Jared Kaminsky – Shoresh Parshat Shoftim The parsha of the week is Shoftim, which means Judges. As Moses nears the end of his life, he wants to ensure there is a system of governance in society. Shoftim gives detailed ordinances on many topics of law, including appointing judges, laws that kings should follow, creating cities of refuge when crimes are committed, and the rules of war. For example, the parsha states that appointed judges are forbidden from taking bribes and there must be two credible witnesses for a conviction. Another ordinance demands that kings must not have too many horses and must always carry around two Torah scrolls to remind them that G-D is above them. The Torah even provides a city of refuge for those who accidentally murdered someone to live in safety! While many of these laws do not apply to modern society, there are some important insights into preventing corruption and treatment of humankind that we can still learn from. Moses recognized that every generation has the obligation to critically examine and apply the laws of the Torah. As Jews we should examine the laws that govern the places we live and work to protect the rights of […]
Topic: Tu B’Shvat
Tu b’Shvat is “the new year for trees.” But, above and beyond the history – the tax year in temple times; the kabbalists in Safed; the JNF; the contemporary Jewish environmental movement – the deeper question is, what can, could, or should Tu b’Shvat mean to me today?
Hannah Slipakoff, Jewish Farm School – Philadelphia, PA Parashat Balak In this week’s Parasha, Balak (Numbers 22:2- 25:9), we read a tale about the ways in which kindness and gratitude contribute to justice and G-dliness, and an allegory relating systemic patterns of oppression to land: King Balak of Moab, a ruler whose name means devastator, empty, or wasting, desperately attempts to curse the Israelites. He despises the Tribe of Jacob so deeply, that he attempts to hire Balaam to damn the Israelites for him: There is a people that came out of Egypt; it hides the earth from view, and it is settled next to me. Come then, put a curse upon this people for me, since they are too numerous for me; perhaps I can thus defeat them and drive them out of the land. For I know that he whom you bless is blessed indeed, and he whom you curse is cursed. ~Numbers 22:5-22:7 Balaam mounts a literal WISE ass (inciteful female donkey) and sets out on his wicked task. The Divine however, has a different plan. G-d sends an armed angel to disrupt Balaam’s path, and each time the donkey attempts to avoid danger, Balaam fiercely beats her. […]
From Nigel Savage Dear All, Tu b’Shvat, the Jewish celebration of trees, is observed this Friday night (February 10th) and Saturday (February 11th). This holiday offers us a midwinter moment to take stock of our relationship with Jewish tradition, the natural world, and one another – a process we need this year more than ever. When the Torah describes Jewish tradition as the “tree of life” it is saying not merely that trees in themselves are important but that they are a profound metaphor for the goodness of human civilization on this planet. Our Torah is a “tree of life” because, just as trees grow and flourish and nourish us, so too we hope that Jewish tradition and the Jewish people will grow and flourish and nourish the world. And this is a year in which we all need to step up so that these are not merely words. At Hazon, we’re striving to make a difference. We’re rolling out our Hazon Seal of Sustainability. We’re striving to reduce our own footprint. We’re providing resources to rabbis around the country. We’re partnering with a wide range of our fellow JOFEE organizations. And we’re working with 350.org and a wide range of […]
Tu B’Shvat is a perfect holiday to learn about creating a healthier and more sustainable Jewish community, and a healthier and more sustainable planet. Enrich your Tu B’Shvat programming by featuring a Hazon speaker at your Tu B’Shvat seder, or bringing a Teva educator to run a youth program at your school or synagogue. For more information and to create a unique Tu B’Shvat experience for your community, contact firstname.lastname@example.org Hazon Staff Guest Speaker at Your Tu B’Shvat Seder Hazon staff can speak to your community about the New Jewish Food Movement, Tu B’Shvat themes, the upcoming Shmita year and a variety of other Jewish environmental topics. Send us an email or call us so that we can get a sense of your community and its needs, and we’ll match you with the right person for your seder. Cost: travel + honorarium Elementary/Middle School programs with Teva Educators in the NY region Teva educators are trained to create fun and meaningful educational experiences, on the trail or in the classroom, combining Jewish values and environmental stewardship. Bring them to your community to lead a 1 – 2 hour experiential program (for your classroom, youth group, etc) for groups of 25 – 100 […]
December 9 , 2013 • 6 Tevet 5774 Dear Home for Dinner Parents, Welcome to Home for Dinner! This program, which will take place at your synagogue or school and which is supported by Hazon, will provide opportunities for you and your child to learn about healthy eating, the importance of family meals, and engage in shared experience of learning about contemporary food issues in the context of Jewish family life. The ultimate goal is to strengthen the family unite and in turn, the Jewish home and Jewish life. My name is Liz Traison, and I am the Hazon staff coordinator of Home for Dinner. I am fortunate to have a supportive team in California and Colorado composed of Deborah Newbrun, Becky O’Brien, and Sarah Kornhauser, who will be working with you locally — as well as education consultants Vicky Kelman and Amy Kassiola. Approximately once a month we will send you updates about the program. Please note that you have not been included on any other of Hazon’s email lists. If you have any thoughts or questions, please feel free to be in touch. We would love to hear from you. We look forward to taking this journey with […]
These 7 Tu B’Shvat Species will help to make your Tu B’Shvat celebration even more sustainable! For many people in the US, the 7 species are not in season locally
Here are the Top 10 quick and useful suggestions from Hazon, to make your Tu B’Shvat more healthy and sustainable. To find out more information and suggestions from Hazon for Tu B’Shvat, visit the Hazon Tu B’Shvat Resource Page.
A few highlights from Tu B’Shvat celebrations on the East and West Coasts.
Maya Shetreat-Klein explores Tu B’Shvat, whole grains, gardening, and eating with intention.