Over the years Hazon has developed a number of resources to help you celebrate the Jewish holidays in line with your values. Use these resources to inspire a theme for a holiday, an activity for your family or event for you community.
The holiday of Rosh Hashanah is the perfect time to let the blasts of the shofar shake you awake to the world around you. It’s a time to open up to new possibilities and be grateful for everything you have. And more than anything, Rosh Hashanah offers the opportunity for tshuva (returning/repentance) – to return to our best, most full versions of ourselves. As we turn inward, we have the chance to ask, “what impact do our actions have on our friends and family, our communities, and on the earth?”
In celebration of this time of turning and returning, Hazon created a list of healthy, sustainable resources that will help you welcome Rosh Hashanah with mindfulness, sustainability, and joy.
Ahhhh…Shavuot. The Jewish holiday that commemorates when Jews received the Torah on Mt. Sinai. The holiday that celebrates the first fruits of the season. And the (only?) Jewish holiday where vegetarians don’t feel marginalized by a table crammed with meat-heavy dishes.
Shavuot also coincides with the annual wheat harvest in Israel, and in the days of the Temple, ancient Jews would bring their first fruits as sacrifices to God. In this time of bounty we are encouraged to give of ourselves and reflect on the gifts that the earth provides.
Passover is the Jewish tradition’s “eat seasonal” poster child. Also known as “Chag Ha-Matzot” (possibly a holiday celebrating the new barley harvest) and Chag Ha-Aviv (“holiday of spring”), Passover is a time to notice and celebrate the coming of spring. The seder plate abounds with seasonal symbols: the roasted lamb bone celebrates lambs born in spring; karpas (dipped green vegetables) symbolizes the first green sprouts peaking out of the thawed ground; and a roasted egg recalls fertility and rebirth.
Passover offers a perfect opportunity to combine the wisdom of a traditional Jewish holiday with our contemporary desire to live with our health and sustainability in mind. For example, some families put an orange or olive on their seder plate to recognize women’s rights and solidarity with Middle East peace.
Purim – the celebration of Esther and Mordechai’s triumph over wicked Haman – is filled with amazing traditions. On Purim night, we rejoice through recounting Esther’s story and through drinking, wearing masks, and partying. We also give back to our community – by giving mishloach manot (gifts of food) to friends and donating to charity. Here is a number of suggestions as to how you can celebrate Purim in a sustainable, fun, and festive way!
The weekly Shabbat Kiddush table is a place of blessing, schmoozing, and simcha (happiness). But it also has the tendency to generate a lot of waste, and unhealthy eating habits. The list below offers a few resources and ideas for making your kiddush table healthy and sustainable. The same ideas can easily be transferred to your next synagogue social event, Hadassah meeting, book club, or canned food drive.
Hosting a Shabbat meal is a wonderful way to spend quality time with family and friends without the distractions of the everyday (email, ringing cell phones, distracting smartphone messages…). It also offers an amazing template over which to create rituals and traditions that add new meaning and sustainable flair to the experience. Hazon offers the following resources to help you Green Your Shabbat Table and discover, “What makes this Shabbat meal different from other Shabbat meals?” (more…)
Hanukkah celebrates the rededication of the Jerusalem Temple following its defilement by Syrian Greeks in 164 BCE. Since then, Hanukkah has become known as the Festival of Lights, due to the one day supply of oil lasting a miraculous eight days, and is known for the traditional lighting of the hanukkiah. In addition, it is customary to feast upon fried foods and foods made with oil. Since Hanukkah celebrates the idea of preserving resources, Hazon offers some Healthy, Sustainable Hanukkah Resources as suggestions for your Hanukkah celebrations!
The Jewish holiday of Sukkot celebrates the Fall Harvest. We are told to sleep, eat, and relax outdoors in our sukkah. Sukkot also celebrates the time when farmers have completed their harvest and are able to indulge in some relaxation before the first rains of the season hit. This holiday inherently relates to the environment, where we are gathering our seasonal fall produce from. Sukkot celebrates our seasonal food gatherings and the environment, hence during this holiday we should be more mindful of the impact that our celebrations have on the world around us.
Yom Kippur is a time for repentance and atonement. While it is a time to reflect on your actions over the course of the year, and wherever else your mind and prayers take you, it can also be a time to think about food. Yom Kippur is an appropriate time to consider the food that you eat, its effect on your health and the environment, while you endure the temporary absence of food. While on the path of your reflection of food, it is also a time to consider the opposing cycles of fasting and feasting, the meaning that each of them have in your life, and why these are important to consider during a chag (holiday) such as Yom Kippur.
The resources below, including the Hazon Tu B’Shvat Haggadah, offer thoughts and ideas for you to celebrate Tu B’Shvat in your home or community. The texts, questions, activities, and suggestions were chosen to help you look at Tu B’Shvat through fresh eyes, and to enable you to hear the tradition speaking to you.