Topic: Reflections

This Passover, Take Action for the Climate – D’Varim Hamakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

Rachel Aronson – JOFEE / Sustainability and Community Engagement Fellow, Hazon  Jews across the world this week commemorated leaving Egypt to become free people for the holiday of Passover. Friends and family sit around the table together for the seder, celebrating freedom with comfy pillows to recline on and lots of kosher wine. Unfortunately, Passover can also represent something else: the holiday of waste. Those who keep kosher for Pesach (Passover) deep-clean our kitchens before the holiday, rooting out bread, tortillas, muffins, crackers, and every other kind of chametz (leavened or yeasted products) that’s sitting around the house. And to ensure that everything is kosher, we switch out our regular sets of dishes with a special set of only-for-Passover dishes. But who wants to keep an extra set of dishes around the house? It takes up storage space. It’s inconvenient. Understandably, many of us – out of convenience, or out of necessity – use disposable plates, cutlery, cups, and more. Ironically, many of us end up celebrating this holiday of freedom and liberation with trash bags full of styrofoam. Thankfully, Passover is also a holiday that reminds us of our ability to make change — as individuals and as a society. Nowhere is […]

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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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What’s Mine is Yours, and What’s Yours is Yours – D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

Michael Fraade, Jewish Community of Louisville – Louisville, KY Parshat Vayera 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 and will continue to be reviewed as positions are available. Parashat Vayera opens with Abraham rushing to greet three guests who appear near his tent while he is sitting under a terebinth. “My lords,” he insists, “Let a little water be brought; bathe your feet and recline under the tree.  And let me fetch a morsel of bread that you may refresh yourselves.” He and Sarah prepare bread, milk, and a freshly slaughtered calf for their guests, who soon reveal themselves as angels and inform Abraham that Sarah will soon give birth […]

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Going Forth – D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

Eli Goldstein, Shimon and Sara Birnbaum JCC – Bridgewater, NJ Parshat Lech Lecha 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 and will continue to be reviewed as positions are available. There is an entire world around us if we just open our eyes, ears, and mouths. In our new enrichment nature class here at the Shimon and Sara Birnbaum JCC, we are working on using the learning cycle shared by our BEETLES Instructors during JOFEE Fellow training – Invitation, Exploration, Concept Invention, Application, and Reflection – to do just that. This is a class challenging on many levels for me and the students. When you think of nature you may […]

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The day after the election

From Nigel Savage I had a very strange day today: I rode out of Jerusalem, on the first day of our Israel Ride, with our largest ever group of participants, on a beautiful day. The day went smoothly and easily. The sun shone – but not too much. No accidents. Our crew – Israeli, Palestinian, Jordanian, and American alumni of the Arava Institute – were amazing. They’re an inspiration to everyone who spends time with them. They give of themselves in all sorts of ways because they believe that when people engage across difference they can create a better world for all. So: a wonderful day. And somewhere between our ride launch and our first rest stop, it was confirmed that Donald Trump would be the next president of the United States. As you know, we’re a non-profit, and we don’t endorse candidates for office. But I wanted to say a few words to everyone. First: there are many thousands of people on this list, so by definition there must be some of you who are delighted at the outcome of the election. To you I send congratulations and mazal tov. Those of you who did not vote for Donald […]

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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 […]

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Choosing Life – D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog

Yoshi Silverstein  Parshat 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 – twenty […]

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