Greening the world, one JCC at a time.

November 14th, 2014 | 21st Cheshvan 5775 | Parshat Chayei Sarah

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In this issue
Philadelphia Jewish
Food Festival
Jewish Intentional
Communities Conference
Food Conference
ReSources You Can ReUse
Elat Chayyim
Meditation Retreat
Adamah Farm
In the News
From our Friends
Upcoming retreats
and events
November 16
Philadelphia Jewish
Food Festival
November 20 - 23
Jewish Intentional
Communities Conference
December 12 - 14
Blues for Challah
December 21 - 28
Elat Chayyim
Meditation Retreat
Dec 29 - Jan 1
Hazon Food Conference
February 23 - 26
Rabbis' Retreat
May 7 - 10
California Ride & Retreat

"Light unto the nations" in Staten Island...

Dear All,

On November 20th – next Thursday – Staten Island JCC will officially unveil its new solar photovoltaic power system, the largest solar installation on a Staten Island non-profit and one of the largest installations in New York City. The 103 kW PV system will help the JCC to reduce its electrical consumption, carbon footprint, and dependency on fossil fuels. The project – which cost about $750,000 – was paid for by local government and a local philanthropy, with Staten Island, the New York City Council, and the Richmond County Saving Foundation covering much of the cost.

The launch of this project is a significant milestone not only for the Staten Island JCC, but also for Hazon’s Jewish Greening Fellowship (from which this project arose) and for UJA-Federation of New York (which in turn has backed the Jewish Greening Fellowship from the start). I want to publicly pay tribute to the remarkable JR Rich, the JGF Fellow who as Assistant Director of Communications at the JCC became its Sustainability Officer, and really drove this solar power project from inception. And I equally want to thank Adam Berman and Rachel Jacoby-Rosenfeld (who founded and led JGF from the start), Dr. Mirele Goldsmith (who very ably took over from Rachel), and Rabbi Deborah Joselow and the staff and lay leaders of the Commission on Jewish Identity and Renewal, who have funded JGF since the very beginning. Huge thanks, too, to James Molinaro, James Oddo, Vincent Ignizio, and Cesar Claro, who have done such a phenomenal job – as Staten Island Borough Presidents, members of the New York City Council, and CEO of Richmond County Savings Foundation – in backing this project.

As is often the case, this public launch represents the coming to fruition of many years of hard work. What happened was this:

Staten Island JCC applied for inclusion in the first cohort of organizations in the Jewish Greening Fellowship in 2009. JGF asks all of its fellows to complete an energy audit of their buildings. As a result of that energy audit, JCC of Staten Island’s leadership learned that their building was a prime candidate for a solar installation.

What came next was four years of hurdles and delays, including the loss of proposed Congressional funding, setbacks in required approval by city agencies, and a need to redesign the system. "Our long journey to a solar panel installation is the story of an organization committing and persevering to the end,” JR Rich said – but it is a reflection also of his own commitment and perseverance in seeing it through. JR sees the solar installation as part of the urgent work of addressing climate change. As he succinctly put it: “We have no choice – we only have one planet…”

As a result of its work in the JGF, Staten Island JCC also installed a $550,000 solar thermal system, which provides hot water to the building. Completed in 2011, the system delivers significant savings in both gas and electricity costs. The project was funded almost entirely by state and federal government.

And at a smaller but no less significant scale, the JCC of Staten Island has also completed a range of energy efficiency projects, including installing occupancy sensors to turn off lights in empty rooms and more efficient light bulbs. An inefficient pump in the JCC pool was replaced with a $4,000 grant provided by UJA-Federation of New York, and resulted in $3,500 in energy savings per year. UJA-Federation of New York also funded a range of greening programs, including the pump replacement, environmental education for Staten Island Jewish children, and a Shmita Seder to be held in February in honor of the sabbatical year.

The lessons of this – and the inspiration provided by JR and his team – are significant. The Climate March, a few weeks ago, and the very significant Jewish presence there, is indicative, I think, of a significant moment of change in our community. We need to integrate education, action, and advocacy. We need to be doing both Jewish education, on one side, and paying attention to HVAC and systems and solar roofs on the other. The process of greening Jewish life is now well-underway, and it is clear that the process is something like win-win-win. It helps us to make a measurable difference in the world; it helps to renew and reinvigorate our institutions; and at least sometimes – as on this occasion – it actually helps to raise significant incremental funding for our institutions.

I hope that JGF will continue to increase its impact in its future. In an ideal world, it will become a core component not only of Hazon’s work, but also of the fabric of organized Jewish life in this city. It aims to cultivate environmental change leadership, reduce the environmental impacts of Jewish organizations in the New York area, and generate meaningful responses to climate change, while strengthening Jewish life. Since inception it has provided support and training for environmental leaders at more than 55 organizations, including synagogues, schools, camps, and social service agencies. We’re building a waitlist for what we hope will be the next JGF cohort. If you or your organization are interested in joining, please send an email to

Finally – mazal tov to the more than 160 riders who successfully, safely and happily this week completed our Ride from Jerusalem to Eilat. It was our second largest Israel Ride, and by many people’s account, the best yet. Our riders had a great time, learned a lot, and made a huge difference from the money they raised. Thank you to each of them, and to the many of you who sponsored them. Photos and more on that next week.

