Hazon Newsletter [2/14/2013] – Purim, Household Junk, and the Journey to Freedom

Purim, Household Junk, and the Journey to Freedom

As kids we think of Purim, Pesach, and Shavuot as very separate holidays. Purim is hamantaschen and fancy dress; Pesach is Seder night and eating matzah; Shavuot is something to do with receiving the Torah and eating cheesecake.

But properly understood I think the three holidays are more deeply connected than we realize. The key to understanding them is Seder night, the central fulcrum around which this season turns. Tu b’Shvat is 8 weeks before; Purim is 4 weeks before; Shavuot is 7 weeks later. Seder night is the night that we ourselves move from slavery to freedom. Our springtime journey to freedom begins with tu b’Shvat – the reminder of new beginnings, new life and new possibility.

Which leads us to Purim.

The Purim story looks like it’s really anarchic: there’s no mention of G!d (the only book of the tenach of which this is so); we get drunk, we cross-dress. But it turns out that there is a hidden order to the Purim story. At its heart, Purim says to us: things may not be as we think they are; we may not be who we think we are. Purim at springtime, therefore, comes to shake us up, to loosen our sense of certainty, to disconnect our deeper self from the masks and identities that reveal and obscure us. And that’s how it leads to seder night and freedom. On the night that Purim goes out: that’s the time to start to get rid of your chametz. The key to truly being free on Seder night, our tradition suggests, is to spend four weeks getting rid of our chametz.

And that’s not just the breadcrumbs in our kitchen, it’s also the crap in our attics and our basements and our garages, the things that litter up our homes and our heads, the chametz that we watch, the additives we put in our bodies, and so on.

I’ll say more in a future email about the two freedoms of Pesach and Shavuot, and the relation between them. But this email comes to you today because – just like preparing for the Shmita year long before it arrives, just like getting ready for Shabbat on a Monday or Tuesday – I wanted to give you time to get ready for Purim and Pesach.

I certainly hope that you have a great Purim and dress up and eat hamantaschen and read the Megillah and feed the poor and give gifts and and get drunk – certainly you should do all that. But, as well as all that, go ahead and plan right now, a week on Sunday night, to start to get rid of the chametz in your home and in your body.

If you want to use this period to lighten the load on your body, I recommend two very wise books:

– Hale Sofia Schatz & Shira Shaiman’s ‘If The Buddha Came To Dinner

– Alejandro Junger’s ‘Clean

And if you want to remove some of the clutter in your home in an interesting way, check out Yerdle, a new initiative from Adam Werbach, and introduced to me by Jessica Haller. It’s a way to accelerate the gift economy – and reduce our chametz. Go ahead and register at Yerdle and see what you’d like to give away.

Wishing you a Shabbat shalom, an early happy Purim, and a spring season of lightness and wellness,


Nigel Savage
Executive Director, Hazon

Why I Ride: Kim Burnham

[Image]I am riding in the Cross-USA Ride this summer. My grandfather died of diabetes. My uncle lost his leg to the disease shared by 18 million Americans. Avoiding their footsteps at age 55, I rode with Hazon in the 2012 New York Ride. I found such a great sense of community and empowerment that I signed up to cycle across the country this summer.

When I am not busy training, I use my PhD in Integrative Medicine and Matrix Energetics training to help people feel, focus and move better. I am also an author, and write about the beauty I see. I deeply appreciate my eyesight because when I was 28, I was told I might go blind. Fortunately, my vision is better than ever and I love sharing the solutions I have found. My partner, Vicki Carmona, will be cycling with Hazon for one week in the middle.

Ride with Kim this summer on the Cross-USA Ride – join for a week, a month, or the whole summer. Find out more this week at one of our sessions on our mid-west tour!

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Highlights of the Israel Sustainable Food Tour

[Image]“It was wonderful to get beyond the “tourist” view of Israel and experience people in their homes, kibbutzim and work places. That really made a difference. It was also incredible to have a trip explore issues that are so important to me and see them expressed in Israel.”
Larry – New York, NY

Explore the issues that are defining the sustainable food movement in Israel. Meet with key players, and taste the movement first hand.

  • Hit the ground gleaning produce for Leket – Table to Table, and learn about issues of food insecurity.
  • Meet with activists who are pushing sustainability issues into the mainstream: Yossi Wolfson of the Zangvil Center, Bakker Arwawdy of the Galilee Society, and Miki Haimovitch of the Israeli Meatless Mondays Campaign.
  • Explore the range of the Israeli agricultural economy. Meet with representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture and the Agricultural Faculty of the Hebrew University to discuss policy and cutting edge technology, and learn from Abbie Rosner, an expert on traditional foodways that have survived from the bible to today.

Join us May 22-27, 2013 in Israel!

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Hazon Jewish Food Festival at the JCCSF:
More sessions announced!

[Image]Have you seen the hearty lineup of workshops? Check out the tasty opportunities to connect with food, sustainability and Jewish traditions at the Hazon Jewish Food Festival at the JCCSF. You won’t want to miss Maggid Jhos Singer’s “Judaism in a Bottle: The Life and Times of Manischewitz Wine”, Alix Wall’s “Kale for Carnivores”, or Rebecca Ets-Hokin’s “The Jewish Life of Bees”. See the full list of presenters and workshop titles athazon.org/foodfestival.

Sunday, March 17 2013
10:00am – 5:00pm
Jewish Community Center of San Francisco

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God’s Green Earth: The Jewish Environmental Movement at Home and Abroad

Learn about the values that inform the Jewish Environmental Movement from two of the most dynamic, experienced leaders in the movement: Nigel Savage, founder and director of Hazon, and Michelle Levine of the American Society for the Preservation of Nature is Israel.

Wednesday, February 20
7:00 p.m.
Congregation Har HaShem
3950 Baseline Road, Boulder, CO.

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Teach and Learn with Teva

[Image]It’s hard to believe we’re nearing springtime, with more light and more growth in our near future. We are already planning our program schedule for our upcoming Teva Seminar, June 4 – 7, at Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center. We are currently inviting proposals from Seminar participants who are interested in teaching one to two classes. In order to build a deeper community of learners and teachers all together, we are no longer accepting one-day participants and educators.

Dealine for Course Proposals: February 26, 2013

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From Our Friends

Love, Hate, & the Jewish State 2.0

[Image]Hazon is proud to be a Dialogue Supporter for the New Israel Fund’s upcoming ‘Love, Hate, & the Jewish State 2.0’ event in San Francisco. ‘Love, Hate, and the Jewish State’ is a civil dialogue for Jews in their 20s and 30s to share personal experiences about Israel and social justice. We are creating a space where authentic discourse and diverse opinions are welcome. You get to own the discussion. Share your story. Leave the boxing gloves at home.

February 21, 2013 – 7:00-10:00 PM; Swedish American Hall – 2174 Market Street – San Francisco; $5 – Space is limited; A 21+ event

Learn More…