winter rest fuels the earth, plants and animals for spring rebirth." “Shabbat Shabbaton” are the words Leviticus 25:4 uses to describe the shmita year –[...]

The Story of Creation

The Story of Creation

October 3rd, 2021

Friends, This past week we read the Creation story twice: once during Simchat Torah then again over Shabbat, the first of the new annual Torah reading cycle, known as Shabbat Breishit. I love the early chapters of the book of Genesis,[...]

Bereishit: Revisioning our Relationship to Creation, by Natan Margalit

Bereishit: Revisioning our Relationship to Creation, by Natan Margalit

September 30th, 2021

"Our job in this life is, and has always been, to recognize our kinship with the world, to connect with those sparks as partners, and together with them serve God." Parshat Bresheit tells the creation story of the earth and the[...]

V'zot HaBracha: Flourishing in the Shmita Year, by Elyssa Hurwitz

V'zot HaBracha: Flourishing in the Shmita Year, by Elyssa Hurwitz

September 23rd, 2021

In the same vein that Moshe blessed the tribes of Israel in their own ways at the end of his journey and the next step of theirs, I bless each of us that we lean into our natural strengths[...]

Abramson Vegan Breadmaker Challah

Abramson Vegan Breadmaker Challah

September 20th, 2021

Makes one large or two small loaves. Ingredients 2 tablespoons dried yeast (two packages) ½ cup sugar 2 cups luke warm water 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed, aka flaxseed meal (NOT whole flaxseeds)* 2 tablespoons canola oil 4 – 5 cups King[...]

Ha’azinu: God Calls on the Earth to Hear God’s Words, by Amalia Haas

Ha’azinu: God Calls on the Earth to Hear God’s Words, by Amalia Haas

September 17th, 2021

If we have the courage to open our hearts to the Mussar of Shmita we see that all lives emanate equally from the One. They have the same claim to nurturance and protection and well-being as do we, to resources[...]

Vayelech: Release Yourselves, The Shmita Year Has Arrived, by Miriam Midlarsky Lichtenfeld

Vayelech: Release Yourselves, The Shmita Year Has Arrived, by Miriam Midlarsky Lichtenfeld

September 9th, 2021

"In choosing a way to mark Shmita, inspired by the Hakhel ceremony in this week’s parsha, we will be honoring our heritage and rededicating ourselves to the earth, the environment, and the Torah." In our parsha, Vayelech, Moses instructs the priests[...]

Nitzavim: The Great Equalizer, by Sarah Zell Young

Nitzavim: The Great Equalizer, by Sarah Zell Young

September 2nd, 2021

Shmita is not only about the seventh year, shmita is a cycle preceded by 6 other years. It invites us to inventory ourselves, our choices and our middos, character traits, in the previous cycle and envision how we want to[...]

Beginning a new chapter, together

Beginning a new chapter, together

September 2nd, 2021

Friends,  I step into the Hazon CEO role with deep gratitude for everything that has been built over the past 21 years, and with great appreciation for the amazing staff, boards, and supporters of Hazon, Isabella Freedman, and Pearlstone. Together, we[...]

Hakhel Newsletter September 2021

Hakhel Newsletter September 2021

August 31st, 2021

What's Inside: Sharing Resources | In the Spotlight Shalom,  About 4 months ago Israel announced it had “overcame Covid”, opened everything and life returned to normal, to how it used to be before 2020.  A few other countries were about to initiate similar[...]

An Ending, and Two Beginnings (7 of 7)

An Ending, and Two Beginnings (7 of 7)

August 26th, 2021

Thursday, August 26, 2021 | 18 Elul 5781   Nigel: Hi! Jakir: Shalom!  You did it!  I’m not sure how you pulled it off, but you made it to the holy land! N: Yep. I’m now in bidud, the word the Israelis use for “quarantine”[...]

Ki Tavo: Remembering History, by Ruth Messinger

Ki Tavo: Remembering History, by Ruth Messinger

August 26th, 2021

"This is a core principal of shmita to let the fields rest and allow the hungry to eat from them. In a country where there is gross food insecurity, in a world where people are suffering environmental calamities and dangerous[...]

Why does shmita matter? (6 of 7)

Why does shmita matter? (6 of 7)

August 20th, 2021

Friday, August 20, 2021 | 12 Elul 5781   Dear All, I admit that I am baffled by Jeopardy!, and why people care about it. (What’s wrong with University Challenge?) But Jeopardy does remind us to ask this: what questions does shmita come to[...]

