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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.

Nigel Headshot 2021

A few words from Hazon’s new Global Ambassador, Nigel Savage

Please make a gift to Hazon today. Every dollar received by the end of the year will be directly invested into our growing programs and deepening our impact. ​December 30, 2021 | 26 Tevet 5782 | Jerusalem   Dear All, For affording me this sabbatical, as I stepped down as CEO, I feel so blessed, so lucky, so grateful, to so many people at Hazon. Thank you to the staff, to the board, to stakeholders, to Marina Lewin (our amazing board chair), to Jakir – and to each and all of you. It has been a very rich four months, despite the craziness of the Covid-era intervening in various ways. I offer three brief vignettes. One was Yom Kippur. Normally I’m in shul all the way through. I love Yom Kippur, I’ve fasted every year since I was seven, I daven the whole thing. I kept Yom Kippur even in the five years when I kept hardly anything else. But this year I had bumped into Michal Deutsch, a week before, as she started an 8-day hunger strike, outside Beit Hanassi (the President’s residence) to call on the government to declare a climate emergency. She’s a law student, 20-something, secular, tattooed. […]

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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 […]

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Greetings from Glasgow, Scotland

Friends, I just arrived in Glasgow, Scotland for the United Nations Climate Change Conference known as COP26, happening today through Nov. 12. Many have said that this gathering of world leaders may be our last chance to prevent catastrophic climate change. Hazon’s visionary founder, Nigel Savage, will be meeting me there – he’s traveling from Israel – and together we will join about 25 other formal Jewish delegates from around the world, including Israel, as part of a massive crowd of 20,000 people attending the formal negotiations and side events, not to mention marches, protests, and other activities. Together we will bring a strong Jewish voice to this momentous gathering with such far-reaching implications. And we’ll also be hosting an Eco-Shabbat vegetarian dinner for the Jews at a nearby synagogue. My kids – and their future – are on my mind as I take this journey, along with young people everywhere. I was deeply moved and inspired by the moral clarity and passion shown by leaders of the Jewish Youth Climate Movement when I spoke with them Thursday night – watch the video here. But of course, this is not just about the Jews. Our Jewish delegation is part of […]

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Moments of Truth: Climate, Antisemitism, & Justice

Friends, We arrive at a moment of truth, and we must push through. Join us for one final effort, calling for transformative climate investments in emerging federal legislation, on our Day of Action this Thursday, October 28th. We pray that our elected officials get this done. World leaders are gathering for the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Scotland (COP26). Many say this is our last chance to avoid runaway climate change and the pain and suffering, social and economic upheaval it will bring.  Join us Thursday night for a COP26 Conversation with the Jewish Youth Climate Movement. Then, Nigel Savage and I will be broadcasting a Sound the Call podcast series from the conference in Scotland, sharing highlights and interviewing leaders of our multifaith climate movement. After COP26 ends, join us to debrief and process through a Conversation with leaders of the Jewish environmental movement, Sunday evening, November 14th. Together we will gain perspective from veterans of our movement, with breakout rooms for more intimate small group discussion. And there is another truth we must face together: antisemitism on the rise and in our midst. A week ago, the DC Chapter of the Sunrise Movement – a climate justice […]

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jakir and jennie rosenn at climate protest sq

Climate Action NOW with Hazon & Dayenu

Friends, Hazon works alongside many strong partners across the Jewish world and beyond, and moving forward we are honored to feature our allies as guest writers for our newsletter. To start off this partnership series, Rabbi Jennie Rosenn introduces Dayenu and the critically important role we can all play in fighting for strong climate action now!  Jakir Manela CEO, Hazon After more than 20 years working as a rabbi mobilizing the American Jewish community around issues of social, economic, and racial justice issues, I have come to understand the climate crisis as the existential crisis of our time. And at its core, it is a question of equity and justice – even as climate change affects everyone, historically marginalized communities bear the brunt of its impacts. We launched Dayenu: A Jewish Call to Action 18 months ago, to help build a multi-generational movement of American Jews confronting the climate crisis with spiritual audacity and bold political action. We mobilize Jewish support for climate solutions, build collective power, and raise up a spiritual, religious, and moral voice in the national and global climate movements. A growing grassroots network and diverse partner organizations are joining Dayenu campaigns to advance comprehensive climate policy, leverage communal power in key moments, press candidates and elected […]

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The Story of Creation

Friends, This past week we read the Creation story twice: once during Simchat Torah then again over Shabbat, the first of the new annual Torah reading cycle, known as Shabbat Breishit. I love the early chapters of the book of Genesis, and so, during the last shmita year in 2014, I began using the first chapter of Genesis-Breishit as a Shabbat bedtime story for our kids. Lying in bed with Lev and Shama, we shared in the story of the first seven days, of the gifts of Creation and Shabbat. What is so powerful about this story? For me, it is the simple, elemental wisdom of seder breishit, the sense of order in Creation. That everything has its place, that we are all part of an interconnected orchestra of life, or as the classic Teva song puts it, that All G!d’s Critters Got a Place in the Choir. David Attenborough’s 2020 documentary film, A Life on Planet Earth, brings seder breishit to life through a moving portrayal of the natural order, of our massive imperiling impact on the living world, and the urgent need for global change across human cultures and societies. I encourage you to bring people together to […]

