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Topic: JOFEE

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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A Heart to Know, Eyes to See, and Ears to Hear | D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

by Danielle Smith, Eden Village Camp, Putnam Valley, NY Parashat Ki Tavo 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!  In this week’s Torah portion, Ki Tavo, Moses speaks reflectively and instructively to the Israelites as they approach the Promised Land, finally nearing the end of their forty year journey through the wilderness. Here at Eden Village Camp, we may not have spent forty years wandering the wilderness of Putnam Valley (though sometimes the packed days and weeks at camp can feel almost as long #jewishcamptime), but the transition into the fall season is the perfect time for deep reflection and exhalations. It was a fast leap from summer into the slower pace of the fall, and after two months of […]

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From Outside the Walls In – JOFEE at the J | D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

by Eli Goldstein, Shimon and Sara Birnbaum JCC, Bridgewater, NJ Parashat Ki Teitzei 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!  This week’s torah portion, Ki Teitzei, is quite the pot of gold for mitzvah aficionados, containing seventy-four of the Torah’s 613 commandments. In this parshah, we find laws that create structure and protection around our relationships with other people, with natural creatures and plants, and with objects and property. These include laws involving the “beautiful captive,” burial and dignity of the dead, returning of lost objects, and – two JOFEE favorites – the law of sending away a mother bird before taking an egg from her nest (shiloach ha’ken) and the law of kilayim, the separating of certain plant and […]

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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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Open your heart, Open your hand | D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

by Becky Adelberg, JCC Chicago Parashat Re’eh Editor’s Note: Welcome to D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog! This is our inaugural post. 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! PS Interested in being or hosting a JOFEE Fellow? Applications for cohort two are now open for both prospective fellows and prospective host institutions! And now, on to Becky’s post …  I’m thrilled for this opportunity to write about one of my favorite events of the year: Shabbat on the Lake. To me, Shabbat on the Lake is more than an event. It is a mindset, a movement, a gathering of all corners of the Jewish community;  it’s a tapestry of various affiliations, ways of engaging with Judaism and the possibility of a Jewish community who focuses on things that unite us as opposed to what divides us. Shabbat on the Lake’s inception at JCC Chicago arose six years ago to show young Jewish adults various […]

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What’s Jewish About Processing Acorns?

Guest blog post by Rabbi Josh Jacobs-Velde, founder of Zmanim, a local Jewish community in Northern California connecting Judaism and the natural world. He can be reached at rabbi.josh18@gmail.com“ Jews and acorn processing with Native Americans? It’s not at the top of the list when you think of things Jews do. Yet, there were about 25 of us, adults and children, sitting under the oak trees at Ragle Ranch Park in Sebastopol on Sunday, October 25, learning how to process acorns and coming to understand their place in native Pomo culture. Our teachers were Northern Pomo educator, healer, and wisdom holder Corine Pearce, and her mother Barbara. In our part of Northern California, acorn processing is not unusual, and people tend to think of it as a cool, fun opportunity. But why do this as a Jewish activity? After reflecting on it for some time, here’s what I offered the people who gathered: Yes, it is fun and cool, but let’s back up a minute: what are the connections between Jews/Judaism and oaks/acorns? First, like the vast majority of traditional cultures (since oaks grow almost everywhere) our tradition also can claim some connections with oak trees. In fact, this week’s […]

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yoshi_silverstein

Wanted: Emerging JOFEE Leaders

On a brisk and bright August morning the summer before 11th grade, I stood on the banks of a silty, glacier-fed creek tumbling through alpine meadows at the base of Mount Rainier. Siddur in hand, tallit on the shoulders, and kippah overhead, I sang the Shacharit morning prayers with a soul-thumping gusto emboldened by the awesome backdrop of natural wonder and the surrounding chorus of voices from my fellow Odedim – camp counselors-in-training. It was an inspiring and formative experience of nature, spirituality, community, and place. Today, I’m an educator, landscape designer, and writer, and I’ve spent the past decade-plus working to cultivate these experiences for others. As of last month, I am thrilled to have begun the latest chapter in this journey as Director of the JOFEE Fellowship here at Hazon. The JOFEE Fellowship, which stands for Jewish Outdoor, Food & Environmental Education, is a direct result of the JOFEE Report released in 2013. The research in this report formalized what practitioners and participants have known for some time now: JOFEE is a powerful catalyst for immersive Jewish experiences that connect people to Judaism, community, and the natural world. The report also told us what our field needs to […]

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sukkah-square

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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"If Not Now Society" Induction

If Not Now, Pete Seeger, Fountains, and Challahs

It was fitting that we opened our 3rd annual “If Not Now” event in Brooklyn this week with a video of Pete Seeger (z’l) that we had recorded at Pete’s home for our inaugural “If Not Now” event. I had the privilege of speaking with and visiting Pete many times over the past several years, and, of the many lessons he taught me, Pete had explained that, when he recorded a song that he borrowed from another culture – be it “Tzena, Tzena, Tzena” or “Abiyoyo” – and that recording made money, he didn’t keep that money for himself, but instead contributed the proceeds to a charity that benefited that culture. Pete understood that he was the fountain, but that the musical wisdom, creativity, and joy he was collecting and sharing came from many different sources; and he always respected and honored that. In the same way, we see Hazon – and especially the new Hazon of 2014 – as a fountain that pulls together many different sources. We have now given that fountain a name: JOFEE (Jewish Outdoor, Food, and Environmental Education). That fountain, made stronger by our recent merger, is allowing us to touch many more individuals, families, […]

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JOFEE Experiences Show Increased Potential for Jewish Engagement

National Study Offers Insights on Participants, Programs, and Professionals NEW YORK, NY — Experiences that blend Jewish learning with the outdoors, food, and environment are attracting a growing number of diverse Jews to meaningful and inspiring Jewish life, reports the first-ever national survey on Jewish Outdoor, Food, and Environmental Education (JOFEE) —Seeds of Opportunity: A National Study of Immersive Jewish Outdoor, Food, and Environmental Education (JOFEE). The report, released today by a group of six major funders and Hazon, examines the history, programs, professionals, and participants that comprise JOFEE experiences. Leaders of JOFEE are eager to share the key findings and continue a conversation about its potential for growth and for Jewish engagement. “For the last decade, a growing number of young Jewish people have been connecting Jewish tradition, on the one hand, with food, the environment and the outdoors, on the other,” said Nigel Savage, president of Hazon. “What the study makes clear is that these programs are having an enormously significant impact – on people’s individual identity and Jewish commitment; on leadership development; and, in relation to food and the environment. JOFEE programs are strengthening Jewish life, and are having a significant viral impact as last year’s program […]

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