Patriots’ Day & Boston Marathon Ride
April 15th, 7:00 AM
Join your friends on this special morning for a great ride in (hopefully) beautiful Spring weather, as the Marathon fans and vendors set up:
- Meet at 7:00 AM in the Newton Library Parking Lot at the corner of Comm Ave and Homer St and leave about 7:15
- Feel free to meet there or along the way
- Ride the Marathon Route out towards Hopkinton (~19 miles) and back
- Finish on arrival back in Newton (~19 miles) or continue all the way into Boston (~26 miles)
Download a Route Map of the Marathon as a guide
Please email Howie Rodenstein, chair of the Arava Institute Hazon Israel Ride,
if you are interested.
Have you ever wondered why Jewish summer camp and visits to Israel are so impactful in one’s life? One theory is that at camp and in Israel your “life” and your “Jewish life” become one. It is so interesting to me that people, including myself, make this distinction. I designate something as happening in my “Jewish life” vs. in my life in general.
Enter the Jewish Food Festival – part Jewish communal experience; part foray into local, organic food; part intellectual discourse on our relationship with food and the environment. It is one place where my life and my Jewish life become one — outside of my years at camp and my times in Israel. The environmentalist me hangs out with the foodie meand the spiritual me. Ahh…integration. Why did I decide to co-chair Hazon’s Jewish Food Festival even with a 16 month old daughter and a job? Because I feel that creating a forum for people to integrate their lives around Judaism, food and the environment is crucial to continuing the existence of life on this planet. Sounds extreme. It is.
Having been a climate educator, I could bore you with statistics of species destruction at the most alarming rate since the dinosaurs, sea level rise that is displacing entire communities and other dire issues, but you most likely know the facts. Instead, I want to focus on how decisions we make regarding our food and how we live in the world can make a difference.
Enter the Jewish Food Festival. With sessions on hydroponics, creating a just and sustainable food system, and beekeeping, your attendance at the Jewish Food Festival could change your life. Again with these extreme statements, but I speak the truth. At the Jewish Food Festival on April 28, 2013 at the Denver Jewish Day School, you could become so inspired that you start the first kosher, organic, macrobiotic, gluten-free, locally-focused deli in the Boulder/Denver area. Now that’s integration!
Discover how the Israel Ride can be your next adventure
Sunday, May 19th, 5:00 pm
10929 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90025
What does it feel like to cycle on the Israel Ride? Hear from Sherry Winston- 2011 Israel Rider- about cycling through Israel, the Middle East’s environmental challenges, and the potential for regional cooperation at the Arava Institute.
Bring your friends with you | All are welcome at this event.
May 19, 2013, 8 AM – 12 PM
8900 Little Rive Tpke
Fairfax, VA 22031 Map
Benefitting Wounded Warriors Project and Hazon
Riders should be experienced; suggested minimum age is 12. In case of inclement weather (wet roads), rides will be cancelled. For safety, all riders must wear biking helmets.
Registration fee includes:
- Cycle Fest t-shirt
- Rest stop with tasty treats
- SAG vehicle support
- Mechanical support
- Light food at the end of the ride
- Free giveaways
Fee: $50/ $45 JCCNV member
Before May 5: $45/ $40 JCCNV member
With special thanks to The Bike Lane, Earl and Jeff Klioze DDS, and Grant Thornton.
Contact: Paula Cole | 703-537-3049 | PaulaC@jccnv.org
Shmita, literally translated as the ‘Year of Release’ and more widely known as the Sabbatical Year, is a biblical tradition, which, once every seven years simultaneously re-adjusted agriculture and commerce on a national scale, to ensure an equitable, just and healthy society. During the Shmita year, debts would be forgiven, agricultural lands would lie fallow, private land holdings would become open to the commons, and staples such as food storage and perennial harvests would be redistributed and accessible to all. Shmita was a radical notion that had profound impact on all aspects of life.
You are invited to come to Urban Adamah for a 3-part learning series, where we will explore together, through group study, the historical and spiritual significance of Shmita, as well as how we might begin to reclaim this tradition as a system for holistic cultural design much needed today. The learnings will be facilitated by Yigal Deutscher, manager of Hazon’s Shmita Project.
This learning series will meet on three consecutive Wednesdays, from 7-9pm in the Big Tent at Urban Adamah. Chai tea will be served.
April 10th: Cultural Rest & the Cycle of Seven
April 17th: The Agricultural Paradigm of the Shmita Cycle
April 24th: The Economic Paradigm of the Shmita Cycle
Each class will build on the previous session, so we encourage attendance at all three. However, even if you can only make one or two of the offerings, you are welcome to join us.
Cost: Shmita imagines a world rooted in generosity, fairness and reciprocity. In this spirit, we are offering these classes on a donation basis. Please share what you can. (Classes at Urban Adamah usually range from $5-$15, so you might consider using this as an estimate.)
Location: Urban Adamah is located at 1050 Parker St, between San Pablo Ave and 10th Street, in West Berkeley.
