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Topic: Food Justice

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One other vote on November 8th

by Nigel Savage All eyes on November 8th are on the presidential election. To many of us it feels the most consequential choice, with the starkest consequences, of any in our lifetime. As the CEO of a non-profit, I have no official view on our choice, other than the prayer and the hope that Americans vote wisely. But there is a smaller decision on November 8th that will be, in its own way, a significant marker in the evolution of this country, and on this I do have an official view. Voters in Massachusetts will vote on “Question 3”, a ballot initiative that would prohibit the sale of eggs, veal or pork from a farm animal confined in a space too small for it to move. One of the reasons that Hazon has grown as an organization is that we have been, in a general sense, deeply resistant to banging people over the head and telling them what to do. Environmentalists do it and Jewish leaders do it and too frequently it feels to me both pedagogically ineffective and intellectually arrogant. Shivim panim l’Torah – seventy faces of the Torah – reflects the breadth of our tradition and the caution […]

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The Beauty of Yom Kippur | D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

Zach Goldberg, Ramah in the Rockies & Congregation Bonai Shalom, Boulder, CO Yom Kippur and Parashat Vayelech 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!  — The high holiday season is full of JOFEE experiences! Elul is mamash the harvest season, and Sukkot is the third and final harvest festival after all! I witnessed this a few weeks ago on the birthday of the Baal Shem Tov, the 18th of Elul. The celebration was kicked off with a call of the shofar. Morah Yahudis Fishman explained during a noon time shiur at Congregation Bonai Shalom that this call, blowing air through a horn of an animal, awakens the deepest parts of […]

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Choosing Life | D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

by Yoshi Silverstein  Parashat Nitzavim & Rosh Hashanah 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 (and staff): reflections on their experiences, successful programs they’ve planned and implemented, gleanings from the field, and connections to the weekly Torah portion or Holidays and what they’ve learned from their experiences with place in their host communities for the year. This one is from me, Yoshi, Director of the JOFEE Fellowship. Views expressed are the mine and do not necessarily represent Hazon. Be sure to check back next week for Zach Goldberg’s post on JOFEE and Yom Kippur!   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!  You all know the big one coming up this week: Rosh Hashanah. The Head of the Year, when we begin the High Holiday season full of heart-beatings and introspection, good food, wine, and cheer followed by the Yom Kippur fast. This week is also Parshat Nitzavim – the Torah portion from my Bar Mitzvah. Much of that weekend is a blur at this point, twenty years later (wow, that just sunk in […]

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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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Making Hummus with Shmita Values

By Michael Bomze On a weekly basis, I make hummus – very much at the mercy of area farmers, as I use fresh produce in each batch – and I donate all of the profits to Philadelphia urban farms. Admittedly, I do not think I ever had learned of the concept of Shmita before this year’s Hazon Philadelphia Jewish Food Festival – and I wasn’t initially sure how, in any capacity, I could apply the tradition of the Shmita to my 21st Century-paced life in a very large city. I think I’ve made some sense of it since November’s festival, though, and I offer my thoughts below. Though Shmita, a biblical mandate instructing farmers to let land lay fallow every seventh year, is a seemingly straightforward commandment, its implications are several. For instance, it isn’t Shmita that is the reason I’ve been preserving local produce in hummus, but thoughts and discussions regarding Shmita have helped me affirm what I am doing (and, if nothing else, the notion of Shmita has seemed a valid excuse to calm down my everyday life and to pay particularly close attention to my relationships with family, neighbors, and with nature). Regarding my hummus practices and the Shmita, perhaps the most obvious relationship is how each batch serves as […]

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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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Hazon Bay Area Awards Food Justice Mini Grants

