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Topic: Newsletters

Hazon sends out weekly newsletters to keep you in the loop on events, updates, great stories, and happenings from our friends! Not receiving our newsletters? Join our mailing list.

47 years… and the next ten days

From Nigel Savage April 20th, 2017 | 24th Nisan 5777 | 9th day of the omer; gevurah she’b’gevurah   Dear All, Nearly half a century ago, on April 22, 1970, twenty million people took to the streets for the first Earth Day – which happened to fall during Pesach, the holiday of mass protest against injustice. Within months, the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts passed Congress, and the Environmental Protection Agency was born. America showed the world that industrial might could be paired with respect for the health of people and the planet. Hazon seeks to build a healthier and more sustainable Jewish community, and a healthier and more sustainable world for all. We share many of the aims of those who brought about a transformation in our country’s approach to the environment 47 years ago. In our retreats and our immersive programs we touch people’s lives very directly, one by one, sometimes in profound ways. Our riders have raised several million dollars to support our work, to support the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, and in mini-grants that have gone to a wide range of organizations. Our curricula resources have underpinned educational work across the Jewish world, especially […]

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This year in Jerusalem…

From Nigel Savage   April 6th, 2017 | 10th Nissan 5777 This year in Jerusalem… Dear All, The last year in which I didn’t set foot in Israel was 1984. My visits have encompassed the days of the asimonim, the devolution of the currency, and the tech boom of the last ten years; also being attacked in the first intifada, suicide bombs in Jerusalem, and the period after Rabin’s assassination. In relation to Israel, since 2003 Hazon has produced 16 Israel Rides, five Siach Conferences, a hike, two intentional communities trips, and three Sustainable Israel tours. That’s the backdrop to my trip last month, which was one of the more interesting I’ve made. I was there for a Hazon Sustainable Israel Tour followed by a four-day Encounter trip. Each involved meeting activists and leaders, learning, asking questions. These are some of my impressions. First: Israel is thriving, struggling, inspiring, complex. People live in such geographical closeness to each other, yet there is such radical cultural separateness – different religion, language, clothes, food, politics. While we were there we got a sense of what it is like to eat if you are blind (at Na La’Ga’at); we learned about the remarkable […]

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Inspiration, aspiration, respiration…

From Nigel Savage   Dear All, In December we had a board meeting and took part of the time to discuss the election. One of our older and wiser board members said, people are moving too fast, right now. We need to let this administration get started, and see what happens. Well, here we are: six days into this administration, with 1,455 still to go. (0.4% of the time has passed, and 99.6% still remains.) Buckle your seat belts. Hazon’s task is not to lose focus, in relation to the vital and good things we are doing, things which at their heart are about helping us to be the people we aspire to be, helping the Jewish community to be the community that it aspires to be. So: a few suggestions and requests: The Hazon Seal of Sustainability. We’re patient. This is messianic. From 2007 to 2014 we did systemic work on the Farm Bill. And we worked to grow Jewish CSAs. And we were persistent in helping to bring shmita back to life. And now we’re in year two of a new seven-year cycle in Jewish life, and the Hazon Seal pilot we launched last year – in year […]

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Transitions & beginnings / a first-ever joint email…

Dear All, This past Shabbat, we read the last chapter of Bereishit, the book of Genesis. On Sunday and Monday, we celebrated MLK weekend. And this coming Shabbat, we start the book of Shmot, the book of Exodus. Bereishit is a story of individuals – a person, a family, a heritage. With Shmot, we begin the story of a people. We make this journey – from an individual to a family to a community – every year. It’s core to the Jewish narrative and to the human process – born into a family, individuating and figuring out our own unique journeys, then binding our own lives with those of others, in multiple ways. It’s the journey of our organizations, also, and that’s why this is the first email ever that is being sent out jointly by Hazon, Pearlstone Center, Urban Adamah, and Wilderness Torah. Each of our organizations has its own history, its own foundation myth, its own mission and vision. We have separate boards and staffs and CEOs. Yet we support each other in multiple ways, and we share many common values. We’re each involved in one or more of the elements that in acronym we summarize as JOFEE – Jewish Outdoor, Food, Farming, […]