Ki Teitzei: Letting the Mother Go, by Aharon Ariel Lavi

Ki Teitzei: Letting the Mother Go, by Aharon Ariel Lavi

August 19th, 2021

 With one hand we acquire the eggs or the fledglings (or the crops) but with the other we let the mother go (or leave something for the poor to live on). Recognizing the fact that using natural resources for our[...]

Israel (5 of 7)

Israel (5 of 7)

August 13th, 2021

Friday, August 13, 2021 | 5 Elul 5781   Dear All, The second day of the 2005 Israel Ride was on Thursday, May 12th. The day before we had ridden from Jerusalem to Ashkelon. Now we were riding to Mashabeh Sadeh, alongside the northern tip[...]

Shoftim: Why Do We Need Judges and Police? By Michael J. Broyde

Shoftim: Why Do We Need Judges and Police? By Michael J. Broyde

August 12th, 2021

Moses appointed police officers over the tribes but did not mention any judges. One might think, if we cannot have judges, at the least our society should have police.  But, actually this is wrong.  Police cannot be the law – they[...]

Climate at a tipping point: What do we do? (4 of 7)

Climate at a tipping point: What do we do? (4 of 7)

August 6th, 2021

Friday, August 6, 2021 | 28 Av 5781   Dear All, You might think this email would for me be easy and obvious. But it has been the hardest one to write. I want to convey some seemingly contradictory ideas.  It has been right[...]

Re’eh: Seeing the Unseen, By Devorah Brous

Re’eh: Seeing the Unseen, By Devorah Brous

August 5th, 2021

"When Moses stands in front of the tribes of Israel before they enter the holy land he gives a choice to follow the path of greed and exploitation or to choose life.  In rewilding, may we learn to see the[...]

Does Jewish tradition support my politics? (3 of 7)

Does Jewish tradition support my politics? (3 of 7)

July 28th, 2021

Thursday, July 29, 2021 | 20 Av 5781   Dear All, There was the first time I went on this thing called Facebook. It asked my religion, so I wrote "Manchester United." It asked my politics, so I wrote “Jewish.” We can talk some other time[...]

Hakhel Newsletter July 2021

Hakhel Newsletter July 2021

July 27th, 2021

What's Inside: Sharing Resources | Upcoming Events and Opportunities | In the Spotlight Have you felt like you needed to take some time off? Have you ever wondered where Academia got the idea of a Sabbatical Year from? In 6 weeks we will[...]

Ekev: Nature Imitates Humanity, by Yehudis Fishman

Ekev: Nature Imitates Humanity, by Yehudis Fishman

July 23rd, 2021

Sometimes we have to tread lightly, even on holy land, so that we can recall the ultimate Source of food, wealth, and our own lives.  The entanglement of humanity and nature threads throughout the Torah, especially in Parshat Ekev. Sometimes it[...]

Some thoughts for funders (2 of 7)

Some thoughts for funders (2 of 7)

July 22nd, 2021

Thursday, July 22, 2021 | 13 Av 5781  One big idea – and a few smaller ones. Dear All, First: gratitude. I don’t take anyone’s gift to Hazon for granted. (If it ever seemed like I did, I apologize.) We’re an imperfect organization, but[...]

Va’etchanan: Strengthen Your Spiritual Health, by Akiva Gersh

Va’etchanan: Strengthen Your Spiritual Health, by Akiva Gersh

July 21st, 2021

That is Shmita. Stop plowing, stop planting, stop weeding, stop watering, stop harvesting in our normal ways (or the modern-day parallel to these things) and use that freed-up time to start studying more, reading more, praying more, meditating more, sitting[...]

Leadership and failure (1 of 7)

Leadership and failure (1 of 7)

July 15th, 2021

Thursday, July 15, 2021 | 6 Av 5781    Dear All, As I step down as CEO, this is the first of seven emails, reflecting on a range of different topics, to the Hazon list, roughly weekly from today. That’ll take us from now[...]

Devarim: Zion will be redeemed through justice: what Shmita teaches us about Tisha B’Av and the promise of Devarim, by Rabbi David Seidenberg

Devarim: Zion will be redeemed through justice: what Shmita teaches us about Tisha B’Av and the promise of Devarim, by Rabbi David Seidenberg

July 12th, 2021

"On Tisha B’Av, we imagine that the land mourns with us. But that’s our human-centered way of seeing things. From God’s perspective, which is closer to an ecological perspective, the well-being of the land comes first. When humanity violates the[...]

