This was a great and interesting week to be in Israel...

March 19th, 2015 | 28th Adar 5775

view online
fb twitter you tube
donate now
In this issue
Purim to Pesach Blog
Camp Isabella Freedman
NY Spin Class
Shabbat Behar
Shmita Blog
Purchase Hazon
Books Online
Join a Hazon CSA
Adamah Farm & Fellowship
Become a Teva Educator
Hazon is Hiring
In the News
From our Friends
Upcoming retreats
and events
April 3 - 12
Passover Retreat
May 7 - 10
CA Ride & Retreat
May 22 - 26
Shavuot Retreat
July 6 - 19
Camp Isabella Freedman
July 20 - 24
Talmud Circle Institute
September 4 - 7
NY Ride & Retreat

This week in Israel

Dear All,

On our Israel Ride we often cycle to Ein Karem. But this week, for the first time, I visited Kaima Farm, in Beit Zayit, just on the other side of the hill. It was founded by Yoni Refet Reich, a recovering lawyer who is both practical and inspiring. He and a group of friends have created an organic farm that’s run by at-risk teenagers – kids who have been in trouble in all sorts of ways. The kids are actively involved in all decision-making. They are paid for their work, and they’re expected to be there by 7am in the morning – which they are. Many hundreds of volunteers helped to clear the fields of stones. They have a great record of their participants getting clean and getting back into education. They sell the food they grow in a CSA that generates a significant part of their revenue. Very inspiring.

We went to the Heschel Center’s new Sustainability Center in Gilo, a neighborhood of Jerusalem in which locals are steadily cleaning up the neighborhood – quite literally. As they do so they’re making it more sustainable, in all sorts of ways, and they’re significantly strengthening relationships amongst neighbors.

I met with Einat Kramer, from Teva Ivri. She helped to develop the Israeli Shmita Declaration. She’s married and she has four kids, but for four days each month, throughout the shmita year, she’s been going to a different part of Israel and simply sitting there in a tent and talking with people from all walks of life about shmita and the issues underpinning it – relationship to land, food, money and time. (Here’s what Einat wrote yesterday in the Times of Israel about her tent and the elections.)

We were on the roof of the Dizengoff Center. It’s one of the oldest and largest shopping malls in Israel – 35,000 people a day walk through its doors. But it’s also one of the first shopping malls in the world to have a full-time Sustainability Director. They’ve reduced their electricity bill – and carbon output – by more than a third. They launched a farmers’ market, inside the mall. And, up on the roof, they have a significant aquaponics operation – breeding fish, whose waste fertilizes the greens that they’re growing and which they serve in the mall. It is a phenomenally impressive operation. The Israeli guy who built it has put up more than a hundred small rooftop hydroponic installations – in Gaza City (!). I said to him, “how did the locals relate to you, as an Israeli Jew?” To which he replied: “oh, I don’t think they know I’m Israeli – I’m there as a UN consultant…”

We went to the Hiriya. It was once an eyesore, the waste dump that took a quarter of all of Israel’s waste. It has been turned into Ariel Sharon Park – 2,000 acres that are en route to becoming Tel Aviv’s Central Park. (Metric that defines the Jewish state: Israelis throw out, on average, 3 lbs of waste per day. But the staff at the Hiriya told us that between Purim and Pesach, as the pre-Pesach cleaning gets under way, that goes up – to 12 lbs a day :-)

The Hiriya is a metaphor for what is possible in this country, in the Jewish community and in the world. People came together and transformed trash into something beautiful. Very inspiring.

We met with Amiad Lapidot. He spent 13 years in the navy, thinking that that was the greatest contribution he could make to his country. Then he read about climate change – and figured there was more he needed to do. So in 2001 he and his family built the greenest house in Israel. (He told us there were four criteria it needed to meet: as environmental as possible; legal; replicable; and “a house that my wife was willing to live in…”). He used old containers; straw bale; bricks of local soil baked in the sun. In 2012 it won a prize as the greenest house in Israel, and it’s a beautiful house.

