This week is lech lecha — the start of the journey. At this pivot point of bereishit we learn that the formation of a Jewish family, in this case the first Jewish family, is intertwined with a journey — not only a physical journey, but also a journey of self-exploration, of growing as a child, of becoming one’s own self. And this year, parshat lech lecha coincides with Teva’s 20th birthday, so I wanted especially to say a couple of words about Teva — about how vital Jewish experiential education is, and ways we might engage with it.
First of all: I salute those who founded and stewarded Teva, over a great length of time. Teva is very much the product of a process of evolution — people creating, innovating, treasuring, nurturing, in really beautiful ways. Every year I’ve visited the Teva sukkah at Isabella Freedman, and it is the very opposite of a sukkah-in-a-box; it is a sukkah built with love, different every year, infused with song and wine, trembling sometimes in the wind.
As Adamah, Teva, and Isabella Freedman become part of the new larger Hazon, going forwards, we are excited by all the possibilities that lie ahead for crafting creative, transformative, and experiential Jewish environmental education.
Shomrei Adamah, Teva’s flagship program, integrates outdoor environmental education with Jewish concepts and values through exciting hands-on activities, awareness of the natural world, lively singing, and experiential learning. Designed for 5th and 6th grade Jewish day school students, Shomrei Adamah leads participants to develop a greater connection with and understanding of the world around them. Students also develop skills in teamwork, communication, and personal growth. As they gain a sense of responsibility for the world, students culminate their experience by making a brit adamah (covenant with the earth), committing to one meaningful personal change to improve the world. Previous commitments have included replacing disposable plastic with reusable water bottles; substituting washable hand towels for paper towels; or crafting an at-home composting system. This fall, over 550 students from 33 Jewish Day Schools in the northeast will join Teva in learning about what they can do to change the world and nurture their love for the earth.
This past April, Teva also ran an inaugural Shomrei Adamah program at Ramah Darom in Clayton, Georgia to serve Jewish day schools in the southeastern United States. We’re delighted that due to its success and increasing interest from regional schools, we look forward to adding an additional week this coming March.
In May and June, Teva offers a camping and wilderness adventure program back at Isabella Freedman. The program, named Achdoot (togetherness) for its focus on group-building and leadership development is designed for 7th and 8th grade Jewish day school students.
While we already partner with many schools in the Philadelphia to Boston corridor, we are eager for more schools to join in the Teva experience. If you know of a school that would like to enhance its science and Judaic studies programs and offer its students a distinctly unique education opportunity by attending Teva, please email Yishai Cohen.
• If you’re in the Philadelphia area later this month, please join us for our first ever Hazon Food Festival in Philadelphia on October 20th;
• Our Jewish Intentional Communities Conference at Pearlstone in Maryland in November already has more than a hundred people registered. It’s going to be a historically significant event – if you’re planning to come you should sign up very soon;
• Registration is now open for the Hazon Food Conference to be held for the first time over new year’s eve. We have amazing teachers and amazing food, plus a great band for our new year’s eve party. If you’re planning to come, now is the time to sign up.
Kol tuv, Shabbat shalom,
Executive Director, Hazon
PS. And a big mazal tov to long time Teva educator Cara Michelle Silverberg on receiving a 2013 Harold Grinspoon Award for Excellence in Jewish Education for her innovative work with the Jewish Community of Amherst, MA.
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Join Hazon, Isabella Freedman, and the Pearlstone Center for the first ever Jewish Intentional Communties Conference. Learn about the Jewish historical and cultural roots of intentional living, learn tools and skills for your own communal application, meet new friends from diverse and pluralistic Jewish communities, and celebrate Shabbat with an amazing group of people. Be sure to register before prices rise on October 15th!
Please join the filmmakers for the US Premiere of
FRINGES: NEW ADVENTURES IN JEWISH LIVING,
a film by Paula Weiman-Kelman and Jonathan Lopatin. Premiere co-sponsored by Hazon, Mechon Hadar, the New Israel Fund and the Jewish Theological Seminary.
This riveting new documentary follows three stories of spiritual innovation — the Secular Yeshiva in Jerusalem, The Ghetto Shul in Montreal and Stony Lonesome Organic Farm in Virginia. These stories — vibrant, quirky, moving — are braided together, like the fringes of a tallit, to create an inspiring portrait of Judaism at the beginning of the 21st century.
Tuesday, November 5th – 7:30 pm
The JCC of Manhattan: 334 Amsterdam Ave
To order tickets please call 646-505-5708 or go to http://www.jccmanhattan.org/film
Greening Seminar: Building Community and Consciousness During the Shmita (Sabbatical) Year
With one year until the next Shmita, plan now for ways your community can renew this ancient tradition. This seminar is an opportunity to think about the types of programs and services that your agency or synagogue can provide to put the Shmita principles of nurturing community and sharing resources into action.
Tuesday, October 29th – 10:15 am – 12:30 pm
UJA-Federation of New York – 130 East 59th Street
For more information and to register, please click here.