Reflection on Returning to Detroit

by Zoe McCoon, Hazon Detroit Summer 2017 Rabbinic Fellow

After finishing my first year of rabbinical school, I had mixed feelings about leaving Jerusalem – a place I found filled with spiritual energy and fervor… and yet, I was counting down the days until I could be back in Detroit. Detroit itself has a special spiritual energy and flavor that I was craving to return to. Detroit, a place I often call “My family’s Jerusalem,” is the place my family settled to when they came from Europe, it is the place both my grandfather and my mom grew up, and it is a place that I keep finding myself returning to when I want to learn, grow, and ground myself. Having been a Hazon Detroit Fellow before entering rabbinical school, I had already fallen in love with the holy work Hazon Detroit does in Detroit and the Metro-Detroit area bringing people together through taking care of the Earth, being outside, and living Jewishly. I was especially enamored with Oakland Avenue Urban Farm – one of our close partner organizations.

March 23rd marked one month since returning back to Hazon Detroit, and I continue to be excited about the work I get to do every day. On any given day as Hazon’s Summer Rabbinic Fellow, I may get to plan morning meditations for our weekly Avodat Lev on the farm, work on the details and vision of our four-part “Health through the Seasons of Life” Pre-Food Festival Series, organize a mini-health fair in our upcoming Food Festival, distribute healthy fruits and vegetables to the participants in our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), or help plan a Havdallah Kayaking event… just to name a few things I’ve done. Plus, I still get to work at Oakland Avenue Urban Farm!

Through working on each of the different events and programs, I feel myself contributing to a place that has given so much to me and my family. Even a month into my Summer Fellowship, I am still excited about the work we do. It brings me joy to know that the work I am doing every day is done in the name of bringing people together, to bringing healing, and to bringing the world even a little closer to that of our vision.

Detroit feels like home to me – I feel its love when I am here, and I feel myself wanting to give back my love to Detroit, its people, its natural resources, and its history. I look forward to the opportunity to return my love back to Detroit for the rest of the summer!