Then he turned to composting. Roughly half of an Israeli family’s waste is organic. It’s a significant contributor to climate change – methane as well as CO2. So he started his own composting project. Bought bins, labeled them, went to his neighbors. 12 years ago they had 12 families. Then 170. Then 340. After 5 years they had 6,000 households in 50 communities. He translated their materials into Arabic and started doing it in Arab communities. Then they met with the then minister of the environment – Gilad Eldan – who agreed to support the further scaling of this project. There are now 420,000 families composting in Israel.

This morning – two days after the election – I heard Sahar Amoun speak. She’s 22 years old; Israeli Arab; Palestinian; Muslim; a social activist, speaking to an audience of Jewish funders about finishing her studies to be a social worker, and working for mifalot chinuch b’chevra – a non-profit that utilizes sport to strengthen disadvantaged populations, and to help promote understanding and coexistence amongst different groups in Israel and in the region. Very inspiring. She helped lead a peace mission of Arabs and Jews to Germany. Very cool.

Earlier today, Gabi Scher and I met with staff from the Shahaf Foundation. More than twenty funders have come together through Shahaf to support the development of intentional communities across Israel. We’re bringing a group from the US next week to visit several such communities, and many of their leaders, throughout Israel. What is happening in the Israeli intentional communities is remarkable. From a small trickle fifteen years ago, there are now more than 200 such communities around the country – all in poor areas, and all explicitly committed to making a difference in their wider neighborhoods.

Here’s the bottom line: there was an election this week in Israel, and its consequences – like that of all elections – will be fateful, for good or ill. But the election, and the headline politics, important as they are, are only a part of the story. This country and this region has many problems. But Israel also has more idealists per square foot than any place I’ve been in my life. Non-profits in this country are doing extraordinary work. They need our help, but they also have much to teach us. I wish that a fifth of all US households composted their organic waste. I wish our shopping malls had sustainability directors, and grew food on their roofs. I can imagine how much better America’s bad neighborhoods would be if they had intentional communities sprouting in them with the idealism and determination I see here. As an organization, we hope to play our own part in increasing the velocity of best practice in some of these areas in the US and in the American Jewish community, in due course.

For now: a few shout-outs. To the superb Heschel Center, who helped to organize our pre-JFN Israel Sustainable Food Tour. Many of the people we met were Heschel Fellows – an incredible network of people fanning out to do good across Israel. And some of the things that we were doing this week and next week have been supported by the Leichtag Foundation, by Jewish Funders’ Network, and by UJA-Federation of New York. I’m grateful to all three of them, and to so many others I’ve seen in the last week, who are variously creating, leading, supporting or funding work that is so important, so good and so inspiring.

Shabbat shalom, chodesh tov,

Blog Series from The Shalom Center
From Pyramids & Plagues to Earth & Eco-Justice

From Purim till Pesach this year, The Shalom Center is offering a daily comment on the meaning of Pesach, especially in connection with concern for the Earth and the climate crisis – each day by different writers, including Hazon's own Nigel Savage and Nati Passow. Read more.

Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, July 6 - 19
Send your Bubbe to Summer Camp

What a deal! Isabella Freedman has been offering annual summer camp experiences for senior adults since 1956. We are honored to continue this tradition for senior adults and their families by providing you with a warm and welcoming atmosphere. It’ll be one of the best and most affordable summer vacations your bubbe will ever have! Register today.

New York Ride and Retreat
Spin into Spring

March 26th, 8:00 - 9:30 PM
New York Sports Club, 62nd & Broadway, New York City

Join fellow New York Riders and friends for a spin class taught by veteran New York Ride alumna and personal trainer Miriam Brickner at New York Sports Club on 62nd and Broadway. This class is free for anyone who has registered for the 2015 New York Ride & Retreat and $25 for anyone else. Register today.

