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Topic: Activism

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Gratitude… and getting ready…

Friday, August 23, 2019 | 22 Av 5779Dear All,It’s summertime. This email is full of gratitude and the inspiration to strive to do good in the world.Years ago I learned from Anna Hanau this line from one of her teachers – you know you’re on the right track when your solution to one problem solves a bunch of other ones.That’s true of our work in Michigan, epitomized by the Hazon Michigan Jewish Food Festival – and last weekend we held our fourth, the largest and most successful yet, with over 7,000 people. We’re helping to drive change. We’re helping Jewish organizations to become more sustainable, including the now 20 who are in our Hazon Seal of Sustainability program from the Detroit region. We’re strengthening local food systems. We’re playing a not insignificant role in helping to reconnect the suburbs and the city, and the Jewish community and the African American community, and we’re especially proud of the work we’ve done in supporting Oakland Avenue Urban Farm. And we’re doing all this with love and celebration and Jewish groundedness and openness. So: real gratitude. Huge thanks to our staff and funders, to all our partner organizations, to our volunteers and helpers, to all the purveyors and […]

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Eikev and the Seven Species | D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

by Sarah Rockford, JOFEE Fellow Cohort 4, Maine Jewish Food Network at Colby College Center for Small Town Jewish Life – Waterville, ME Parshat Eikev Fourteen years ago I read from parshat Eikev as a bat mitzvah. As I stood on the bimah and chanted my way through the aliyot, I reflected briefly that the eleventh-hour cramming I’d done over the past hours seemed to be paying off, but reading the final aliyah my concentration waivered, and I lost my place in the scroll. I continued to chant the Hebrew words I’d memorized while theatrically moving the lost yad along the rows of letters on the parchment. When I ran out of words in my head I stopped chanting and shot a desperate look at the rabbi—hoping he would reorient me so I could finish the portion. Our eyes met, he smiled, and congratulated me. I’d finished the aliyah from memory without realizing, and no one was the wiser for my mistake. Relieved and full of adrenaline I started to cry as the congregation began to sing Siman Tov U’Mazal Tov. I believe everyone thought I was having a profound spiritual moment, but these were tears of relief. I was just happy the […]

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October Is Farm to School Month!

Nine years have passed since the USDA Farm to School Grant Program was successfully launched in 2010, and school food service providers still find it tough to access locally grown foods. Despite increased connectivity to farmers, logistical and cost hurdles still keep many schools from sourcing local.  With all the abundance of summer harvests, many growers would love to grow for schools. Caitlin Frame, who co-owns the Milkhouse in Monmouth, ME, has had success. “I find that to be the most exciting thing that we’re doing right now – trying to get our yogurt into school systems.” But it hasn’t come without challenges. It is kind of hard to track down the right people at these schools,” Caitlin says. For farmers who face other structural barriers, selling to schools is even more complicated. It is time to prioritize beginning, veteran, and socially disadvantaged farmers in farm to school initiatives. Now is our chance! Congress is beginning to draft the next Child Nutrition Act Reauthorization (CNR), and they need to hear from you! This is our opportunity to make it easier for schools to source local food and provide funding for innovative projects like school gardens and seasonal vegetable taste-testing that […]

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Harvesting and Baking our Heritage | D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

by Hannah Fine – Hazon Detroit Parshat Shelach In parshat Shelach, Moses sent twelve spies to scout out the land of Canaan and report back to the Israelites. All of the spies returned with the same objective report. It was a land of milk and honey brimming with fruit and sustenance. There were grapes, and figs, and pomegranates which they even brought back to show Moses and the Israelites. The spies also reported that the inhabitants of the land were mighty and intimidating. While all twelve spies saw the same land and shared the same observations, they were split between two opposing conclusions. Ten of the spies were convinced that the formidability of the inhabitants meant certain demise for the Israelites. Doom was a foregone conclusion so it was not even worth trying. The other two spies, Caleb and Joshua, had a different interpretation. They were confident that, despite the strength of the peoples and societies in Canaan, the Israelites could overcome it. Caleb and Joshua contended that the greatness of the Promised Land was worth the challenge.  At Hazon Detroit, we are working to overcome a formidable structure that exists in our land: the lopsided nature Michigan’s grain industry. […]

