fbpx

Topic: In the News

jakir-manela

Hold the Center

“I have often said that a vote is a kind of prayer for the world we desire for ourselves and for our children. It is faith put in action. It is the sober recognition that we pray not only with our lips but with our legs.” – Senator Rev. Raphael Warnock, Dec 6, 2022 Friends, Over the past few months, I have been traveling and speaking to hundreds of Jewish leaders and institutions across the spectrum of Jewish life. Federations and summer camps, day schools and congregations, social service agencies, social justice organizations, Israeli & Arab & Muslim & multifaith partners, leaders of all Jewish denominations and yes, a variety political persuasions as well. In each conversation, leaders and institutions lean in to partner with us, in many cases representing their first steps in prioritizing climate and sustainability. Slowly but surely, we are building a broad and deep coalition–including and transcending our “base.” By engaging the mainstream Jewish world, we are inspiring and empowering a new network of allies and partners, multiplying our impact. Hazon leadership has lead or will lead discussions on sustainability and climate at the following conferences, November through January: Meanwhile, the midterms (and the Georgia finale […]

Continue Reading 0
jakir-manela

COP27, Mount Sinai, and Flora of Vanuatu

Friends, This year, thanks to support from the Jewish Agency for Israel and several supporting foundations, our first-ever Jewish Youth Climate Movement delegation traveled to COP27: ten Jewish climate activists from campuses across North America, and ten Israelis from the educational youth village, Nitzana. We were there alongside 35,000 participants from all over the world.  I was honored to speak about our work on Friday November 11th at a session called Faith Communities Leading on Climate–you can see the recording here. It was inspiring to connect with multifaith allies at that session and throughout the conference.  I traveled with Nigel Savage (Hazon’s founder), Yossi Abramowitz (American-Israeli CEO of Energiya Global Capital and co-founder of the Arava Power Company), David Miron-Wapner (board chair of the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development), and Sue Surkes (British-Israeli reporter for the Times of Israel). We drove to a small bedouin village at the foot of what locals believe to be Mount Sinai, or as it’s known in Arabic, Gebel Musa. We woke at 1:30am and spent the night hiking up the mountain, arriving at the summit just before dawn. The Sinai wilderness is majestic and awe-inspiring, beautiful beyond words, and quite powerful to be on […]

Continue Reading 0
jakir-manela

Israel & the Diaspora: The View From a Bike

Friends, The last few weeks of travel have been intense and amazing. Over the next few weeks I’ll share stories and learnings from my journey. I began in Chicago at the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America. Living and working in the Baltimore Jewish community, I’ve developed a deep understanding and appreciation for Jewish federations, so it was with great excitement and gratitude that we led our own session at the GA featuring federation leaders from the Associated, UJA-NY, and Vancouver —all investing in climate and sustainability as an important aspect of their work. We also featured JFNA leadership in this arena as well as the Jewish Agency for Israel. Our goal is to grow federation partnerships nationwide—help us connect with your local federation leaders! Then I flew to Israel, where I participated in the Arava Institute-Hazon Israel Ride, such a beautiful way to experience the country and support both our work and the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, a global leader in the movement to build peaceful coexistence through environmental cooperation. I rode 180 miles over four days, including a beautiful Shabbat in Mitzpeh Ramon along the way. I was deeply moved by the beauty of the land and […]

Continue Reading 0
jakir-manela

Raising Up Our Voices in the Midterm Elections

Friends, At Hazon-Pearlstone, we are dedicated to making the planet and the Jewish people more healthy and whole. Foundational to these efforts in the United States is a thriving democracy that responds to the people it represents. We are stronger as a nation when each voice is heard, and we are blessed with the opportunity to raise our voices with each election. We are proud to support staff and our wider community in participating in fair and free elections. We do not endorse any particular party or candidate, and our commitment is undertaken in a spirit of nonpartisanship and seeks to promote free, fair, safe accessible elections. This year Hazon-Pearlstone is partnering in the following ways to engage with voters on the values that matter most to us: creating a healthier, more sustainable, and more equitable world for all. Get Out the Vote (GOTV) Hazon’s Jewish Youth Climate Movement (JYCM) is co-hosting phone banks this fall, as part of Dayenu’s Chutzpah 2022 campaign to encourage Jewish climate-concerned voters to participate in the upcoming midterm elections. Join JYCM teen leaders on Tuesday November 1 from 6:30-8:30pm ET. Check out the full roster of phone-bank sessions here. Volunteering Hazon-Pearlstone & JYCM have […]