More on The Shmita Project…
The Shmita Project, a program of Hazon, is as an open educational platform for individuals and communities working towards establishing a new vision for the Shmita tradition. At the core of our work are these questions:
- What might the Shmita year look like in our modern era?
- How might we best renew our relationship with this tradition?
- How might the values of the Shmita Cycle hold the key to approaching the economic, environmental and societal challenges we are facing today?
Discover how the Israel Ride can be your next adventure
Sunday, April 21st, 4:00 pm
Hosted by Israel Ride alumni Amy Goldman and Joel Brill
What is cycling like on the Israel Ride?
Hear from Rabbi Michael Cohen, Director of Strategic Partnerships at the Friends of Arava Institute for Environmental Studies. He will talk about cycling through Israel, the Middle East’s environmental challenges, and the potential for regional cooperation at the Arava Institute.
Bring your friends with you | All are welcome at this event.
Hazon Events in Los Angeles
Hazon, the largest Jewish Environmental organization in North America, is landing in L.A. with two upcoming events! First, we’re partnering with Netiya to present an information session about food procurement in Jewish institutions. Then, we’re leading a free training bike ride to help you get outdoors and get in shape. Details for both events are below — we hope you’ll join us!
Thursday, April 11th
Just Food: Get the 411 on Food Procurement for your Synagogue
If you are a part of your Temple’s Green Team, coordinate events, make food purchasing decisions (or know who does), or are just interested in affordable, fresher, more nutritious food that aligns with your Jewish values–come to our panel discussion on April 11th at Temple Isaiah!
How we purchase food for events and services is one of the many ways for institutions to express their ethics and values. The Netiya network will share best practices to help us better understand how environment, food workers’ rights, consumers’ health, and small-farmers’ viability all relate to price and convenience. Kosher refreshments and light snacks will be served.
Temple Isaiah: 10345 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, 90064
Thursday, April 11th: 7:00PM – 8:30PM
[RSVP by emailing: email@example.com]
Sunday, April 14th
Free Training Ride: Redondo Beach
Join Hazon volunteer ride leaders for a spectacular25-mile loop around the rolling hills and splendid ocean views of Palos Verdes.The group will meet at 11:00 AM in Redondo Beach and return there at the end of the Ride. Meet fellow L.A. cyclists and Hazon’niks and have a great time in the sunshine.
- Just harvest: Hazon Jewish Food Festival offers a full plate of workshops, tastings – on JWeekly.com
- Enlightening the world through a garden – on JWeekly.com
- Hardly Strictly Bagels | Jewish Food Festival mantra: Healthy or not, here I come – on JWeekly.com
- benefits & social events – on JWeekly.com
- Festive about food – on JWeekly.com
- Nosh and Learn at S.F.’s Jewish Food Festival – on SFWeekly.com
- At the Intersection of Food and Jewish Life: the Hazon Jewish Food Festival at the JCCSF – on 3200 Stories.org
- Hazon Jewish Food Festival Brings the Shuk to the JCCSF – on 3200 Stories.org
- Frozen Kuhsterd at the Hazon Jewish Food Festival on March 17th - on FrozenKuhsterd.com
- A Consumer’s Right To Know: Business Ethics, Halakhah and GMOs – on Forward.com
- Hazon Jewish Food Festival: Day of Learning and Celebration – on SFGate.com
- Review: Kinish was king at Jewish Food Festival in San Francisco – on Digital Journal.com
By Rabbi Elisheva Brenner
In the Torah “holiness” is part of an idiosyncratic way of understanding how the cosmos came into being, our place in it (cosmogony) and the nature of reality (epistemology). To our ancient ancestors, the cosmos, the physical world as we experience it, all life was brought about by “the word of G-d.” Today we would regard “the word of God” as a metaphor for the energies, forces, karma, particle and wave plus the energy of human consciousness that concentrates, compresses, expands and contracts into what we experience as the physical and spiritual world. When the energies of life are in properly balanced, albeit dynamic, homeostasis, the life system has achieved a state of sustainability. In Torah-speak, that homeostasis, that sustainability, is called “Holiness.” The parts of the system as well as the objects, actions and time intervals used to maintain and correct the system are called “Holy.”
We can find our way into the Torah’s way of understanding through the study of language and literary structural forms. Language is a window onto the way a people or culture perceives reality. It both arises from and reifies a culture’s epistemology. Biblical Hebrew is a language that for the most part, is made out of verbs and verb roots. This lets us know that our ancient Hebraic ancestors experienced reality as something in constant motion–even nouns and predicate adjectives are made out of verb roots–they represent motion in repose. In Torah, holiness/sustainability is a living system of systems just as we humans are living systems of systems. Each component of the system – humans, the Earth, nature, time intervals and the Godfield – are all in recursive relationship with every other part of the system. We humans are energy movers, drawing down from and sending up to the Divine source, and sending out to and receiving from other people, other life forms and the living Earth. The holiness system is in constant flux, needing to be balanced and corrected by human action.