Shabbat Behar 5775
Plan a Shmita-Related Event for Shabbat Behar

The parsha (weekly Torah reading) of Behar is one of the three places in the Torah where we learn the teachings of Shmita. As we continue to re-acquaint ourselves with the Shmita tradition, we are excited to use the opportunity of Parshat Behar as an annual mark, as a reminder, and as a guide. For the past two years, communities all around the country (and world) marked Shabbat Behar with a variety of Shmita-themed events. This year, Shabbat Behar falls on May 15-16, 2015. As you plan your events, we'd love to gain a clearer picture of what's happening around the country and help you spread the word. Please take this short survey to register your Behar event. How will you use this week to bring Shmita education and action into your own community? Learn more.

Shmita Blog: Rachel Barenblat
Shmita and Interconnection

Our sages took some pains to ensure a Jewish calendar in which Pesach would always fall in the spring. (They were operating in a northern hemisphere context; I don’t think the challenges of antipodean Judaism ever occurred to them.) In the northern hemisphere, Pesach is inextricably connected with spring. As the earth shakes off the constrictions of winter, her frozen places thawing, so we remember our shaking-off the yoke of slavery to Pharaoh. As plant life and trees are “reborn” into the warming air, we tell the story of our renewal and rebirth out of the constriction of slavery and into freedom. Keep reading...

Educational Materials
Booksellers' Portal is Now Live!

Are you a bookstore owner looking to stock some great JOFEE resources? Our educational materials – sourcebooks, curricula, and books – are now available for bulk orders at special bookseller prices. Check out our wide selection of materials in our store, and be in touch with with any questions and special orders. Learn more.

Community Supported Agriculture
Sign up for a Hazon CSA Today

Connect with a farmer, make new friends, and support sustainable agriculture in exchange for a box of beautiful veggies every week! Applications are open for many of our Hazon CSAs across the country, such as this one in Riverdale, NY and this one in central Manhattan. Be in touch with to find one near you. Learn more.

Adamah: Jewish Farming Fellowship
Our Spring Fellowship is Almost Here – Apply Today

The Adamah Fellowship is a two- or three-month leadership training program for Jewish young adults 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 and a unique all-stream Jewish retreat center. Visit Adamah online for more information, dates, and how to apply.

Become a Teva Educator
Topsy Turvy Bus and Fall Teva Applications Open

Explore Jewish environmental education in its natural setting. Teva’s educators are musicians, artists, performers, scientists, athletes, scholars and explorers who impart Jewish environmental wisdom as outdoor educators on the road and at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center. Live in community and learn from your peers as you teach students and campers across the northeast about the natural world. Learn more and apply today.

Job Openings at Hazon
Come Work With Us!

Hazon in the News

Hazon and the Emerging Field of JOFEE
Jim Joseph Foundation, March 13, 2015

Local Events & Special Announcements
From Our Friends
Let's Transform Our City

Monday, March 23rd, 6:45 - 8:45 pm, 88th Street Sanctuary, New York, NY

Join BJ to learn more about a local initiative to pass City Council legislation that would expand recycling diversion, raise labor standards, create new green jobs, improve job safety and truck quality, and lower emissions/pollution in the commercial waste sector. Learn more.

Building a Sustainable Israel

Saturday, April 25th, 1:00 pm, Congregation Shaare Zedek, 212 W. 93rd Street, New York, NY
Urban planner and land use specialist Kevin Dwarka, Ph.D., offers an overview of contemporary environmental issues in Israel emphasizing land use, transportation, and housing development, all explored through the prism of Israeli independence as the turning point in the country’s management of land, water, and transport. Register for this free event today.

We work to create a healthier and more sustainable Jewish community,
and a healthier and more sustainable world for all.
NEW YORK Makom Hadash, 125 Maiden Lane, Suite 8B, New York, NY 10038 | 212.644.2332
ISABELLA FREEDMAN JEWISH RETREAT CENTER 116 Johnson Road, Falls Village, CT 06031 | 860.824.5991
BOULDER 303.886.5865
DENVER 303.886.4894
PHILADELPHIA 877.537.6286
SAN DIEGO & NORTH COUNTY 441 Saxony Road, Encinitas, CA 92024 | 212.644.2332 x329
Hazon Logo
isabell adamah
elat teva
adamah   teva

Unsubscribe from receiving email, or change your email preferences.

powered by Blackbaud
nonprofit software