Continue Reading 0
jakir-manela

Elul, Shmita, & Culture Change

Friends, We find ourselves in the month of Elul, a time for introspection and checking in with ourselves, a time to confront all the ways in which we missed the mark this past year, and a time to reflect upon who we want to be in the year ahead. We prepare with anticipation of the holy days coming soon, and we begin the work of teshuvah, tfilah, and tzedakah–repentance, prayer, and justice–so that we may transform ourselves and our world. But this is not just any Elul. This is the end of the Shmita year, and as Rav Kook teaches us, “What the Sabbath does for the individual, Shmita does for the nation.” So now is the time to ask ourselves both individually and collectively, communally, and globally: What does repentance, prayer, and justice mean for all our people, and for all our planet? Hazon-Pearlstone’s mission is to lead a transformative movement deeply weaving sustainability into the fabric of Jewish life, catalyzing culture change and systemic change through Immersive Retreats, Jewish Environmental Education, and Climate Action. Through education, we seek to create the culture change that Shmita beckons of us, changing lives and building a new kind of Jewish culture […]

Continue Reading 0
jakir-manela

We Rise

“We Rise. Humbly Hearted, Rise. Won’t Be Divided, Rise. With Spirit to Guide Us, Rise. In Hope, In Prayer, We Find Ourselves Here. In Hope, In Prayer, We’re Right Here. We Rise.”  –Batya Levine Friends, Two days ago, President Biden signed into law the Inflation Reduction Act, the culmination of what some have called a “political miracle,” rescuing enormous climate progress from the jaws of defeat just a few weeks ago. Progress IS possible, people power DOES matter, and there really IS vast societal change unfolding all around us. Yet we cannot deny the difficulty of the work ahead. “Glaciers in Europe are experiencing the most severe melting on record,” reports the Washington Post today, and that “Researchers say the melting is ‘off the charts’—and the season isn’t over yet.” So this is a moment for gratitude, strength, and recommitment to the transformative work ahead. With wind at our backs and a long, long way to go. So we rise, as a choice, as an act of faith, as a way of life. Amid this historic moment, leaders of our Jewish Youth Climate Movement (JYCM) gathered at Pearlstone last week for a week-long retreat. JYCM teens led workshops and programs building trust and friendship, developed organizing skills, and […]

Continue Reading 0
jakir-manela

Hope in the Dark

The Jews gave to the world this idea of time as a narrative of hope, which meant that what is lost can be regained, what is destroyed can be rebuilt, and what disappears may one day return. – Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, “On Tisha B’Av For Our Time” The future is dark, with a darkness as much of the womb as the grave. – Rebecca Solnit, “Hope In the Dark” Friends, This past weekend we observed Tisha B’Av, the saddest day of the Hebrew calendar, when we fast and mourn the destruction of the Temples in Jerusalem along with other disasters that fell on this day over time. Many in our movement lament not only our loss as a people on this day, but also our loss as a planet: grieving climate change, environmental racism and injustice, massive species extinction, and countless other traumas we have wrought upon ourselves, people and planet. So it is with tearful gratitude and earnest hope that we watched a minor miracle unfold over the weekend – on Tisha B’Av – when the United States Senate passed the largest investment ($370 Billion) towards combating climate change in our nation’s history! The Inflation Reduction Act is not […]

