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Topic: Food

Rabbi Bruce Dollin

Kosher Chickens and You

Bob Goldman, Food Conference alum, recently coordinated a day of hands-on chicken schechting for a group of folks in Denver. It was an amazingly profound experience for the participants and an event a year in the making; they spent a lot of time finding a source for chickens that met their standards for an ethical upbringing. Rabbi Bruce Dollin of Hebrew Educational Alliance, their rabbi, gave his sermon on it last week. I bring up the following topic because it is Rivka Cohen’s Bat Mitzvah and Rivka comes from a famous family who feeds us just about every week. Rikva is the daughter of Cohen’s Cuisine, that is, Albert and Marla Cohen who are superb members of our Shabbat community. I have known them from my first days at HEA: they had just gotten married and were looking for their place in the Jewish community and they found us and we have been the beneficiaries. We love the Cohens and celebrate with them and Rivka today. So I feel it appropriate today to talk about food. In particular, I want to speak about chickens. I have been dreaming about chickens, lately. Let me tell you why. (more…)

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Aaron Gross, Farm Forward

Food Conference Presenter Spotlight: Aaron Gross, Farmed Animal Welfare Advocate and CEO, Farm Forward

Aaron S. Gross, Ph.D. is the CEO of Farm Forward and has played a leadership role in a wide variety of national and international farmed animal welfare campaigns in the Americas, South Asia, and the Middle East since the mid-1990s. Gross also serves as a professor of Jewish Studies at the University of San Diego and co-chairs the American Academy of Religion’s Animals and Religion Consultation. Seeing the need for an organization devoted specifically to creating alternatives to factory farming, Gross founded Farm Forward in 2006. Farm Forward has played a leading role in the promotion of alternative models of poultry production based on heritage genetics and its newsletter, facebook site, and twitter feed are followed by more than 15,000 individauls. John Mackey, Founder and CEO of Whole Foods, hails Farm Forward as “an important force for social change.” Bestselling Novelist Jonathan Safran Foer describes Gross as “a visionary—his founding of Farm Forward will be looked at by future generations as a turning point in the fight to end factory farming.” (more…)

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FairFoodBookCover

This Book Might Change Your Life

By Judith Belasco, Director of Food Programs, Hazon My first Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) pick up of fresh, local, organic veggies is a few days away. In mid-winter, I plunked down $550, signed up for my volunteer slots, and felt good that I was voting with my fork for a healthier, more sustainable food system. During the 2011 growing season, I’m joined by a network of 56 Hazon CSAs and thousands more CSAs in communities across the country. While I am excited for the East Coast season to begin, I’m aware of the many people who are unable to access CSA shares and those who are unable to access healthy food at all. Our food system is broken.  Joining a CSA is a great first step, and there is more we can do in order to fix it. Enter Fair Food: Growing a Healthy, Sustainable Food System for All, a practical guide to changing not only what we eat, but how our food is grown, packaged, delivered, marketed and sold. Author and founder of the Fair Food Network, Oran B. Hesterman, shows how our food system’s dysfunctions are the unintended consequences of our emphasis on efficiency, centralization, higher yields, profit, […]

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Abby Liebman

Food Conference Presenter Highlight: Hazon Meets Mazon

Abby Leibman, President & CEO, MAZON Apart from having names that are routinely confused for each other, Hazon and MAZON are on the same page when it comes to food justice and inspiring the Jewish community to work towards healthier and more sustainable communities. We’re thrilled that Abby Leibman, the new President and CEO of MAZON, will be one of our Food Conference presenters this year. MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing and alleviating hunger among people of all faiths and backgrounds. “I love that so many teens donate to MAZON as part of their Bar and Bat Mitzvahs,” Ms. Leibman told Hazon recently. “I want to make sure that they understand why their efforts are so important. How is it that we have so many food-insecure people in the wealthiest country in the world? The first steps are finding a way to understand who is hungry in America, the magnitude of the situation and its causes. Then, community organizing and people teaching each other about the causes of hunger can help to bring about meaningful change. This is something I’m really excited to bring to my work at MAZON and my […]

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Fair Food Network Logo

Three (Jewish) Communal Actions with Impact!

Fair Food Network is excited to be partnering with Hazon on the following three calls to action. You can learn more about all of these issues by reading Oran Hesterman’s Fair Food: Growing a Healthy, Sustainable Food System for All. Together, we can move from being conscious consumers to engaged citizens and transform our food system! The first call to action is in your kitchen. Make a commitment to spend an additional $10 per week on food the source of which you can trace and trust. It may be $10 at the farmers’ market where you’ve just had a discussion with the grower; it may be $10 toward a buying club or a CSA. This $10 is not just for you and your satiation. It is a transformative $10 spent with intention, or kavannah, toward a fair food system. The second call takes place in YOUR Jewish community, whether it be a synagogue, havura, Hebrew school or even where you volunteer. Make a commitment to engage the leadership of that institution (maybe it’s you!) to view food as a critical issue in the development of your community (because it is). Find one way you can make a change in the […]

