Our History

2023 marked the creation of Adamah, born from a merger of Hazon and Pearlstone. Each of those organizations in turn build on earlier programs and organizations, going back over 100 years.


The Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center has roots going back to 1893, when it was founded as the Jewish Working Girls Vacation Society – an organization designed to get young women out of the sweatshops and into the country. Isabella Freedman embodies that ideal to this day, serving as a retreat center for Jewish communities across the northeast. The current campus was established in the 1950s.


Camp Milldale is established on the Reisterstown Campus


The Teva Learning Center was founded at Isabella Freedman, pioneering Jewish outdoor environmental education for day school students.


Nigel Savage founded Hazon as an organization focused on raising awareness about sustainability, climate change, and environmental issues within the Jewish community.


The Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center opened in 2001 as a new vibrant retreat center outside of Baltimore, but with a national reach. It is located on grounds owned by the Associated, next to Camp Milldale, a large summer day camp.


The Hazon New York Jewish Environmental Bike Ride began. Over the next 18 years, funds raised from this event would launch new Hazon endeavors and provide mini-grants to partner organizations, including the Adamah Farm Fellowship, Teva, Urban Adamah, and Eden Village Camp.


The Adamah Farm Fellowship for young adults began in 2003. Together, Adamah alumni and Teva educators have founded dozens of Jewish environmental organizations across the country.


The Arava Institute Hazon Israel Ride, a week-long fundraising bicycle ride from Jerusalem to Eilat, began. Over the next 20 years 1700 people would raise over $10m in support of the Hazon and our partners, the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies. Starting in 2023, the Arava Institute is continuing the Ride on their own.


Jakir Manela & Nets Greenfield, a classic Isabella Freedman couple—Teva educator & Adamah fellow— established Kayam Farm at Pearlstone, the first Jewish community educational farm in North America.


Elat Chayyim, a Jewish spiritual retreat center located in the Catskills, merged with Isabella Freedman. As a result of the merger, Elat Chayyim closed its facility in Catskills and moved its program and staff to Isabella Freedman.


The Hazon Food Conference was held for the first time, at Isabella Freedman. This annual event showcased farmers, chefs, food entrepreneurs, and more. In 2008, meat from three ritually slaughtered goats was served for Shabbat dinner as part of a larger discussion around the meat industry.


1st annual Kayam Farm Beit Midrash established at Pearlstone. Torah of Land, Agriculture, and Sustainability—studying Seder Zera’im in the Talmud, exploring Jewish agricultural laws and their relevance to today.


Hazon begins to expand with regional hubs in the Bay Area, Colorado, and eventually Southern California and Philadelphia. Each region held local programming, including Food Festivals and Bike Rides.


Hazon, Isabella Freedman, and Teva merge, creating the largest Jewish Environmental organization in North America.


Our Detroit impact hub is launched with generous local support. It remains the largest programmatic hub outside of the two retreat centers.


The Jim Joseph Foundation funds the JOFEE Fellowship, training educators in Jewish, Outdoor, Farm, Food, and Environmental Education. Hazon and Pearlstone are among the largest organizations garnering significant investment, alongside Urban Adamah, Wilderness Torah, and Eden Village Camp.


Pearlstone expanded beyond the Retreat Center to encompass the adjacent former grounds of Camp Milldale. The expanded property, now over 180 acres, allows for year-round outdoor programming, a new summer camp, and significant additional development.


The COVID pandemic decimates business at both Pearlstone and Isabella Freedman. Pearlstone launches Emergency Food Response initiative, working with over 15 partner organizations in order to provide over 120,000 meals to people in need. Pearlstone’s Farm & Forest homeschool program grows tenfold as an alternative to zoom-school. Adamah at Home engages dozens of new participants nationwide, while Adamah Detroit coordinates a local food rescue operation.


Hazon and Pearlstone announce plans of a merger, with Jakir Manela as CEO.


Hazon and Pearlstone merger is complete.



Isabella Freedman hosts 6,000 overnight guests a year, while Pearlstone welcomes 8,000 retreat guests and 10,000 others to enjoy the campus. Our national programming in Detroit, New York, and elsewhere reaches over 15,000 people annually, with emerging Community Impact Hubs planned in major Jewish communities across North America. Over 15,000 students have experienced a Teva trip and the Adamah Farm Fellowship boasts 500 alumni.