Stepping down as CEO; Hazon merger

Stepping down as CEO; Hazon merger

July 8th, 2021

July 8, 2021 | 28 Tammuz 5781   Dear All, Here’s the statement that Hazon & Pearlstone have just released. All the rest (of this email) is commentary… I’m stepping down as CEO after 21 years. It is bittersweet. I love this organization, and I[...]

Matot-Masei: The Land is Our Mother, by Rabbi Sam Feinsmith

Matot-Masei: The Land is Our Mother, by Rabbi Sam Feinsmith

July 6th, 2021

“They journeyed...and camped...and journeyed…” (Numbers 33:3-49). The nomadic lifestyle of the people, their constant journeying, encamping, and journeying once again as the spirit moved them served to remind them that they were but visitors upon this earth, here for a[...]

Pinchas: Of Names and Land, by Ilana Stein

Pinchas: Of Names and Land, by Ilana Stein

June 27th, 2021

What is so important about this story? It is not necessarily or only about equal rights. With our ‘shmita’ caps on, at all points at which this narrative is told, it is a message to the men who have the[...]

Balak: A Right-Sizing Blessing, by Fred Scherlinder Dobb

Balak: A Right-Sizing Blessing, by Fred Scherlinder Dobb

June 23rd, 2021

הִנֵּ֥ה בָרֵ֖ךְ לָקָ֑חְתִּי וּבֵרֵ֖ךְ וְלֹ֥א אֲשִׁיבֶֽנָּה׃ “Behold, I’m bidden to bless:  And God has blessed; I cannot / will not reverse it.” (Numbers 23:20) What’s a blessing, anyway?!  The root bet-resh-khaf, in biblical context, can mean gifting, predicting, describing, cursing, magnifying, and more.  That[...]

Chukat: Child Sacrifice and Shmita, by Rabbi Gila Caine

Chukat: Child Sacrifice and Shmita, by Rabbi Gila Caine

June 14th, 2021

"But Shmita teaches us that we are only guests here on the Land, and it teaches us that we are always planning for at least seven years in the future, if not for forty-nine or fifty. When we think in[...]

Parshat Korach: The Taker, by Hannah Elovitz

Parshat Korach: The Taker, by Hannah Elovitz

June 8th, 2021

"As the climate crisis worsens, the ground opening up and swallowing Korach’s band does not feel as far-fetched as it once may have. The earth is not an endless supply of resources for our consumption, and greed will only exacerbate[...]

Shlach: Moving Forward with Faith, by Bruce Spierer

Shlach: Moving Forward with Faith, by Bruce Spierer

June 2nd, 2021

“Now if you should say to yourselves: What are we to eat in the seventh year? For we may not sow, we may not gather our produce! Then I will dispatch my blessing for you during the sixth year so[...]

Behaalotecha: Until Miryam Was Brought Back, by Dr. Gregory Mobley

Behaalotecha: Until Miryam Was Brought Back, by Dr. Gregory Mobley

May 26th, 2021

“and the people did not set out until Miryam was brought back”  (Numbers 12:15) I have a thing for stories so the section of Behaalotecha that attracted my attention was the scene in Numbers 12:1-16 in which Miryam is struck by[...]

Getting down to bedrock

Getting down to bedrock

May 24th, 2021

Tuesday, May 25, 2021 | 14 Sivan 5781   Dear All, Many of the arguments that divide contemporary Jewish life come down to different readings of what it means to be Jewish. I want to offer some of my own thoughts on this. Before[...]

Naso: Disciplining the Green Eyed Monster, by Dr. Susan Eisenstein

Naso: Disciplining the Green Eyed Monster, by Dr. Susan Eisenstein

May 19th, 2021

At one time or another we have all been visited by "the green eyed monster." Maybe you know someone who just bought a new car and you cannot afford a new car. Maybe a work colleague just received a promotion[...]

Bamidbar: Grow, Grow, by Dr. Susan Eisenstein

Bamidbar: Grow, Grow, by Dr. Susan Eisenstein

May 4th, 2021

I have always loved land. Although a city kid, from the time I was five years old, I remember wanting to live on a farm. I loved seeing things grow and planting seeds for food and flowers. Every plant to[...]