Elul, Shmita, & Culture Change


We find ourselves in the month of Elul, a time for introspection and checking in with ourselves, a time to confront all the ways in which we missed the mark this past year, and a time to reflect upon who we want to be in the year ahead. We prepare with anticipation of the holy days coming soon, and we begin the work of teshuvah, tfilah, and tzedakah–repentance, prayer, and justice–so that we may transform ourselves and our world.

But this is not just any Elul. This is the end of the Shmita year, and as Rav Kook teaches us, “What the Sabbath does for the individual, Shmita does for the nation.” So now is the time to ask ourselves both individually and collectively, communally, and globally: What does repentance, prayer, and justice mean for all our people, and for all our planet?

Hazon-Pearlstone’s mission is to lead a transformative movement deeply weaving sustainability into the fabric of Jewish life, catalyzing culture change and systemic change through Immersive Retreats, Jewish Environmental Education, and Climate Action.

Through education, we seek to create the culture change that Shmita beckons of us, changing lives and building a new kind of Jewish culture for the 21st century. In June, we shared an introduction to one pillar of our work, Jewish Retreating; today we want to share with you an introduction to another pillar of our work: Jewish Environmental Education.

We are blessed by amazing leadership in this realm, with Yoni Stadlin stepping into the role of Chief Program Officer leading an awesome group of educators who collectively provide hundreds of programs inspiring tens of thousands of participants across North America and around the world. I cannot imagine a better leader for this transformative work than Yoni. Thank you, my friend!

Thank you, Jakir!

Over the past twelve years I served as Founding Director of Eden Village Camp, and was continually inspired by the children, teens and people of all ages who brought our farm-to-table community to life. I’m excited to continue the momentum of nature connection, movement-building, and positive culture change as I step into this powerful work with all of you. Together, anything is possible. Let’s gooo! I am amazed at the individual and collective impact of our educational programs:

  • The Adamah Fellowship, a 3-month program for adults in their 20s & 30s that integrates organic agriculture, farm-to-table living, Jewish learning, community building, social justice and spiritual practice.
  • Teva, connecting Jewish youth to G!d’s Creation through multi-day immersive Jewish outdoor educational experiences that foster a deep connection to nature and Jewish tradition.
  • The Jewish Youth Climate Movement, a Gen Z-led movement dedicated to combating climate change and environmental injustice from a Jewish lens and empowering the next generation of Jewish youth to be leaders in our fight to build a sustainable and equitable world for all.
  • Hazon Detroit, inspiring local Michigan congregations, organizations, and community members through education, earth-based ritual, and sustainability projects exploring health, environmental awareness, nature, the outdoors, and food in all its delicious interconnectedness.
  • Pearlstone Programming, integrating Jewish Wisdom, Nature Connection, and Edge Experiences into programming for Youth, Families, Young Adults, and Leaders across the Baltimore Jewish community and beyond.
  • Leading the JOFEE movement, collaborating with leaders and educators across the country in order to strengthen and support one another in our shared work in Jewish Outdoor Food Farming & Environmental Education.
  • Torah of the Earth, inviting Jewish learners and teachers of all backgrounds into dialogue with Jewish tradition’s deep wellspring of wisdom regarding the natural world and our role as Shomrei Adamah, stewards and guardians of Creation.
  • Hakhel, an international Jewish Intentional Communities Incubator mobilizing the power of community to create and sustain Jewish identity, and revitalizing Jewish life by building vibrant, sustainable Jewish intentional communities of unaffiliated Jews around the world.

The change we need is vast, profound on many levels – so it is with deep gratitude to our supporters, partners, and talented educators with whom we celebrate this powerful array of programs and the great source of hope for the future that our collective impact represents. Together, we are worthy of the challenge that Shmita presents us – not just for the year gone by, but for the tremendous opportunities awaiting us in the seven years ahead.

Speak to the earth, and it will teach you. – Job 12:8

May we each find time this Elul to listen to the Torah of the earth, and to our loved ones all around us. And may we work together to inspire countless more life-changing, culture-changing experiences for communities everywhere.

Together, in partnership,


jakir's e-signature                                                                                       

Jakir Manela                                                                                           Yoni Stadlin

Chief Executive Officer                                                                         Chief Program Officer



Our mission at Hazon-Pearlstone is to lead a transformative movement deeply weaving sustainability into the fabric of Jewish life, in order to create a healthier, more sustainable, and more equitable world for all. We connect people to the earth and to each other, catalyzing culture change and systemic change through Immersive Retreats, Jewish Environmental Education, and Climate Action.


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