Topic: Adamah

Calling the Congregation – D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

Jacob Weiss – Hazon at Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center Parashat Beha’alotcha “Make thee two trumpets of silver; of beaten work shalt thou make them; and they shall be unto thee for the calling of the congregation… And when they shall blow with them, all the congregation shall gather themselves unto thee at the door of the tent of meeting.” Bamidbar perek yud, pasuk bet (Numbers 10:2) I recently recalled to a friend— just after our festival of Shavuot — that I had now been in attendance at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center for all three of the Shalosh Regalim, which are the three main pilgrimage festivals. Shavuot, Passover, and Sukkot all took on very different energies at Isabella Freedman. There remained a constant, though: the spirit, joy, and sheer heart that was poured into those festivals by everyone who attended, and by everyone who worked so tirelessly to make those retreat and community gatherings manifest. An incredible sense of community occurs during Jewish holiday retreats at Isabella Freedman, where I am currently a JOFEE Fellow. After spending the seven weeks of the Omer preparing ourselves, the Jewish people traditionally celebrate the festival of Shavuot to commemorate the receiving of […]

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In the Sukkah We Trust – D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

Rachel Binstock, Urban Adamah – Berkeley, CA Parashat Breishit + Sukkot Editor’s Note: Welcome to D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog! Most weeks throughout the year, you’ll be hearing from the JOFEE Fellows: reflections on their experiences, successful programs they’ve planned and implemented, gleanings from the field, and connections to the weekly Torah portion and what they’ve learned from their experiences with place in their host communities for the year. Views expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily represent Hazon. Be sure to check back weekly!  P.S. Interested in being or hosting a JOFEE Fellow? Applications for cohort two are now open for both prospective fellows and prospective host institutions! Priority Deadline is October 31! Of all the Jewish holidays, I learn most about trust on Sukkot. Why? you might ask. After the New Year and the Day of Atonement, is not Sukkot the holiday of celebration and happiness? Sukkot is about trust for a few reasons. We build ourselves sukkahs – impermanent booths in which we are commanded to dwell – and in so doing we find ourselves up-rooted. We create a new home susceptible to the elements and porous to the sky. The holiday necessitates a release of control, a faith that […]

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Listen and Gather: Jewish Rain Makers – D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

Jessica Berlin, Hazon: Transformative Experiences, Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center – Falls Village, CT Sukkot and Parashat Ha’azinu Editor’s Note: Welcome to D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog! Most weeks throughout the year, you’ll be hearing from the JOFEE Fellows: reflections on their experiences, successful programs they’ve planned and implemented, gleanings from the field, and connections to the weekly Torah portion and what they’ve learned from their experiences with place in their host communities for the year. Views expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily represent Hazon. Be sure to check back weekly!  P.S. Interested in being or hosting a JOFEE Fellow? Applications for cohort two are now open for both prospective fellows and prospective host institutions!  On a hot summer day in late August, I led a group of young adults on a tour of the Adamah farm on BeeBee Hill at Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center. The inscription above the gateway, “And God saw that it was good,” reminds us of a classic JOFEE interpretation of the Genesis creation story: that the interdependent relationships found in nature are fundamentally good; and that by emulating these relationships, humans can learn to create more sustainable relationships with one another and the land. We […]

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Feeling The Gratitude Of Our Bounty And The Pride In Our Colleagues

by Mordechai Schram, Director of Food Services It seems like just yesterday that we celebrated Shavuot/Yom Habikurim with a celebration of First Fruits – reveling in the tingling fresh taste of our delicious Shavuot Schav Shooters – Schav, is a delicious Sorrell and Potato Soup served hot or cold and made with Sorrell from Adamah Farms. Now that we are in early August, our fruits and veggies are in full abundance, and they have begun making their way to our kitchen in their full glory. So many colors, flavors and textures from the Collards, Kale, Cucumbers, Salad Turnips, Salad Greens, Romaine, Oregano and Basil. Today we held our second annual Farm & Table Team Farm Tour (say that 5 times fast). We toured the farm together and learned how the farmers grow such bounty without the use of chemicals- through the use of crop rotation, the creation of habitat for beneficial insects that help control pests, the mile high compost piles of food waste decomposing into rich fertilizer, drip irrigation technology (developed is Israel) and more. A fine and fun day was had by all. Now is a glorious time to be here at the farm, so we look forward to […]

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Journey to freedom at Isabella Freedman

by Mordechai Schram, Director of Food Services Dear friends, in my last blog post I wrote about the delicious sourdough breads that we have been making here in the kitchens of Isabella Freedman… And now for something completely different. Pesach is almost upon us, and we are now beginning our journey in earnest from from slavery to freedom. We begin this journey by freeing ourselves from the hametz in our lives both physically and spiritually. Hametz refers to anything that is leavened, and hazal, our sages of blessed memory, make the spiritual connection to hametz to refer to puffery and arrogance in ourselves. As we clean every nook and cranny in our stoves, ovens, refrigerators and cabinets, we also search deeply in our own neshamot (souls) to identify the spiritual hametz in ourselves toward becoming our best selves as we begin this incredible journey from slavery to freedom to matan torah (receiving Torah). But make no mistake about it, the work is very physical. Here at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center kitchen, we are scrubbing and torching and scraping everything and getting ready for what will be an amazing Pesach here at the farm, b’h. Our staff – chefs, porters, dining hall and mashgichim –  […]

