Topic: Detroit

Light In The Dark | D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

by Ilana Unger, Pearlstone Center Parshat Vayeishev In parshat Vayeishev (Genesis 37:1-40:23), lands on the third Shabbat of Kislev, we connect deeply to this Jewish month of actualization and revelation. For example: Vayeishev is the Hebrew word for “and he lived” (actualization) and nine out of the ten dreams that we read in the Torah are in this month (revelation). To recap the many things that happen in this parsha: Joseph is exiled and sold into slavery in Egypt by his brothers. Joseph is then falsely accused of sexually assaulting Potiphar’s wife and is sent to the Pharaoh’s prison where he becomes an overseer in the prison. He is joined in prison by the Pharaoh’s butler and baker. They say they have had vivid dreams and are looking for an interpreter. Joseph interprets their dreams and accurately does so, predicting that the baker be hanged while the butler will be restored to his job duties. As Joseph is literally in a dark place in the prison, he is selfless and wants to hear and listen to how he can help the butler and baker. Kislev, which derives from the Hebrew word kesel (כֶּסֶל), means either “security,” or “trust.” Joseph seems to […]

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Detroit Newsletter: Drops of water

Dear Friends, Last night at sundown, we concluded the Jewish lunar month of Cheshvan, the first month following High Holidays and the only month on our calendar without a Jewish holiday. For this reason, there’s a tradition dating back to the Mishnah(~200 CE) of calling this month Marcheshvan, meaning “bitter Cheshvan” (mar like marror on Passover). This bitterness seems to have been reflected all around us these last thirty days. Here in Michigan, the leaves started turning, and then falling. We turned our clocks back, and all of the sudden it’s dark by 5:30pm. There’s a chill in the air we haven’t felt since the final snow melted late last winter. And most bitter of all, we’ve faced numerous heartbreaking tragedies as a Jewish community and a country. However, there is another interpretation of mar that may provide us some clarity and hope – mar can also mean “drop,” as in a drop of water. During this month, mar is our prayer for rain and the month when Noah’s flood swept through the land. When read with this in mind, we begin to understand that we must act and live with a sense of sacred responsibility, adding our drop to the turbulent waters of this historical moment, trusting that with enough drops comes […]

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Hazon Detroit at Interfaith Justice Speak-Out

Hazon Detroit is proud to have stood alongside so many powerful faith leaders on November 1, 2018 at the Islamic House of Wisdom in Dearborn to denounce white nationalism, show support for the Jewish community, and affirm solidarity for all those who are targets of hate. Praying for a time when these gatherings might be prompted not by hate, but only by love. To see more from the speak-out, click here or here, and read Rabbi Nate DeGroot’s full remarks below.   Thank you Imam Elahi and the Islamic House of Wisdom for having me here today. I wish I was here for a different reason – but we’re alive in this moment – And so I am grateful to be here with you this afternoon in heartbreak and solidarity And I am humbled to be up here, amongst such respected colleagues and fellow travelers. — I was asked today to speak on how the Jewish community is feeling in this moment, And I will do my best to articulate some of that. But capturing the sentiments of an entire people is an impossible task – Since I can only truly speak to how I am feeling, And even that […]

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Fear and light

by Nigel Savage Thursday, November 16, 2017 | 27 Cheshvan 5778 Dear All, It’s Rosh Chodesh Kislev this weekend. Light in the darkness. I say: Bring it on. That was my first thought. And my second was: What’s the line between cliché and language that is alive and real? I feel this at the moment. “Light in the darkness” is both incredibly clichéd, and also the most real and vital thing we need to hear right now. The present undercurrent, the theme tune to our lives, stronger each day, is fear. It manifests in all directions. Globalization and technology and jobs at stake, across the western world – thus fear of the future, fear for family finances, fears for retirement, fears for health. Climate change and the environment and all of that. Fears for and about Israel. The fear that an African American parent feels if their teenager gets pulled over by the police, and says the wrong thing. The fears of an Israeli soldier, manning a checkpoint, as a Palestinian comes towards him; and the fears of a Palestinian coming towards the Israeli soldier. The newish fear that we might have a war with or about North Korea. Fears […]

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When 6,500 people come together

September 7th, 2017 | 16 Elul 5777 Dear All, Dreams (and dreamers) are being seemingly pushed aside. Storms are raging wilder and fiercer as the climate changes. Difference is being aligned with fear. We must find ways to open our doors to each other even more widely. We need to create more entry points to connect with each other and with those whom we might think of as other. Last week, when 6,500 people came together in Detroit for the 2nd annual Michigan Jewish Food Festival, we aimed to let the whole community in. Here is more from Sue Salinger, Director of Hazon Detroit, about the festival. — As we do our inner preparations during Elul – our return-to-who-we-are, our repair work between each other – according to our teacher Reb Zalman zt’l, we’re already building the world to come: the world we want to live in. Sometimes if we pay enough attention, we get to catch a glimpse, a hint of that world. August 27, 2017 was the second annual Michigan Jewish Food Festival, and what a delicious taste we got of the world as it could be! An estimated 6,500 people came together from across Metro Detroit to gather at […]

