Topic: Philadelphia

To See and Be Seen – D’Varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

Liora Lebowitz, Jewish Farm School – Philadelphia, PA Parashat V’zot Haberachah + Sukkot & Simchat Torah 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. Views expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily represent Hazon. 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! Priority Deadline is October 31! Together with the holiday of Simchat Torah, V’zot Haberacha, the final parsha of the Torah, marks the transition from the end of a cycle to beginning anew. From beginning to end, the readings of Torah follow the Jewish calendar, and there are strong parallels between the cycle of the Jewish calendar and the corresponding seasonal and agricultural cycles of the year. During Simchat Torah, we ready ourselves to read the final parsha of the Torah – to celebrate our accumulated knowledge and […]

Continue Reading
shmita-collage

Emerging from an Organizational Shmita

By Nati Passow 11 months ago, I posted a piece on the Jewish Farm School website about how we were choosing to embrace Shmita as an organization.  You can read the entire piece here, but the final paragraph sums up the gist. We are using the Shmita year as an opportunity for fewer programmatic commitments, more organizational reflection, and a focus on building a strong local foundation in Philadelphia.  It is our hope that in this year of rest and renewal, we are feeding the soil that will, in turn, feed thoughtful, inspired, and sustainable organizational growth for the next Shmita cycle. What played out over the following 11 months has proven to be incredibly significant as we enter into a new phase of organizational growth, in line with the beginning of the next Shmita cycle.  Since 2013, we have been making an organizational pivot, turning our focus to our Urban Sustainability Programs in Philadelphia.  We saw the Shmita year as an opportunity to complete this shift, and do so in a way that would create a strong foundation for this next phase of our work. We would not look to grow our programs or our budget, and would instead dedicate time […]

Continue Reading

From Shmita to Hak’hel: Assembling on October 4

By Rabbi Arthur Waskow In the last several years, many societies and cultures have been stirred by the sense of a great planetary crisis caused by human action to overwork the earth — – the burning of fossil fuels scorching our global ecosystem, the human gobbling up of eco-space bringing on the extinctions of many other species, widespread deforestation weakening the Earth’s ability to absorb the overproduction of CO2, human behavior poisoning rivers and oceans and exhausting many watersheds. For some, these events have stirred two biblical memories and midrash: the identification of corporate “Carbon Pharaohs” that profit from bringing plagues upon the Earth; and for the first time in Jewish history, a serious exploration of how the Torah of the Shmita/ Sabbatical Year of rest for the land might be applied outside the Land of Israel –- indeed, universally. The realization of this powerful biblical way of understanding and addressing our generation’s crisis came soon enough before the Shmita year of CE 2014-2015 to stir rich discussion, but not soon enough to make the year a time of public transformative action — a real Shmita. As our present Shmita dwindles down, what can we do now, to keep our planet livable? Facing this crisis, 380 rabbis from every stream of Judaism have signed the Rabbinic Letter on the […]

Continue Reading

Making Hummus with Shmita Values

By Michael Bomze On a weekly basis, I make hummus – very much at the mercy of area farmers, as I use fresh produce in each batch – and I donate all of the profits to Philadelphia urban farms. Admittedly, I do not think I ever had learned of the concept of Shmita before this year’s Hazon Philadelphia Jewish Food Festival – and I wasn’t initially sure how, in any capacity, I could apply the tradition of the Shmita to my 21st Century-paced life in a very large city. I think I’ve made some sense of it since November’s festival, though, and I offer my thoughts below. Though Shmita, a biblical mandate instructing farmers to let land lay fallow every seventh year, is a seemingly straightforward commandment, its implications are several. For instance, it isn’t Shmita that is the reason I’ve been preserving local produce in hummus, but thoughts and discussions regarding Shmita have helped me affirm what I am doing (and, if nothing else, the notion of Shmita has seemed a valid excuse to calm down my everyday life and to pay particularly close attention to my relationships with family, neighbors, and with nature). Regarding my hummus practices and the Shmita, perhaps the most obvious relationship is how each batch serves as […]

Continue Reading

Bike Challenge

We did it!! This past May, my partner made a suggestion, “Let’s try to put more miles on our bikes than we do our cars between Memorial Day and Labor Day this year.” To some, this may seem like an impossible task, but when we bought our home a few years ago, we chose a place with a bike path in the back yard. I am an environmental educator, and our family values reflect a constant consideration of how our actions affect the other species around us. Back to the challenge… As I considered the reality of this situation, I made a pros and cons list to see if this could actually work. First, we both work from home, so our daily commute consists of walking upstairs to our office. If I have meetings, they are generally within a 5-6 mile radius from my home. Both pros for making this a reality. I love my bike, my partner got it for me as a birthday/Chanukkah present a few years ago. It also helps that my partner rides 3x a week with a local cycling club, and they average about 40 miles per outing. This was also a great year to […]

Continue Reading

Nigel Savage at Ohev Shalom Scholar-In-Residence Weekend

Congregation Ohev Shalom, Wallingford, PA is thrilled to present Nigel Savage, founder of America’s largest Jewish environmental organization, Hazon, as the 2013 Scholar-in-Residence. Throughout the weekend of February 8-10, Mr. Savage will be presenting a series of engaging and thought-provoking lectures around the theme, “Eating Jewishly in the 21st century.” On Sunday morning, the weekend will culminate with a brunch event where Nigel Savage will team with renowned Philadelphia chef, Michael Solomonov, for further conversation. All events are free and open to the public. For more information visit, www.ohev.net, and see the link to “Scholar-in-Residence.”

Continue Reading
chamin

How Chamin (Ancient Sabbath Stew) Came To Philadelphia

Originally posted on The Philadelphia Jewish Voice By Ronit Treatman Please enjoy this clip I filmed about how chamin (Portuguese cholent) came to Philadelphia.  It was filmed at Stenton Mansion, one of the best-preserved colonial homes in Philadelphia.  I would like to extend my special thanks to Marlene Samoun for permitting me to use her soulful rendition of the ladino folk song Morenika in this clip. Jewish contact with Spain may go as far back as the Kingdom of Solomon.  It is thought that Southern Spain was the country of Tarshish.  Tarshish was the furthest place west that people could sail to from Ancient Israel in Biblical times.  There was a continuous Jewish presence in Spain until March 31, 1492. (more…)

Continue Reading
Fair Food Book_Invitation_PhillySpecial

Fair Food’s Oran Hesterman Visits Elkin’s Park [Philadelphia]

Join Congregation Kol Ami in Elkins Park, PA for a book talk with Oran Hesterman, author of Fair Food: Growing a Healthy, Sustainble Food System For all. Click image for larger view.   Event sponsored by Hazon CSA Elkins Park, Creekside Coop, Transition Cheltenham Food Action Group and Congregation Kol Ami

Continue Reading