Continue Reading 0
jakir-manela

A Prayer for our Country

Friends, Today, the Supreme Court of the United States, in their ruling on the West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) case, stripped the EPA’s authority to limit carbon pollution from power plants, drastically reducing our ability to fight climate change. This ruling takes us in the exact opposite, wrong direction: increasing emissions and accelerating climate catastrophes. And though we are all impacted, those hit hardest by this ruling are our most vulnerable fellow Americans: low-income Black & Brown communities living near power plants and harmed by environmental injustices. We find this court’s ruling – gutting the EPA’s ability to curtail the existential threat of carbon emissions – to be morally and religiously unconscionable. And this comes, of course, on the heels of a rather devastating few days, as last week the Supreme Court first eroded states’ abilities to enact gun safety regulations, and then overturned Roe vs Wade, effectively ending the federal protections for the right to an abortion. We are rocked by these rulings, and want to share the Jewish Council for Public Affairs statement on gun safety here, and invite you to join us in supporting our partners at the National Council for Jewish Women. So it’s […]

Continue Reading 0
jakir headshot

How We Can Help Our Partners in Ukraine

Friends, We have watched, horrified, as Putin’s Russia has invaded Ukraine, causing bloodshed, destruction, and hundreds of thousands of innocent people fleeing. What you may not know is that Hazon operates a global Jewish intentional community network called Hakhel that includes communities in Ukraine. For the past five years, the Hakhel network has engaged leaders and innovative communities doing great things in Ukraine, in all major cities: Kiev, Harkov, Lvov, Odessa, and Dnepro. They were there before this crisis and they will outlast it, doing amazing things in Jewish education, community building, culture and social activism. Friday morning, our Hakhel Director, Aharon Ariel Lavi, organized a call for the Hakhel network to hear directly from these Ukrainian Jewish leaders. You can watch the entire meeting here. If you read Hebrew, you might also like this piece on yNet, Israel’s largest news website, covering our efforts. If you would like to get involved and stay informed, please register here. These action items emerged from that call: Supporting Refugees: A delegation is going tomorrow to Kishinyev, Moldova, to support the local Rabbi in attending over 500 refugees, 200 of whom are children. We expect to receive more requests for delegations. Hakhel communities […]

Continue Reading 0
jakir headshot

COP26: Hope & Despair

Friends, I recently returned from COP26 – the United Nations Conference on Climate Change – and it was an unforgettable experience. The number of people, events, issues, spaces…it was truly one of the most complex, multifaceted, and profound events I’ve ever seen. Leaders and activists from across the globe, dozens of languages, a beautiful tapestry of faith communities  – negotiating, teaching, learning, and sharing – trying to turn the tide towards a sustainable future. Join us this Sunday, November 21st, 8pm ET, as we ask “Now What? A Post-COP26 Conversation with Elders.” Together we will take stock: what happened in Glasgow, where does that leave us, and where do we go from here? We will learn from our Elders  – Ruth Messinger and Rabbi Arthur Waskow  – and break out into small group discussions lead by an amazing cadre of Jewish environmental leaders. If ever there was a need for a movement-wide town hall, this is it. Please join us!  Throughout my journey, and since my return, I have been surprised to feel… hope. It started just before I left, when I saw this beautiful rainbow in the sky above Pearlstone: But hope is hard to come by these days. Leading […]

Continue Reading 0

Getting down to bedrock

Tuesday, May 25, 2021 | 14 Sivan 5781   Dear All, Many of the arguments that divide contemporary Jewish life come down to different readings of what it means to be Jewish. I want to offer some of my own thoughts on this. Before I do, let me preface these remarks with the reminder that Hazon, institutionally, doesn’t take “positions” on things. You can support Hazon, or work for Hazon, or attend any of our programs, whether you agree with what I write here, or disagree, or for that matter are baffled by what I write. In these emails I am thinking through some of the things that animate my own work, and sometimes providing context for things we do or don’t do, but you’re entirely free to disagree with anything I write. I strive to respond politely and thoughtfully to every person who replies to one of these emails, and I know from that experience that the range of views on a list as long as Hazon’s is considerable. Which is as it should be. And so to our current struggles. It may be that to be Jewish is to (a) strive never to distinguish between one human being […]