Shabbat shalom,


Philadelphia, Sunday, November 16
Philadelphia Jewish Food Festival – this Sunday!

Last chance to pre-register for the Hazon Philadelphia Jewish Food Festival: Liberty, Food & Justice For All! Join us for an amazing day-long festival this Sunday of DIY workshops, hands-on learning experiences, food demos, marketplace shopping, text study, and discussion on local food, sustainable agriculture, and Jewish living. Festivities will be at Adath Israel in Merion, PA. Email for more information and register today.

Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, November 20 - 23
Jewish Intentional Communities Conference

Join us for the 2nd annual Jewish Intentional Communities Conference. We are excited to learn from and share with each other, vision together, and plant seeds for communities to come. Whether you’ve been a part of an intentional community, are a part of one now, want to start one, or just want to learn more, we welcome you to join the conversation! This conference is a partnership between Hazon, the Pearlstone Center, and the Jewish Agency for Israel. We share a vision that over the next 3-10 years, new Jewish intentional communities will bloom across the country – from urban kibbutzim to rural moshavim, suburban co-ops, and more – and that these dynamic and vibrant new Jewish communities will become inspiring catalysts in an ongoing renaissance in American Jewish life. Generous financial aid available. Register now

Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, Dec 29, 2014 - Jan 1, 2015
Food Conference Scholarships & Session Proposals

The Hazon Food Conference is the only place in the world where farmers and rabbis, nutritionists and chefs, vegans, omnivores, and you come together to explore the dynamic interplay of food, Jewish tradition, and contemporary life. Check out our website for "What's New in 2014", scholarships for first time participants, teens, rabbinical students, and individuals from Colorado, Detroit & San Diego. Early bird rates only last until November 30! We are also still accepting session proposals through November 17. Follow us on Facebook for bonus conference previews and other fun info connected to the conference. Register today.

Jewish Greening Fellowship
ReSources You Can ReUse

Learn more about the Jewish Greening Fellowship.
Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, December 21 - 28
Elat Chayyim Meditation Retreat

The Elat Chayyim Meditation Retreat is a weeklong silent meditation retreat – an opportunity to slow down, to live simply, and to explore the fullness of your own being. Each day will include several hours of formal sitting and walking practice, contemplative morning davenning (chanted prayers) in a Jewish Renewal style, group interviews, yoga, and instructional periods with opportunities to ask questions. Retreat leaders include Rabbi Jay Michaelson, Beth Resnick-Folk, Rabbi Naomi Mara Hyman, and Shir Yaakov Feit. For beginners, this retreat is an excellent opportunity to explore meditation in a supportive, warm, and non-judgmental environment. Register now

Adamah Fellowship 2015
Farm with a Nurturing Jewish Community

Now in its tenth successful year, the Adamah Fellowship is a three-month leadership training program for Jewish young adults in their twenties and early thirties that integrates organic farming, sustainable living, Jewish learning, community building, and contemplative spiritual practice. Adamah is located in the Connecticut Berkshires, where fellows live surrounded by the beauty of the natural world. 2015 Fellowship Dates:

  • Spring: April 12 – June 7
  • Summer: June 3 – September 7
  • Fall: September 2 – December 7

Visit the Adamah website for more details and to apply.

Hazon in the News

Hazon Festival Creates Sustainability Momentum
by Michael Bomze, The Jewish Exponent, November 13, 2014

Local Events & Special Announcements
From Our Friends
2014 London Jewish Book Fair & Food Festival

Featuring a Diverse Range of Judaica And Innovative Jewish Food Programming –

Fri, Dec 5, 10:00 am – 2:30 pm
Sat., Dec. 6, 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Sun., Dec. 7, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
London, Ontario Jewish Community Centre
536 Huron Street, London, ON, N5Y 4J5

Highlights Include:

  • Hanukkah Cooking Demonstration
    with Leah Koenig, author of the Hadassah Everyday Cookbook: Daily Meals for the Contemporary Jewish Kitchen
    Sat. Dec. 6, 7:30 pm

  • The New Jewish Food Movement
    with Risa Alyson Cooper, director of Shoresh Jewish Environmental Programs
    Sun. Dec. 7, 12:30 pm

  • Cost: No charge, books, food and art available for purchase
    Questions? Call: 519-673-3310
Event co-sponsors: London Council of Canadian Hadassah-WIZO, the London Jewish Community Foundation, and the London Jewish Federation. Learn more.
Urban Adamah Fellowship: Now Accepting 2015 Applications
Connect to Something Bigger: Earth, Community, Social Justice, Jewish Spirituality – The Urban Adamah Fellowship, based in Berkeley, CA, is a three-month residential training program for young adults (ages 21–31) that combines urban organic farming, social justice training and progressive Jewish
learning and living within the setting of an intentional community.
Through the operation of Urban Adamah’s one-acre organic farm and internships with social justice organizations, fellows gain significant skills,
training and experience in all aspects of sustainable urban agriculture,
community building, leadership development and urban food access.   Upcoming Fellowships:

Spring: March 1 – May 22, 2015
Summer: June 7 – August 21, 2015
Fall: September 1 – November 20, 2015

Urban Adamah accepts 12­–14 fellows per season. Admission is on a rolling basis. Learn more and apply today.
We work to create a healthier and more sustainable Jewish community,
and a healthier and more sustainable world for all.
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