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Hazon Blog

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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[...]

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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[...]