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Topic: Food Justice

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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Prayer in Action: Upholding our Covenant for a Brighter Future | D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

by Daniella Aboody, Wilderness Torah, Berkeley, CA Parashat Chayyei Sarah 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 prospective fellows will continue to be reviewed as positions are available. The Torah portion for this week, Chayyei Sarah, begins with the death of our matriarch Sarah. We see Abraham mourn the loss of his beloved, and then immediately take action by purchasing her burial grounds—the cave of Machpela—and then sending his servant to go find a wife for their son, Isaac. Abraham says goodbye to her in an honorable way, and then makes moves to follow through on the covenant that God has made with him and Sarah—the promise of land and descendants. God makes this promise on several occasions, but only now, once Sarah […]

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What’s Mine is Yours, and What’s Yours is Yours | D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

by Michael Fraade, Jewish Community of Louisville, Louisville, KY Parashat Vayera 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. Parashat Vayera opens with Abraham rushing to greet three guests who appear near his tent while he is sitting under a terebinth. “My lords,” he insists, “Let a little water be brought; bathe your feet and recline under the tree.  And let me fetch a morsel of bread that you may refresh yourselves.” He and Sarah prepare bread, milk, and a freshly slaughtered calf for their guests, who soon reveal themselves as angels and inform Abraham that Sarah will soon give birth […]

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Going Forth | D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

by Eli Goldstein, Shimon and Sara Birnbaum JCC, Bridgewater, NJ Parashat Lech Lecha 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. There is an entire world around us if we just open our eyes, ears, and mouths. In our new enrichment nature class here at the Shimon and Sara Birnbaum JCC, we are working on using the learning cycle shared by our BEETLES Instructors during JOFEE Fellow training – Invitation, Exploration, Concept Invention, Application, and Reflection – to do just that. This is a class challenging on many levels for me and the students. When you think of nature you may […]

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

by 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 […]

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To See and Be Seen | D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

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

by 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. […]

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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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