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JeremyBenstein

See, Touch, Smell, and Taste Sustainable Food in Israel

by Dr. Jeremy Benstein, The Heschel Center, Tel Aviv This coming fall, November 2-7, 2011, the Heschel Center for Environmental Learning and Leadership, together with Hazon, will be hosting the second Israel Sustainable Food Tour. This exciting program is a unique way for North American Jews who are passionate about sustainable food to be exposed to the rapidly developing field of sustainable food in Israel. It is also an important opportunity for Israeli activists to meet likeminded counterparts and hear about their experiences, successes, challenges, insights and inspiration. Since Heschel’s original National Sustainable Food Conference a little over a year ago, which attracted 600 people with 40 roundtables and working groups, we have been working to create a coalition of people and organizations who are interested in promoting sustainable food in its myriad guises and contexts. We have been meeting with farmers, academics, government officials, health and nutrition experts, consumer policy groups, educators, nutritional security advocates and more to create the connections necessary to promote a shared agenda backed by leading stakeholders from all sectors. (more…)

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haggadahcover

Uri L’Tzedek’s Food and Justice Haggadah Supplement

In a quest to introduce discussion of food, social justice, and ethical consumption to the Passover Seder, Uri L’Tzedek has created the Food and Justice Haggadah Supplement.  Along with the Uri L’Tzedek team, 26 collaborators contributed essays that make up the supplement, among them Nigel Savage, Hazon’s Executive Director. Uri L’Tzedek is an Orthodox social justice organization whose mission is to fight suffering and oppression. Through their work in community based education, leadership development and action, they aim to create discourse, inspire leaders, and empower the Jewish community towards creating a more just world.  In the Food and Justice Haggadah Supplement, they have created a thought-provoking collection of short reflections on topics including hunger, labor and exploitation, responsibility to the poor, ethical consumption, ethics of eating, and redemption, all of which build from the structure and story of the Seder.    Scattered throughout the supplement are various “ACT” suggestions, featuring easy ways that readers can transform all of these ideas into action. In his contribution, Nigel explains that Passover teaches consciousness, restraint, and the responsibility to share with others, and urges the reader to apply these lessons to all meals during the rest of the year.  He ends by reminding Seder-goers, […]

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Welcome Letter to the 2010 Hazon Food Conference

Roger Studley Co-Chair, Food Conference West December 24, 2010 Dear Hazon-niks, friends, and fellow Jewish food activists — Roger Studley here, co-chair — along with Rabbi Marc Soloway — of this year’s Hazon Food Conference. I’m thrilled that all of you are here to join in the work of the New Jewish Food Movement. Unfortunately, I’m not able be here myself, but I have a very good excuse ….. a two week-old son! His name is Ezra Meir and he’s absolutely beautiful. My wife Chai and I are in awe and in love, and all three of us are getting used to the new rhythms of our life together at home in nearby Berkeley. Having a child makes the future more real, more immediate. It reminds you forcefully of the absolute necessity of living sustainably on a healthy planet. It makes us ask… Will our child inherit a world in which food policy is driven by corporate greed or by the goals of health and sustainability? Will our child inherit a world in which food is a just distant commodity or one in which it is a source of nourishment and connection with which he is intimately familiar? Will our […]

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The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals

By Michael Pollan – Penguin Press, 2006 Reviewed by Natan Margalit From Tikkun Magazine, August 2006 Ben Zoma used to say, “What labors Adam had to carry out before he obtained bread to eat! He ploughed, he sowed, he reaped, he bound the sheaves, he threshed and winnowed and selected the grains, he ground and sifted the flour, he kneaded and baked and then at last he ate. Whereas I get up in the morning and find all these things done for me.” –Babylonian Talmud, Brakhot 58b Claude Levi-Strauss once said that food is not only good to eat, but also good to think. Our meals are statements that help us to understand ourselves and our world. Of course, the Bible makes this connection between food and thought with Adam and Eve’s fateful meal from the Tree of Knowledge. In today’s world of complex, industrial food chains, however, that connection is broken. Food seems to come from the supermarket, manufactured and packaged. Ignorance, not knowledge, characterizes modern eating. Even more disturbing is the fact that food categories that we might imagine are more transparent, more ethical, such as organic food – and kosher food — are increasingly involved in this […]

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Hazon Food Conference: Take 2. The Next Step in the Right Direction

Originally posted on Raw-9 January 12, 2011 by Julie Auerbach, 2009 and 2010 Hazon Food Conference Alumna After attending the Hazon Food Conference in Asilomar, CA December of 2009, my life had changed. I became inspired, enlightened, and awe-struck by the amazing New Jewish Food Movement. After last year’s conference, I packed up my bags in Denver, CO., closed my meat business, (the Denver Kosher Shuk), and drove out to Los Angeles, the city I pictured with a large, vibrant, colorful Jewish Community, and a more health conscious environment. I am beyond happy to say, I have found everything I was searching for. Most people like to look at Rosh Hashanah, or New Years as their reference of time, and while I love using Rosh Hashanah as a time for reflection and decision making, I enjoy using the Hazon Food Conference as my marker for direction. For a multitude of reasons, which I will explain further, Hazon has inspired me to dream big, have faith, and believe. Prior to attending my first Hazon Food Conference, my life had taken a turn. I learned I had alopecia, (an auto-immune disease that causes one’s body to have an allergic reaction to their […]