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Beginning a new chapter, together

Friends,  I step into the Hazon CEO role with deep gratitude for everything that has been built over the past 21 years, and with great appreciation for the amazing staff, boards, and supporters of Hazon, Isabella Freedman, and Pearlstone. Together, we have helped spark a transformative movement with powerful potential. The Jewish Environmental Movement is clearly one of the strongest, most vibrant streams in Jewish life today. We now have further reach than ever before, so as we face the global climate crisis, together we are poised to multiply our impact and catalyze social, environmental, and spiritual change across the Jewish world and beyond. Like a havdalah candle, our movement weaves together multiple interrelated strands: JOFEE, Jewish Retreating, the Jewish Food Movement, Jewish Community Farming, Climate Activism & Advocacy, the Jewish Youth Climate Movement, Jewish Intentional Communities, and more. Each strand has had tremendous impact already, and now we have a profound opportunity to manifest our ambitious mission: to lead a transformative movement deeply weaving sustainability into the fabric of Jewish life, in order to create a healthier, more sustainable, and equitable world for all. As we embark upon this new chapter and awesome task ahead, I want you to […]

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Nigel Headshot 2021

An Ending, and Two Beginnings (7 of 7)

Thursday, August 26, 2021 | 18 Elul 5781   Nigel: Hi! Jakir: Shalom!  You did it!  I’m not sure how you pulled it off, but you made it to the holy land! N: Yep. I’m now in bidud, the word the Israelis use for “quarantine” or “self-isolation.” It’s from the same root as hitbodedut, a type of personal meditation that traces back to Reb Nachman of Bratslav.  And bidud does feel like a kind of hitbodedut. Getting ready for Rosh Hashanah and for the shmita year – getting organized, getting clean.  J: Getting clean? N: Bidud-enforced cold turkey! Before I arrived, a friend brought to the apartment fruits, vegetables, some fish, some eggs. But: no booze, no caffeine, no sugar, no chocolate, no wheat; no dairy except for some goat yoghurt. And I’m not allowed to leave the apartment for seven days, so I’m committed, whether I like it or not. 🙂 J: That sounds…fun…I guess?!  Of course I have four kids, an incredible partner, and now two organizations to run, in the process of merging. So probably not a lot of bidud-self-isolation in my near future… N: Well, that’s true. But this is not your bidud moment. You’re in a […]

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Why does shmita matter? (6 of 7)

Friday, August 20, 2021 | 12 Elul 5781   Dear All, I admit that I am baffled by Jeopardy!, and why people care about it. (What’s wrong with University Challenge?) But Jeopardy does remind us to ask this: what questions does shmita come to answer?This led me, a couple of years ago, to amend my own observance. It is true that last time I didn’t buy any books, or any liquor, for the whole year. Doing this reminded me that it was the shmita year, and that I had enough.But then I realized that this failed, even metaphorically, even as just one individual, to address one of the central questions that shmita comes to answer: how do we reduce inequality?  Because shmita is not just about “letting the land go, letting it be.” (Shmot 23:11). It’s about doing this “that the needy of the people may eat.” (same verse). So for this forthcoming shmita year I’ve decided, bli neder, to  Not buy books, not buy liquor, and (after the last 17 months of covid-wear) not buy any clothes, but then also  To figure out roughly what I spend on these three things, in a normal year, and give that money to people […]

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Israel (5 of 7)

Friday, August 13, 2021 | 5 Elul 5781   Dear All, The second day of the 2005 Israel Ride was on Thursday, May 12th. The day before we had ridden from Jerusalem to Ashkelon. Now we were riding to Mashabeh Sadeh, alongside the northern tip of Gaza. That day was Israel’s Independence Day, i.e. a public holiday. And it was the year of the proposed “hitnatkut” – the withdrawal from Gaza.  So we rode alongside an enormous traffic jam of Israelis flying orange flags (the color associated with the Gush Katif settlements in Gaza), protesting against the withdrawal. Miles and miles of cars with orange flags. And it was important to see this. Most liberal American Jews, at the time, seemed to feel: “of course I support the withdrawal. What’s Israel doing in Gaza in the first place? The sooner Israel leaves, the better.” But huge numbers of Israelis were against the withdrawal; and the Israelis in favor of the withdrawal had a rather different perspective from the Americans: “on balance I’m in favor of the hitnatkut. But I pray that the Gazans, after we’ve withdrawn, don’t smuggle in heavy weapons. And if they do, and G!d forbid they lob a […]

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Climate at a tipping point: What do we do? (4 of 7)