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Rabbi Nate

The Bread of Healing

Rabbi Nate DeGroot gave the following sermon at St. John’s Evangelist Temple of Truth in Detroit, MI on Sunday, June 16, 2019, right next to Oakland Avenue Urban Farm, one of Hazon Detroit’s main partners. Jerry Hebron, Executive Director and Founder of Oakland Avenue Farm grew up at this church, as her mom has been the Reverend there for decades. Rabbi DeGroot’s sermon served as an invitation to Hazon Detroit’s Breaking Bread Together program happening Sunday, June 23, and was teaching about the role of bread and breaking bread together within the Jewish tradition. Good morning! And thank you all so much for having me here. My name is Rabbi Nate DeGroot and it is truly an honor to be here with you. Reverend Carter, I want to thank you for welcoming me so warmly into this beautiful community To join with you in praise this morning And to offer some words of Torah, some words of Jewish teaching from my tradition. Jerry, I’d also like to thank you for connecting me with your mom, and for being such a meaningful support and advocate for me this year. I stand here today with you as a representative of Hazon Detroit, […]

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Hazon Joins NSAC: Update and Action

Hazon is now an allied member of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. As a coalition member, Hazon joins a diverse range of organizations in supporting food and farm policies that build a healthier and more sustainable world. NSAC members rely on the coalition’s expert staff on Capitol Hill to let us know when and how we can be most effective advocates so that we can each focus on what we do best. The Stone Barns Center can focus on farmer-driven cuisine; The Humane Society can focus on animal rescue; The Practical Farmers of Iowa can focus on farmer-led conservation research; and Hazon can focus on renewing Jewish life via the land – all while being in relationship with the representatives and policies that affect our work in every imaginable way. The recommendations you find in our Food and Farm Policy Updates and Action Alerts here on the blog will largely be informed by the recommendations of our partners at The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. We are grateful to live in a world where, despite the steep difficulties we face, diverse groups of motivated individuals join together in solidarity to build on one another’s strengths and to create the world we know […]

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Hazon Seal Spotlight: Celebrating Our Participating Sites

Happy Earth Day! We want to celebrate by honoring the institutions that were awarded the Hazon Seal of Sustainability in 2018. Read on to learn about some of the awesome projects they have implemented this past year. Every organization is at a different place in their sustainability journey, and we encourage you to check out the list to get inspired by these Hazon Seal Sites! Adat Shalom Synagogue   Ramah in the Rockies (Denver, CO)- Composting and education, Organic and fair trade beverages, Farm-to-table foods Congregation Nevei Kodesh (Boulder, CO)- 50% energy reduction via LED lights, boiler upgrade, automatic switches & plugging of leaks, Bike-to-shul event & bike racks installation, Vegetable gardens Hillel at Colorado State University (Fort Collins, CO)- Bike workshops, donation and rack installation, Insulation changes, Cloth napkins for all Shabbat meals, saving 2k paper napkins yearly Edlavitch DCJCC (Washington, DC)- Gardening program, Signage, Sustainability presentations Edlavitch DCJCC   Temple Solel (Hollywood, FL)- Plastic-free events, Energy saving programs, King Tide event, Vegetarian Potluck for Parshat Noah, Sustainability education and events UChicago Hillel (Chicago, IL)- Composting, Community Education, Food donation, Green Shabbats Jewish Community of Louisville (Louisville, KY)- Recycling and Composting, Healthy snacks, Styrofoam reduction JCC of Louisville   […]

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Hazon Seal Spotlight: King Tide Event

Temple Solel (FL) By Stephanie Jofe and Ariel Marantz For any questions or comments for Temple Solel, please reach out to us and we are happy to make the shidduch! Click here for the associated blog post with more resources for your institution! — Being that Temple Solel is located only a few miles from the ocean and many of our congregants live even closer than that, the issue of sea level rise and the health of our oceans is of existential importance to us. Therefore, many of Tikkun Olam Committee’s activities have focused on climate change, sea level rise and protecting the oceans. Toward that end, Temple Solel has:   Formed the Sea Level Rise Solutions Group, an interfaith organization that works to educate the community about sea level rise. Our major annual program is our King Tide Event where over 100 community members – including Temple Solel congregants, Broward College students, several local elementary school through high school students, local politicians and community members – come together during the King Tide to observe, measure and learn about the sea level rise in our community. We have also compiled a “how to” document for other synagogues (or any group) […]

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Farm Bill: Update and Action

