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Topic: Adamah

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Abundance on Less Land

Last year at this time, we stared out beyond the sinking candles of our menorahs with eyes as glazed as jelly donuts. We had spent the previous ten winters looking ahead to a farming season of expansion. Each year from our humble garden beginnings in 2003 we had grown to our peak in 2013 with 6 acres of vegetables, 6 acres of pasture for our goat dairy , and a 1/2 acre of maturing berries and orchards. This winter, however, millions of drowned vegetable plants from recent flooding in the Sadeh haunted our memories and we knew that the risk of planting the entire field was too great, no matter how gorgeous the soil. Between our reliable land on Beebe Hill, the small bit of the Sadeh that we decided to make a go of, and a new patch lent to us by neighbors we would have only three and a half acres to work with in 2014. We were in a pickle! There were just as many Brooklyn potlucks in need of sauerkraut and Hartford CSA members’ shabbat tables in need of broccoli. More people than ever were signed up for Isabella Freedman’s retreats, most of them expecting our […]

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Because Sometimes it Rains on Your Sukkah

by Sarah Chandler Geshem Be’ito (Acceptance of Rain in Its Time) The following essay will be published in the forthcoming book of teachings “Good Noticing” published by the Institute for Jewish Spirituality. The rhythms of the Jewish calendar may not coincide with your particular climate. At times, our traditional rituals may range from the impractical to the impossible. For example, in the Northern Hemisphere, calling upon light in the darkness of Chanukah in Kislev/December always resonates, but singing about blossoming trees in Shevat/January may not make sense. How can we stay true to our tradition when the weather doesn’t cooperate? And as mindfulness practitioners, how might we elevate the news of undesirable weather? Those of us who live in the Northeastern United States are usually blessed with bountiful precipitation year-round. Furthermore, our religion is no longer based on the careful balance between following God’s laws and receiving in return enough rain for our crops to survive. The Reform movement even removed the second paragraph of the Shema from prayer books to make the bold statement: we are modern Jews—we do not believe that we can influence God to change the weather by keeping the commandments of our tradition. Recent evidence […]

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Getting Credit for Adamah

For the past ten years, Adamah has provided powerful learning experiences that have transformed the lives of more than 300 young Jews. Adamah is, in its focus and its impact, small-scale and intense: a small leadership training program that invests three months in the lives of 12-15 young adults at a time. We are not a yeshiva, university, or certified training program for a specialized field, though our Adamahniks learn much that one might learn at a yeshiva, a university, or a farm. Adamah is a time for learning, connection, and reflection. (Our field has been flooded twice in the last three years: so what does it mean to beat willow branches against the earth as part of a bring-on-the-rains Hoshanah Rabah ritual?). Their souls filled up, our alumni go off in 18 different directions to sow the seeds of their experience. Click here to learn more about what Adamah alumni are up to. We, the Adamah staff, are also fed by the work we do in the fields, in the hearts and minds around us, and in the ever-widening circle of our community. We believe in the ecological, educational, and religious import of our work. Up to this point, […]

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