Topic: Events

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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Walking Behind Kindess: Parashat Naso | D’Varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

Jaclyn Kellner – Coastal Roots Farm; Encinitas, CA “I’d like to go to the fields and glean among the ears of grain behind someone who may show me kindness.” This statement, from Ruth to Naomi in the Book of Ruth, holds so many aspects of what a Jewish Community Farm can provide. This week’s parsha, Naso, spells out the different functions distinct groups and structures had while traveling in the desert. Naso begins by taking census of and detailing the specific duties assigned to each family line of Levites and ends by listing each tribe’s offering for the inauguration of the alter in the Mishkan. This past Sunday, I had the pleasure of co-organizing a Shavuot Festival at Coastal Roots Farm. Over 300 people attended, of all ages, both Jewish and non-Jewish. It was incredible to see an event have such strong Jewish content and influence while remaining a welcoming and accessible festival to all. The festival focused on exploring the story of Ruth and on Shavuot’s agricultural roots celebrating the start of the summer harvest. Participants danced to live klezmer music; learned how to make cheese and tend to their tomato plants; and painted, created, and wore exquisite flower crowns in celebration of the […]

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Old Stones, New Ripples – Reflections on the Close of JOFEE Fellowship Cohort 1 | D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

by Yoshi Silverstein – JOFEE Fellowship Director May 18th, 2017 | 22nd Iyar 5777 | 37th day of the omer | gevurah she’b’yesod 16 Organizations. 17 Fellows. Over 500 programs. An estimated 37,000 participants in Jewish Outdoor, Food, Farming & Environmental Education (JOFEE) programs across the country. These are some of the incredible numbers emerging as we look back at our first JOFEE Fellowship cohort, who completed their closing seminar and siyum last week at our sister JOFEE organization, the Pearlstone Center outside Baltimore, MD. Behind those numbers are thousands of people encountering – many for the first time – the incredible power of a Jewish tradition steeped in deep cultural and spiritual connection with the earth, with place, with human communities and our surrounding ecosystems, with our food, and with each other.  A Jewish tradition that recognizes both the limits and abundance of the resources our home planet provides for us. A tradition that says this world is amazing – there is so much magnificence – and yet we have work to do – not to complete by ourselves, but neither to desist from doing our part. And wow did our JOFEE Fellows do their part! Here are a […]

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This Passover, Take Action for the Climate – D’Varim Hamakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

Rachel Aronson – JOFEE / Sustainability and Community Engagement Fellow, Hazon  Jews across the world this week commemorated leaving Egypt to become free people for the holiday of Passover. Friends and family sit around the table together for the seder, celebrating freedom with comfy pillows to recline on and lots of kosher wine. Unfortunately, Passover can also represent something else: the holiday of waste. Those who keep kosher for Pesach (Passover) deep-clean our kitchens before the holiday, rooting out bread, tortillas, muffins, crackers, and every other kind of chametz (leavened or yeasted products) that’s sitting around the house. And to ensure that everything is kosher, we switch out our regular sets of dishes with a special set of only-for-Passover dishes. But who wants to keep an extra set of dishes around the house? It takes up storage space. It’s inconvenient. Understandably, many of us – out of convenience, or out of necessity – use disposable plates, cutlery, cups, and more. Ironically, many of us end up celebrating this holiday of freedom and liberation with trash bags full of styrofoam. Thankfully, Passover is also a holiday that reminds us of our ability to make change — as individuals and as a society. Nowhere is […]

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Sustain Hazon this Giving Tuesday

We want to know why you love Hazon! On Giving Tuesday, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (November 29, 2016), we will be sharing stories of transformative Hazon experiences on our social media platforms. Hazon is spreading the word about a healthier, more sustainable world for all on Giving Tuesday, which acts as a counterpoint of tzedakah to the consumerist Black Friday and Cyber Monday. On this day, nonprofits raise more money online than any other day in the year. We’re asking you – whether you are a community member, supporter, and/or a program alum – to show your support on Giving Tuesday. Love us? Want to help spread the word about what we do? Here’s how you can get involved: Send us your Hazon story On Giving Tuesday (11/29), we will be sharing stories of transformative Hazon experiences on our social media platforms. For an opportunity to be featured, please email 75-100 words about a specific transformative experience you have had through Hazon, along with a photo, to lisa.kaplan@hazon.org. Submissions are due by Tuesday, November 22nd. Share your Hazon story on Facebook You can also share your story on your personal Facebook page on Giving Tuesday (11/29) to spread the word […]

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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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To See and Be Seen – D’Varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

Liora Lebowitz, Jewish Farm School – Philadelphia, PA Parashat V’zot Haberachah + Sukkot & Simchat Torah 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! Together with the holiday of Simchat Torah, V’zot Haberacha, the final parsha of the Torah, marks the transition from the end of a cycle to beginning anew. From beginning to end, the readings of Torah follow the Jewish calendar, and there are strong parallels between the cycle of the Jewish calendar and the corresponding seasonal and agricultural cycles of the year. During Simchat Torah, we ready ourselves to read the final parsha of the Torah – to celebrate our accumulated knowledge and […]

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goats-running

Gathering Men for Transformation and Fellowship: The Jewish Men’s Retreat

The Jewish Men’s Retreat, or JMR for short, isn’t a kiddush club or a poker night among pals drinking bourbon and smoking cigars (although there is whiskey and there are cigars after Shabbat for those who partake). The JMR is a grassroots, multi-generational lay-led gathering which, over the last two decades, has evolved a structure for helping Jewish men pay attention to the unique aspects of their gender identity and spiritual expression. The twenty-second retreat of the JMR will be taking place this October 25th-27th at Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in Falls Village, Connecticut. Over seventy men from all walks of life and streams of Jewish observance and non-observance are registered to attend this year, a third of which are new-comers. According to long-time participant Allen Spivack, “the reason most new people come is because someone tells them about it. We don’t really talk about the normal things, sports, cars, my mortgage, my colonoscopy, we talk about different stuff. Men come for fellowship and it’s beautiful.” Spivack, a carpenter and social-worker, has brought both of his sons to previous JMR retreats and believes they would be different men had they not had come. Allen’s son, Lev, explains, “I feel […]

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Jewish Intentional Communities Conference

We’re delighted to announce that the Pearlstone Center, Hazon, and the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center are launching a Jewish Intentional Communities Initiative. Together we share a vision that over the next 3-10 years,  new Jewish intentional communities will bloom across the country—from urban kibbutzim to rural moshavim, suburban co-ops, and more—and that these dynamic and vibrant new Jewish communities will become inspiring catalysts in an ongoing renaissance in American Jewish life. (more…)

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Hazon Cross-USA Ride BBQ Dinner in Columbus: August 6th

Come join the Hazon Cross-USA riders for a free BBQ dinner at Agudas Achim! The Hazon Cross-USA riders will cycle from Springfield, OH to Columbus on August 6th. After settling in and showering (a must!), the riders will enjoy a wonderful BBQ dinner at 6:30 pm, sponsored by our ethically-produced kosher meat sponsor, Grow and Behold. And we hope you’ll join them! Please RSVP so we know how much food to make! You can also join us on the road! Ride with Hazon into Columbus, from Columbus to Coshocton, or any other part of the Ride until it ends in D.C. on August 15th. We encourage anyone riding for one day to donate $50 to Hazon to help support the educational work Hazon does in order to create a healthier and more sustainable Jewish community. A very special thank you to Agudas Achim for hosting our riders and helping to sponsor dinner. Our riders very much appreciate warm hospitality as they live a nomadic lifestyle for the summer.

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