Just as the systems of the human body exist in a structural form, so the cosmic system has a structural form. When we study the Torah according to its own ancient literary conventions, we find that just as the universe was spoken into existence, so the written words of Torah form a pictogram of the cosmos–a 3-D mandala made of words. The holiness/sustainability message is so central that it sits in the eye of the mandala, in the Holiness Code of Leviticus!
I first became interested in mandala form and the tendency of the human mind to “mandalize” visual memory in another forum… psychology. I did a master’s in counseling psychology at an Evangelist college in Atlanta, Georgia while I was in rabbinical school. That school did a lot of research on the integration of spiritual and religious parameters into the various psychological theories. It seemed to me then that the mandala, particularly the four-quadrant mandalas of Jungian psychology, related more to the horizontal dimensions of psychological geometry—they didn’t really model the “quest” dimensions of the psyche as well as some other models.
Our Hassidic rabbis psychologized cosmology in a way that addressed both dimensions. The four worlds model of Hassidut gives us a vertical dimension—every soul receives energy influxes from above to below and we “quest” from below to above as we elevate our consciousness toward the most abstract realm of communion with the Godfield. We express those energies in the world horizontally by way of what Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak called “talents.” Today we would call them personality traits. I brought Hassidut into my own research on personality theory and interpersonal psychology, and there it was—a mandala! The details of years of research aside, I eventually realized that this three-D geometry keeps repeating – in psychology, in chemistry, in nature, in halakhic reasoning and in Torah.
My final halakha project for ordination was about kosher meat. That brought me to reconsider many of my preconceptions about the sacrifices. For the first time (I admit), I really got into Leviticus. That interest continues to this day and informs my work and life as a rabbi. I read and reread works by Jacob Milgrom, Mary Douglas, and eventually, Moshe Kline. Those scholars in particular made me aware of how various literary structural forms used in Torah also reflect the cosmonology and epistemology of our ancient Hebraic ancestors. Those scholars convinced me that I, like so many others, kept imposing a Western linear reading on an archaic document.
New understanding brought many changes in my life. Take the way I pray, for example. I used to davven the traditional way. Now, I sit on the floor in a meditative pose with my coccyx, spine and head forming the vertical axis, the “quest” dimension, and the fringes of my tallit spread out in four directions. I imagine my head as the eye of the mandala. The tzitzit represent the mitzvoth and ethical commandments by which I interact with the world. I visualize myself as a mandala anchored by my vertical axis within the greater mandala of the cosmos. As I meditate, I focus on balancing my spiritual energies. On Shabbat I love to “travel” out of the physical world up to watch the angels doing the first “Kadosh, kadosh, kadosh (Holy, holy, holy),” praising the eternal sustainability of God, alone. I then go out of linear time to watch our people rejoicing after they, we, cross the Sea of Reeds. The energy field is very different in the Earthly realm.
It has also affected how I regard my work. My husband, Aleph Rabbi Dr. Hersh Saunders, and I started the Center for Eco-Judaism a few years ago. We farm and ranch on 415 acres in Southern Colorado. For both of us, our Jewish spirituality is expressed and reinforced through our interaction with the land and the growing and processing of our food. I imagine that this land is much like the land our ancestors encountered. Our actual experience here, along with our study of historical, climatic, and archeological information from the ancient world also changed our understanding of much of the Torah and inform the Eco-Judaism courses we teach.
If you are interested in the ideas I have laid out above, I invite you to study with me at the Aleph Kallah this coming July, in the week-long course titled “Eco-Judaism: The Torah Mandala and the Mystical System Of Sustainability.”
I am teaching this in the hope that it will invite other Torah students to join me in developing Eco-Judaism as a way of life. For it to be rich and compelling we need midrash, commentary, praxis, and responsa. There is a lot of room for creative thought and collaboration, here. As the saying goes, “iron sharpens iron.” The synergy of our collective mind will, no doubt, take us places we might never go alone.
Complicated as the individual channels of study may seem, it all gets fairly simple when it comes together. So, I will close with this quote from Pirke Avot V:27:
Effort is its own reward. We are here to do, and through doing to learn; and through learning to know; and through knowing to experience wonder; and through wonder to attain wisdom; and through wisdom to find simplicity; and through simplicity to give attention; and through attention to see what needs to be done.
Rabbi Elisheva Brenner, JD, LPC, NCC, is executive director of the Center for Eco-Judaism in Pueblo, Colorado, a 415-acre farm, ranch, nature conservancy, and worship,research and teaching facility, and co-founder of Eco-Glatt, Inc. For more information, visit www.centerforecojudaism.com.
Discover how the Israel Ride can be your next adventure
Friday, April 12th, 7:00 pm
180 Still Road
Bloomfield, Connecticut 06002
What does it feel like to cycle on the Israel Ride? Come participate in Friday night services at Congregation B’nai Tikvoh-Sholom and hear from Bruce Stanger (7-time Israel Ride alum) about cycling through Israel, the Middle East’s environmental challenges, and the potential for regional cooperation at the Arava Institute.
Bring your friends with you | All are welcome.