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Reflection on Returning to Detroit

by Zoe McCoon, Hazon Detroit Summer 2017 Rabbinic Fellow After finishing my first year of rabbinical school, I had mixed feelings about leaving Jerusalem – a place I found filled with spiritual energy and fervor… and yet, I was counting down the days until I could be back in Detroit. Detroit itself has a special spiritual energy and flavor that I was craving to return to. Detroit, a place I often call “My family’s Jerusalem,” is the place my family settled to when they came from Europe, it is the place both my grandfather and my mom grew up, and it is a place that I keep finding myself returning to when I want to learn, grow, and ground myself. Having been a Hazon Detroit Fellow before entering rabbinical school, I had already fallen in love with the holy work Hazon Detroit does in Detroit and the Metro-Detroit area bringing people together through taking care of the Earth, being outside, and living Jewishly. I was especially enamored with Oakland Avenue Urban Farm – one of our close partner organizations. March 23rd marked one month since returning back to Hazon Detroit, and I continue to be excited about the work I […]

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Recycling at Adat Shalom

During their first year, Adat Shalom Synagogue in Farmington Hills, MI has proven itself to be a real asset to the Hazon Seal of Sustainability Cohort 2016! From their efforts towards implementing better recycling policies, to using only recyclable paper products at events, we’re excited to continue supporting their progress over the next year. Much of Adat Shalom’s sustainability work focuses on community participation and awareness.  “Our focus is to make members more aware of the importance of taking care of the environment in which we all share,” says Susan Shevrin, Congregation Liason.  Increasing awareness of recycling and improving recycling procedures throughout the entire building was not just a sustainable practice itself, but it provided learning opportunities for members of Adat Shalom.  During Adat Shalom’s Annual Volunteer Day in December 2016, the synagogue hosted Hazon representatives who worked with youth to create recycling boxes for every classroom. In addition to their exceptional recycling work, Adat Shalom is updating their lighting to run more efficiently, and they are hoping to replace all fluorescents and CFL lighting with LED and/ or energy cost saving lighting. Kol HaKavod to Susan Shevrin and the rest of the Green Team at Adat Shalom for their […]

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Green Kiddush at Shaarey Tzedek

Congregation Shaarey Zedek in Southfield, MI is setting the bar for sustainability high with their excellent work as a member of the Hazon Seal of Sustainability Cohort 2016! Between planning their first Green Kiddush, to using only glass mugs and recyclable paper products at events, there seems to be no limit on what they can achieve. After completing the Hazon Seal Audit, the Green Team at Shaarey Zedek immediately replaced all Styrofoam cups in the Berman Center of Education with glass cups that the congregation had in storage.  They also made sure that the congregation’s clergy team spoke about the Green Team and its work during a Shabbat sermon, to get everyone excited about greening and increase awareness of the important work the Green Team does. Shaarey Zedek’s Green Kiddush and Tu B’shvat Seder on the Shabbat of Tu B’shvat was also well-received.  Wren Beaulieu-Hack – Director of the Berman Center for Jewish Education at Shaarey Zedek – says that “The day we spent celebrating Tu B’Shvat, as a community was the most successful project we’ve completed thus far.  It was wonderful to see our congregants talking with each other about environmental issues through a Jewish lens and to see […]

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Grappling with the Ark of Responsibility | D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

by Bailey Lininger, Tamarack Camps, Bloomfield Hills, MI Parashat Noach 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 and will continue to be reviewed as positions are available. Some days, my job makes me feel like Noah, stocking his Ark full of animals before the flood, the weight of the world’s responsibility on my shoulders. Let me explain: At Tamarack Camps, where I’m placed as a JOFEE fellow, I have the good fortune of being the supervisor of Tamarack’s brand new nature center: The Teva Center. Just finished in June 2016, we’ve slowly but surely been filling with new animal residents ever since. Our goal is a nature center filled with […]

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Upside Down and Open Hearted | D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

by Emily Glick, Teva, Hazon, Falls Village, CT Parashat Shoftim 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. 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!  My debut expedition as Teva’s first JOFEE Fellow began in a transformational grease machine / holy mobile space most commonly known to the greater world as the Topsy Turvy Bus. Having just completed a three-week JOFEE Fellowship orientation and training intensive seminar, I was leading our seven-week Mayim l’Mayim themed bus tour fueled on used cooking oil, holy vibes, and Torah – not to mention the passion of our 5 radiantly unique bus educators, all of whom brought skills and essential senses of humor that our tour would not have succeeded without. Our team performed in camp talent shows; saw shooting stars; wrote […]

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