Continue Reading
shamu_taking_action_advocacy_square

Take action for a just and climate-smart food system

Take action for a just and climate-smart food system… even if you aren’t following all the complexities taking place on Capitol Hill! We are tracking opportunities for the Jewish community to tip the scales toward effective policy. Join our advocacy alert list and we’ll call you to action (well, we’ll email you to action) whenever a groundswell of grassroots voices would make a difference. Sign up here to receive Hazon’s Advocacy Alerts! Does calling your legislator and asking them to support, or oppose, an upcoming bill sound intimidating? We’ll make it easy by providing a clear script. You don’t need any prior understanding of what a filibuster is or what political infighting is happening in which relevant subcommittees! Does commenting on a Department of Agriculture rulemaking process sound kind of boring? We’re not going to lie, it is. But with our help, it will take only five minutes or less out of your day! Jewish heroism has never been limited to the story of young David with a loaded slingshot or Judah Maccabee with his shield. Our work on behalf of a just and abundant future has mostly manifested as stories of individuals joining together to collectively do the small, […]

Continue Reading
hanukkah

Darkness, and light – from the United Nations

Wednesday, December 9, 2020 | Erev Chanukah   Dear All, First: a huge thank you to every single person who has supported us in 2020. A record number of people supported us on Giving Tuesday. I and we appreciate it. This year we survived, we thrived, we’ve touched people’s lives. And we hope to catapult into 2021 and beyond. If you want to be a stakeholder in Hazon, please click here to give a year-end gift. Second: practically the last thing I did, pre-Covid, was attend a superb Tu B’Shvat gathering in Seattle, organized by Lisa Colton and Rabbi Josh Weisman and a bunch of their friends.  Now with them and with a growing number of partners we’re happy to announce the launch of The Big Bold Jewish Climate Fest, over Tu B’Shvat in late January – one week after the inauguration. Go to the website for info or – better yet – to propose sessions you’d like to deliver. Third: Campus at Camp looks like it’s happening. Registration closes tomorrow. If you want to join us, click here. The remainder of this email I give over to António Guterres – the Secretary General of the UN. He gave a speech at Columbia University last week […]

Continue Reading
sign reading one world

The fires this time: public goods, the Jewish community, different time horizons

Tuesday, September 15, 2020 | 26 Elul 5780   Dear All, We weren’t going to send an email this week. We figured there’d be enough in your inbox in the days before Rosh Hashanah. But I am prompted by the fires out West to write something I have been thinking about for some while. This isn’t an appeal email, it’s not really a “shana tova” email, but I hope you’ll take a few moments to read it. The fires out west go to the heart of so many of the challenges we presently face, and Covid has provoked its own further re-assessment for us as an organization. We intend that Hazon will come out of this stronger and more focused. But part of that focus is striving to be as truthful as we can about what is possible, what is necessary, and the relationship between the two – for the Jewish community institutionally and for each of us as individuals. What is possible: every single thing we do to help create a more sustainable world is arithmetically close to meaningless. One change in behavior. One fewer plane trip. One donation to NRDC, one vote for the more sustainable candidate. Individually […]

Continue Reading 0
if logo isabella freedman

Isabella Freedman Update and Summer Getaways

Tuesday, May 26, 2020 | 47th day of the omer, hod she’b’malchut Dear All, Normally at this time of year we share updates on our plans for a vibrant summer at Isabella Freedman. As we all know, this year is a different kind of year, and this announcement is a different kind of announcement. Covid-19 has changed how we will be able to gather for the foreseeable future. It has become increasingly clear that retreats are unlikely to be able to run with the same participation numbers and pricing that they have in the past, even as Covid cases have begun to fall. As a result, we will be cancelling all retreats through the end of 2020. But even as we cancel retreats, we are hard at work trying to ensure that other programs can still take place at Isabella Freedman. Our campus is beautifully located. We exist to serve our clients, to offer rest and renewal outside the city, and to do so in a way that nourishes and inspires people. We can’t do that, this year, with our traditional retreats. It may not be possible to do anything at all. But we are exploring whether we can enable at least […]

Continue Reading