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marcsoloway

Eat, Ride, Love – How It All Connects

Rabbi Marc Soloway recently completed the 300 mile bike ride from Jerusalem to Eilat as a participant in the 2010 Arava Institute & Hazon Israel Ride this past October. This year, he also serves as co-chair of the 2010 Hazon Food Conference West in December. He explains how they are both part of a greater movement and how that movement ties to our community. The exhilaration of riding 300 miles on a bike through the dramatically changing landscape of Israel, a region so full of depth, beauty, history, complexity and instability, has been one of the richest and most challenging experiences of my life. I have recently completed my second Hazon-Arava Israel Ride and the impact of this great adventure continues to stir me in so many ways. Beyond the physical demand and sense of achievement that comes with pedaling an average of 60 miles a day for five days, there is such a sense of awe and elation to being a participant in this tremendous partnership between two such inspirational institutions – Hazon and The Arava Institute. The magnificently managed ride is run by a combination of Hazon’s staff, and students, alumni and faculty from the Arava Institute. The […]

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Teshuvah and My Year of Eating Sacredly

By Rabbi Rachel Kahn-Troster Last year, one of my first posts for the Jew and the Carrot was giving up drinking Diet Coke as a way of eating more sacredly and doing a kind of food teshuvah (repentance). After all, Diet Coke does not exactly fit into my overall food values of eating locally and sustainably. It’s essentially water with coloring and caffeine, it creates wasteful packaging, and drinking enough of it each year has the carbon footprint of flying roundtrip from New York to Cleveland. In my attempt to eat mindfully, aware of God’s blessing present in the food before me, Diet Coke seemed like an easy target. Teshuvah comes from the Hebrew word meaning to return. Repentance is a chance to start over. But part of the teshuvah process is also reviewing how we are doing. We are told by the rabbis that we can’t repent knowing in advance that will plan to do our misdeed again, and yet, we are also human. Despite our best efforts, we slip backwards. We stumble, and once again, as Elul and the season of repentance arrive, we have to ask for forgiveness yet again. (more…)

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Hazon Food Programs: What’s Happening?

“Does every Jewish institution need a farmer?” The question struck me a few weeks ago when I was at the Long Island Hazon Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) site for a “Meet the Farmer” night. Rabbis, cantors, and educators are usually seen as necessary staff in a Jewish organization; and in this room full of CSA members, some new and some returning, it seemed that a farmer should be considered essential as well.  For the Forest Hills Jewish Center in Queens and the Reconstructionist Synagogue of the North Shore in Long Island, Maggie, from Golden Earthworm Farm, is their farmer. Maggie spoke about the time, attention, and thought that went into building each member’s box of vegetables each week. In addition, she felt privileged that through the support of these institutions, she was able to live her life as a farmer. Since 2004, when Hazon launched the first CSA site in the Jewish community, Hazon has been on the forefront of the new Jewish Food Movement. In 2008, when 560 farmers, rabbis, educators, students, chefs, and foodies attended the Food Conference, Hazon became the home of this movement. The Food Conference, like all of Hazon’s Food Programs, examines food through the […]

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The True Cost of Food

Barbara Lerman-Golomb, Director of Education and Outreach, Hazon From PresenTense Magazine – February 2009 Last winter I was at a retreat hosted by a Jewish organization when on the buffet table I spotted something white. It was watermelon, in February in Upstate New York, which was literally unnatural and tasteless. I thought about our unsustainable demand for food and all the energy it took to get that watermelon from farm to fork and wondered, what is the true cost of our food? Like all our lifestyle choices, our food choices increase our carbon footprint and therefore affect our health and the health and sustainability of our planet. According to the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service, around eighty percent of the energy used in the US food system can be attributed to processing, packaging, transporting, storing, and preparing food. In fact, after transportation, the food sector uses more fossil fuels than any other sector of our economy. (more…)

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Agriprocessors Statement

CONSORTIUM OF JEWISH GROUPS RESPOND TO PLIGHT OF IMMIGRANT WORKERS IN POSTVILLE IN WAKE OF FEDERAL RAID ON AGRIPROCESSORS ENDORSE HEKHSHER TZEDEK NEW ETHICAL CERTIFICATION INITIATIVE OF THE CONSERVATIVE MOVEMENT   FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT:Heather Wolfson                               hwolfson@mazon.org New York, NY (June 27, 2008) – In the wake of last month’s federal raid on the Agriprocessors meat processing facility in Postville, Iowa, where hundreds of illegal immigrants were arrested, a consortium of Jewish groups devoted to social justice have issued a statement calling for a response to the “human tragedy” of the raid and urging cooperation to work towards a “long term structural change,” within the kosher meat industry. (more…)

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