Thursday, September 17, 2009

THIS Is a Thank You/Tzedakah Opportunity: Hazon

There are a lot of great organization out there and I wish I could give to each one that strikes my fancy. Over the past few years, I've gotten very lazy. I give to my synagogue and my alma mater and the Theater Development Fund, but besides that, I am mostly guided by whatever organizations my friends are running/walking/biking for. Part of this is because when I walked for Project Bread's The Walk for Hunger, my friends and family were very generous with me, but also because, as I said, I'm lazy. In fact, I think I am going to go donate to some organization right now. Wait a sec.

Okay, done.

Anyway, as a general rule, I get very nice thank you emails from people to whom I've given money to, but I think the one I got below is the best. It made me able to see what the experience was like a little bit and I feel lucky that I got to be a part of it, even if I wasn't there myself. Part of it might be just because I don't normally give to people who make a whole weekend out of it, but whatever the reason, I really appreciated it and I wanted to share it with you.

Dear sweet friends,

THANK YOU so much for supporting me, in so many ways, including financially, to succeed in my first ever New York Hazon Bike Ride! Thanks to the generous donations of family and friends, I have raised a total of $996 so far towards my goal of $1500. I'm almost there! I could not have done it without you.

The Ride weekend was a phenomenal experience. Over 4 days this past Labor Day weekend at a camp in upstate New York, I got to share in a deeply spiritual and lively community, complete with outdoor prayer services, fresh meals, keynote speakers, and group-building activities. With the encouragement of my team members, the support from all of you, and lots of water and bananas, I successfully completed my goal of 55 miles on the first day of biking, followed by an even more energetic 55 miles on the second day--bringing me up and over Bear Mountain, across two bridges, through one state line, and right into New York City.

Friday evening I had the privilege of attending a panel on “Peace, Partnership and Environmental Protection” about the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies. Hazon funds this Institute, which brings together Arabs, Americans and Israelis to collectively address agricultural and environmental issues facing the Middle East. Professor Tareq Abu Hamed is the first full time Palestinian staff living at the Institute with his family, focusing on Renewable Energy in the region.

The food at this conference was fresh, and amazingly local—peaches, plums, apples, kale, beets and more. Hazon funds Adamah, a Jewish farming fellowship for people in their 20’s, and more than once we got to eat the tasty produce from their organic farm in Northwestern Connecticut. Hazon now runs 32 Community Supported Agriculture programs across the US, the largest faith-based network of CSA’s in the country.

This weekend I rode farther than I’ve ever ridden in my life. I had the opportunity to connect with my co-workers at Teva, some who had just been hired for the Fall season less than a week before. The first day we cycled past farms, beside rivers, past blooming wildflowers, wild plums, and grazing cows, and sang for most of the way. The second day we climbed mountains and descended, the wind whipping in our faces, the Hudson below us.

I sang new and familiar songs, connected with new and old friends, laughed and swam. I am now inspired to cycle more, (and more carefully), to eat more local and fresh food, and to become more aware of all the beautiful blessings that surround me in nature and in my daily life. I feel so much more connected to this very powerful and uplifting community of people connecting Jewish values, environmental concern, and love of nature.

Thank you for having confidence in me, for encouraging me to share in this experience, and for giving me so much love my whole life.

If you want to find out more about Hazon, or to join me next year on the ride, please visit
And, for those of you who still want to donate, but haven’t yet, it’s NOT TOO LATE!! You can most easily go to my personal webpage to make a donation of as little as $18.

Love, and many blessings,



  1. very nice post - wish more people would take a second and give!

    i like your choices - well done. it is very important to give tzedakah to places that use it efficiently and effectively (if not, then they are wasting your very precious tzedakah shekels).

    tzedakah funds that i recommend are and - both list dozens of places that have been vetted and get my 'seal of approval'.

    a happy and healthy new year to you.

  2. Thanks for the great links. I also have a page about giving Tzedakah in Israel and I will be sure to add some information to that site as well.

    I especially like the page on where you can pick an organization based on the Jewish value (do not waste, feed the hungry, respect your body, etc.).

  3. Great post!

    I love Hazon and am going to their food conference this December. I really love hwo they meld ecology and Judaism.

    I know...I know...not what you'd have ever expected to hear from me.