It is springtime on the farm which means that seedlings are sprouting in the greenhouse, the peepers are singing at dusk in Lake Miriam at Isabella Freedman, and lovers of food and earth are calling congress about agricultural appropriations. Thanks to millions of grassroots actions, the 2018 Farm Bill was passed with many important programs for sustainable agriculture and healthy eating. However, many of those programs need to be funded annually by Congress through the appropriations process. Appropriations is a process full of nitty-gritty details and back-and-forths so it can seem off-putting to engage with. However, urging a healthier and more sustainable world for everybody hinges on it and you can participate without going cross-eyed with the fine print! Below is a script that we at Hazon recommend you use when calling your member of Congress. You can read more about each of the issues, however, you don’t have to to make a difference and call! While your individual Senator or Representative might not be on the agricultural appropriations committee and thus might not have influence over the draft appropriations bill, it is very useful for them to know where you stand as a constituent so they can make public […]

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Testimony: Proposed Revised Supplemental Finding for the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards and Results of the Residual Risk and Technology Review

On March 18, 2019, Dr. Mirele B. Goldsmith testified at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on behalf of the Jewish Climate Action Network for stronger mercury standards. Below are her remarks. My name is Dr. Mirele B. Goldsmith. I am a member of Congregation Adat Shalom in Bethesda, MD, a leader of Jewish Climate Action Network, and an environmental psychologist. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to testify. In this time of deep division in our country, I’m proud to be here with a group of 20 leaders of different faiths who will testify today.   We have our differences, but when it comes to the mercury rule we all agree that it would be immoral to weaken the current life-saving standards. The current leadership of the EPA claims that the cost of this rule is not worth the benefits. What are those benefits? According to the EPA itself, the current mercury pollution standards avoid up to 11,000 premature deaths, along with heart attacks, asthma attacks and brain damage to infants and children exposed to mercury in the womb. In one of the most famous lines in the Talmud our ancient rabbis also discuss cost-benefit analysis, but their conclusion is […]

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Food and Farm Policy: Update and Action

Important food and farm policy work moved forward this winter amid all of the daunting political news. On December 20th the 2018 Farm Bill became law. The law’s passage was a win simply in that it allowed the continued function of crucial programs that address issues like hunger prevention and price stabilization. Thanks to widespread public advocacy, there were also specific wins for sustainability. Keep reading to learn more about the good and bad of the law, about the work ahead in influencing implementation, and crucial action steps you can take today. If you don’t have time or energy to absorb the details of our update but want to join the throngs of individual citizens nudging those in power toward a more equitable and climate-friendly food system, you can skip to the script at the end and call your legislators! The overwhelming state of our national politics won’t stop the Jewish community from participating in the greatest work of our generation: combating climate change and inequity. Update Passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, which became law on December 20th, was critical to the continued basic functions of the farming and food systems in the U.S. Hazon applauds lawmakers for slugging their […]

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Farm Bill Update

A few weeks ago we wrote about the hugely important Farm Bill. Well, the 2014 Farm Bill has now expired and our legislators have postponed taking any action until after the mid-term elections. This means several valuable programs are immediately unfunded and the direction that our food system takes in the coming years depends hugely on who wins in November. We encourage you to read the brief update that we’ve pasted below from the National Young Farmers Coalition and take action on this important issue, and to make sure you and your community are all registered and ready to vote. We’ll continue to keep you updated when Congress picks the Farm Bill back up. On September 30th Congress allowed the 2014 Farm Bill to expire without a new bill in place or an extension passed. Thus, the following key programs, among others, will no longer be funded: Value-Added Producer Grants (VAPG) Outreach and Assistance to Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program (2501) Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program (FMLFPP) Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentives (FINI) Program National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program (NOCCSP) Rural Microentrepreneur […]

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Listen Ya’ll! | D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

by Alex Voynow, Jewish Farm School  Parshat Haazinu [NOTE: Applications for the next JOFEE Fellowship cohort are open now through October 5! Apply today!] In Ha’azinu, Moses sees the Israelites for who they are: humans, scarred by 40 years of impatient wandering and in no mood to listen obediently. Moses is 120 years old and holds so much wisdom; this is the last day before his death, and he has some things to say. He has the story of his life to tell, which in his epic personal union with the Israelite people is also the story of God. He needs them to understand, like the tender, concerned patriarch that he is, how to live in God’s favor so they can blossom into the promised land and not mess up this covenant (fast-forward: oops).   What he has to say is so important that he does something that really resonates with me. Moses speaks language that heaven and earth themselves will understand, and in a language that will more likely move the people: in song. He launches into a 48-verse poem doing his damnedest to sum up his life’s spiritual learnings. I’m not going to get into it because it’s densely […]

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