The United States’ industrial-based food system does not give equal access to healthy, nourishing food. Jewish tradition, firmly rooted in texts from the Torah, sees a direct connection between social justice, sustainable agriculture, and a call to action by interfaith partners. Hazon stands at the forefront of the New Jewish Food Movement, which incorporates multiple entries into the food justice movement through a Jewish lens. Hazon is expanding our impact on the entire Jewish sustainable food movement, bringing issues of affordability, labor practices, and access to healthy, sustainable food to the forefront of the consciousness of all who are working to improve our food systems. As part of Hazon’s capacity-building efforts, supporting great people and projects in North America and Israel, Hazon is pleased to announce Mini Grant awards to five Bay Area non-profit organizations who participated in Hazon Bay Area’s Interfaith Food Justice Convening held in October 2013. Thanks to the generous support of the Walter and Elise Haas Fund, Hazon Bay Area has allocated a total of $7500 to projects that seek to develop innovative approaches to increasing healthy food access while expanding opportunities for faith communities to engage with food justice advocacy, organizing, and education. ​Food Justice […]

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A note from Hazon Board Member Rabbi Marc Soloway about fighting for a fair food movement

Dear All, I just got back late last night from Immokalee, Florida where I was on a 3-day mission with Truah (The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights). We were working with the C.I.W. (Coalition of Immokalee Workers) with migrant farm workers and activists who have been fighting for a fair food movement. It was very inspiring to witness the changes that have happened down there through  passionate and creative community organizing, and also distressing and humbling to hear about appalling work conditions that continue among the people who pick our food. Here is the official Tomato Rabbis video to learn more. As one of the newest crop of Tomato Rabbis, I have committed to be an ally with C.I.W. and intend to write and talk about the experience and bring greater awareness of the issue and join the national campaigns against Wendy’s and some of the big supermarket chains, pressuring them to sign the Fair Food Agreement, enabling the farm workers to earn an extra penny per pound on the tomatoes they pick in their 10-hour work day. This agreement has already been signed by Taco Bell, Subway, McDonalds, Burger King, Chipotle and others and is supported by some of the largest growers, but there is more […]

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Interfaith Food Justice Convening

Please join Hazon, Roots of Change and St. Anthony’s for the first Open Space Conference to discuss: How can faith communities engage with the people and policies working to make the food system healthy, equitable, and sustainable?   Friday October 4, 2013 10:00am to 5:00pm SEIU Local 87 Union Hall, 240 Golden Gate Ave., 2nd Floor, San Francisco, CA Participation is free and at this time by invitation only. See below for information on how to register.   Nurturing Interfaith Allyship in the Food Justice Movement Seeking to address the inequities in the food system from production to distribution to consumption, the community-driven food justice movement brings together environmentalists, the labor movement, animal rights activists, health advocates, and foodies. Faith-based allies, compelled by our values, have joined this movement to pursue justice in food, environment, economy, and race. We share a common calling to nourish souls as well as bodies, and we must work together. Please join Hazon, Roots of Change, and St. Anthony Foundation as we convene interfaith leaders and food justice advocates to build alliances, forge partnerships, and support and develop projects that contribute to a more just food system in the Bay Area. By exploring shared challenges and building trust, […]

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Sustainable meat preparation at the 2010 Hazon Food Conference West.

Food Conference Round Up

The 6th annual Food Conference begins this Thursday in sunny Davis, California. We wanted to take a moment to pull together all the wonderful things going on in the world in preparation. Daniel Infeld notes the momentum around the food movement and highlights Hazon’s Food Values taken into consideration when planning an event, program, or meeting on The Jew and the Carrot. Nadia Schreiber highlights how trendy DIY shechting has become and where it’s happening. Can the Food Conference take credit for starting this one? (more…)

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Food Justice, Food Systems, and Food Policy

An estimated 100 billion pounds of food, enough to totally eliminate hunger, is thrown away annually in the United States. How much of that wasted food comes from Bar and Bat Mitzvahs? Jews are clearly not the only ones responsible for food waste in this country, but an awful lot of Jewish energy goes into tackling issues around hunger, food justice, food access. Perhaps it’s Maimonides’ legacy of tzedakah, perhaps its our Jewish grandmothers encouraging us to eat, or perhaps its because of the calls to look out for the “stranger, the widow and the orphan” that are woven in to the agricultural practices of the Torah and form the foundation for civil society. (more…)

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