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Gratitude & practice

From Nigel Savage Dear All, It’s a hundred years since 1917. Technological change was accelerating. The promise of human-powered flight had turned into bombs raining down on the miserable soldiers in the trenches of the First World War. (One of them was my Zaydie, who took a bullet through his finger. It probably, in retrospect, saved his life.) The world was uncertain and scary. One of the books people were reading, a hundred years ago, was Walter Lippmann’s Drift and Mastery. Here’s a taste of it: “We are unsettled to the very roots of our being… We have changed our environment more quickly than we know how to change ourselves… We live in great cities without knowing our neighbors, the loyalties of place have broken down… We have to prepare children to face the unexpected, for their problems will not be the same as their fathers’ [sic]…” There is much in this vein, many pages of it, and of course I share it now because his observations, true then, have never in human history been more true than today. Over the holidays I read Andy Stern’s Raising The Floor. Andy joined the SEIU in 1977, and led it from 1995 […]

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New light, new ideas, new collaboration

From Nigel Savage Dear All, We’re going strong into 2017. Hazon has had the best year in our history, and we have big ambitions for 2017 and beyond. A huge thank you to everyone who has supported us this year (including the many of you who have given recent year-end gifts). Our work happens only because of the stakeholders who enable it. Huge thanks. Huge thanks. And as the dust begins to settle on some of the changes in this country this year, some things are getting clearer. For Hazon, in 2017, we’ll aim to do all that we’re doing now – and then some. We’re going to strengthen our Isabella Freedman campus. It’s a unique resource in American Jewish life, it’s an especially vital resource for the tri-state area, and it’s a place where magic happens. Coming up soon, we hope and intend: fresh investments in our staff and in our campus, and a master-planning process to imagine a renewed and rebuilt Freedman increasing its impact for the next two or three generations; We’re deepening our work on the ground – in New York, in Detroit, in Colorado, in San Diego. We’re genuinely thinking globally and acting locally. Coming […]

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Adaptive leadership / “the 3 x 3 grid”

From Nigel Savage Dear All, This last weekend at Isabella Freedman we held our fourth Jewish Intentional Communities Conference. I arrived at Freedman – truthfully – tired, a little sick, and more than somewhat depressed about the state of the world. I left refreshed, renewed, provoked, inspired, and smiling. The weekend served to remind me of the depth and impact of Hazon’s work, and the subtle and profound eco-systems of change we’re trying to engender and support. It prompts me this week to explain the context for our work in a slightly different way – what we call, internally, the 3×3 grid. But first, a more general point: This is a moment when we all need to step forward and step back – and the rhythm of that will be different for each one of us. Stepping forward is about having an impact in the world – changing the world, for good. We have to do that. And stepping backwards is about renewing and replenishing ourselves. We have to do that too. And the first – over the long run – is dependent on the second. Regardless of religious observance, for example, I’m more convinced than ever before that “observing […]

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One week later / a 9-year-old’s question to G!d…

From Nigel Savage Thank you for the kind and thoughtful comments that many of you sent in response to last week’s email. This is a marathon, not a sprint, and I fear the intensity of what is going on at the moment. I feel it myself – the lurid pull of the news, that sense of OMG, now what’s just happened? – and yet I want desperately to find solid ground; for myself, for the Jewish community, for America. I agree strongly that faith communities, non-profits, ethnic groups, and the whole rainbow panoply of civic society will need to pull together in the coming months and years – to defend the EPA; to do all we can to stop the USA from regressing on climate change initiatives; to guard against the targeting of Muslim communities; and to stand clear and firm against anti-semitism. With due humility, Hazon will try to make as great a difference as we can on some of these issues, going forwards. Above and beyond these things, though, I’m concerned about issues of balance. Normally the intensity of the election campaign, already far too long in the US, gives way to a different energy after the election […]

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Brexit, the presidential election, social capital & the evolution of synagogues…

From Nigel Savage There’s a fascinating academic study on the aftermath of the Brexit vote in the UK. One of the things it looked at was the relationship between social capital and the referendum. It defines social capital as the resource that arises from interpersonal networks and the norms of trust and reciprocity that facilitate social interaction within them – the ‘glue’ which helps society function. Those with high social capital can draw on the people they know – family, friends, and community – for support in all aspects of life. High social capital has been linked with positive outcomes in a range of areas, from better government, higher levels of health and education, lower levels of crime, and even less tax evasion. People with high social capital may be better able to adapt to changes in their personal situation and changes in their communities because they are able to draw on more extensive social networks. The study showed a strong trend between social capital and Leave voting – those with the lowest levels of social capital were almost twice as likely to have voted Leave [on Brexit] as those with the highest levels. That’s a remarkable finding. And my […]

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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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