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Adamah Farm and Table: Journey to Red Barn Produce

by Mordechai Schram, Director of Adamah Food Services Yesterday, the Adamah Farm and Table team took to the road to visit Kevin Terr, owner of our produce supplier Red Barn Produce in Highland, NY. It was an amazing trip where we learned about all the ways that Red Barn supports local farms and sustainable farming practices. Red Barn, a family owned business in operation for over 20 years, had identified the need for a local and specialty fruit and vegetable distributor here in the Hudson Valley. They work with more than 30 local farms to bring the best of what the bountiful Hudson Valley has to offer in seasonal and sustainable fruits and vegetables. In addition to fresh produce, they also distribute local farm-fresh dairy items, grains, and artisanal foods. They support equal exchange practices for produce grown outside of the US, utilize controlled atmosphere technology for apple preservation, and contract with local farms to do freezing and canning thereby extending our access to local fruits and veggies throughout the winter. They are true and valued partners with us here at Hazon/Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center helping us to create a healthier and more sustainable Jewish community and a healthier […]

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From the Field – Fall 2015

Blog post from Janna Siller, Adamah Farm Field Manager One way to look at farming is as the practice of moving carbon around. A plant takes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, creates its’ body with the carbon, and then we eat the plant, thus creating our own bodies and fueling our daily “modeh ani” prayer, our bike rides up Johnson Road, and our active listening. As we spread all that hay across the garlic beds I thought about the crop of fat green cabbage that had grown right there a few weeks ago. I imagined those cabbage plants grabbing c02 from the air and combining it with water and nutrients from the soil. I remembered carrying heavy crates of them up the hill and saw the dark brown dirt below me, bare and empty of the food it produced. I looked at the hay in my hands and imagined it when the alfalfa and timothy grass plants were alive, growing bucolically in a field in nearby Canaan, CT; combining CO2 with water to create those long stems of pure fuel. And here I was, putting organic matter back onto soil, just playing a game of carbon reshuffling. Carbon from our field […]

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Reflections on 12 Years of the Adamah Fellowship

When Adam Berman and I started the Adamah Fellowship in 2003, we had a handful of young people, a garden no bigger than the average suburban backyard, and an assortment of classes, programs and half-formed ideas we put together from our years at Teva and Camp Tawonga, guiding wilderness trips, and teaching community college. There were no goats, no pickles, no Adamah house and no final presentations called “Speak your truth.” The Jewish Food Movement did not yet exist, and there was essentially one destination – Isabella Freedman – for young Jews who wanted to combine their passion for Judaism and environmentalism. Fast forward 12 years: Our 10-acre farm production goals are carefully planned, our morning prayer services are more carefully rooted in the tradition, our new pickle labels are made of a low-impact calcium paper, our orchards are bearing fruit, and the ways we speak about pluralistic community are more nuanced. We have a CSA and we donate food. We have moved out of the risky floodplain that was the original sadeh, and built the resilient and diverse Kaplan Family Farm on Beebe Hill. Our farm and all our products are certified organic. The number of JOFFEE programs we […]

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Where Are They Now?

Adamah Alumni Updates Josh Lichtman (Summer 2005) lives in New Orleans, has two young children, and is working on a Masters degree in urban planning. Steve Sherman and Glenn Katz (’11-’13) are working at a dairy in Tuscany for the second half of the Shmita year. Rachel Ackoff (Summer 2011) is working as a Senior Organizer at American Jewish World Service to mobilize the American Jewish community and other supporters of human rights to end violence against women and LGBT people globally. Tova Boehm (Summer 2006) owns and operates Short Winter Soups, a soup subscription business delivering locally grounded, inspired soups on a weekly basis in central North Carolina. (Rabbi) Adina Allen (Fall 2005), her husband Jeff Kasowitz and their little one Remy Ner are thrilled to have recently moved back to the Bay Area where they are launching a new Jewish learning and creative arts organization called The Jewish Studio Project. Jacob Perlman (Summer 2006) is in a masters program for occupational therapy in Minneapolis. Laura Held (Summer 2009) moved to Rochester, NY, to work at Foodlink as an Eat Smart New York (ESNY) Community Nutrition Educator. Emma Stuhl (Fall 2011) is getting her masters at the University of […]

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Adamah Alumni Spotlight: Ahron Lerman, Fall 2006

It’s been a surprisingly long eight and a half years since I did Adamah in the fall of 2006. I was just 22 then, and had recently returned from a stint trading farm work for room & board as a WWOOFer in Kealakekua, HI. It occurred to me then that Judaism and natural cycles shared something more in common than I had been led to believe, and it was on that conviction that I applied to Adamah. Those three months spent ankle-deep in compost and soul-deep in community helped shape the mindset and language with which I’ve come to my current work as an Urban Forester with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation & Recreation’s Greening the Gateway Cities program in Holyoke, MA. As an urban forester, my job can be delightfully simple: plant trees. On the other hand, there is something profoundly unsettling about work whose success is ultimately based on maturity measured in decades. I approach work each day (sometimes humming an Avodat Lev melody) carefully balancing the attitude that those truths bring about. Besides its everlasting melodies, I feel Adamah’s most meaningful impacts when I go through the daily routines that comprise my life. I learned at Adamah […]

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