Friday, August 6, 2021 | 28 Av 5781   Dear All, You might think this email would for me be easy and obvious. But it has been the hardest one to write. I want to convey some seemingly contradictory ideas.  It has been right for the environmental movement not to overstate things (i.e. not to make wild claims beyond what we already know). But it’s been clear for some while that the numbers and the projected negative impact, in terms of temperature rise and concomitant impacts, were and are more likely to be worse, rather than better, than our median projections. And this summer has felt like a tipping point. 116 degrees in cool temperate Canada. People suddenly wanting air conditioners in Seattle. Flood deaths in Germany. Wildfires in California, Greece, Turkey. Here’s the Guardian today – 14 separate stories, led by “Last Month Was Worst July For Wildfires On Record.” The Covid pandemic is a parallel cautionary tale.  A lesson about how something out of kilter in one part of the planet can have impacts the whole world over. A reminder of the fragility of systems – and of human beings. An object lesson in the necessity of good […]

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Does Jewish tradition support my politics? (3 of 7)

Thursday, July 29, 2021 | 20 Av 5781   Dear All, There was the first time I went on this thing called Facebook. It asked my religion, so I wrote “Manchester United.” It asked my politics, so I wrote “Jewish.” We can talk some other time about commitment to Manchester United as an ancient familial tribal religion.  But in this email, I want to reflect a little about Jewish tradition and politics. Is Jewish tradition conservative? Well, yes. It’s a slow-moving tradition, it’s generally against change, its strong instinct is: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Is Jewish tradition moderate? Yes, strongly it is. It’s a very on the one hand / on the other hand tradition, almost definitionally so. Well then, is it liberal? Yes, of course it is, in a few senses of the word. It’s strongly open to new ideas. And Jewish thinking has been deeply interwoven with the evolution of civil liberties, democracy, the rights of the individual, and free enterprise.  Is it radical? Yes, strongly so. The notion that every human being is made in the image of (this unimaginably powerful) G!d –  is in and of itself, in a fundamentally unequal world, incredibly […]

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Some thoughts for funders (2 of 7)

Thursday, July 22, 2021 | 13 Av 5781  One big idea – and a few smaller ones. Dear All, First: gratitude. I don’t take anyone’s gift to Hazon for granted. (If it ever seemed like I did, I apologize.) We’re an imperfect organization, but as each year has gone by our impact has increased. Your support enables this. Whether you have given $36, or $3,600, or six and even seven-figure gifts and grants – thank you. When I started Hazon I had never fundraised, nor thought about it. But I have now spent 21 years (worrying about) fundraising, and so in the second of these stepping-down-as-CEO reflections, I want to share a few thoughts for funders. (Most of these comments are for foundations, federations, and the largest individual funders – though not all.) I don’t claim unique insight; I merely wish to add my voice to the weight of some of these arguments. These are, in many cases, things I’ve been thinking about for a while, but haven’t yet said publicly. 1. Please increase payout ratios. Most “normal” foundations have too low a payout ratio. 5% is a legal minimum, not a guideline. If you’re a foundation trustee or CEO and […]

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Leadership and failure (1 of 7)

Thursday, July 15, 2021 | 6 Av 5781    Dear All, As I step down as CEO, this is the first of seven emails, reflecting on a range of different topics, to the Hazon list, roughly weekly from today. That’ll take us from now through August 26th – and it will give Jakir a chunk of August to settle in, before he starts to share some of his own opening reflections. Thank you to the many, many people who sent gracious messages after the announcement last week. People said kind things about Hazon, about Pearlstone, about Jakir, about the merger; and about me. It was proverbially like hearing parts of your own funeral eulogy. (The analogy may be especially apt because funeral eulogies, I note, skew to the generous.) I’m proud of Hazon. I’m proud to have worked hard to bring it into existence; and proud also that, despite bumps along the way, we are still in existence, and Isabella Freedman too. This should not be taken for granted. I’m delighted at so many of the things that, together, we have accomplished. I feel so lucky and so blessed to be able to have vision and to bring fresh ideas to […]

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Stepping down as CEO; Hazon merger

July 8, 2021 | 28 Tammuz 5781   Dear All, Here’s the statement that Hazon & Pearlstone have just released. All the rest (of this email) is commentary… I’m stepping down as CEO after 21 years. It is bittersweet. I love this organization, and I believe in it very deeply. I’m so grateful to everyone who has helped us, and helped me, reach this point. And/but… it is good to make way for new leadership; and good to step down, to reflect, renew, to think about vision and the next phases of life. For me the timing goes back partly to the last shmita year, in 2014-’15. I (somewhat randomly) decided not to buy books or liquor. Clearly neither of these things is religiously prescribed. But I wanted to do something that would remind me that the year was different from the other six in the cycle; and I wanted to change my behavior in a way that, like the biblical shmita, would reduce my normal consumption. To my surprise, I kept to these two decisions the whole year. They did indeed remind me not only that it was the shmita year, but also that in so many ways, I […]

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