“The Torah is a commentary on the world, and the world is a commentary on the Torah.”
The motto above reflects Hazon’s determination to apply Jewish thought to some of the greatest challenges of our time – and Hazon’s belief that the act of doing so is good not only for the world, but also for the renewal of Jewish life itself.
The word hazon means vision.
Hazon works to create a healthier and more sustainable Jewish community, and a healthier and more sustainable world for all.
Hazon was founded in 2000 in New York City, and has since grown to be the largest environmental organization in the American Jewish community. In 2013, Hazon merged with the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, whose campus is in Falls Village, CT has been added to Hazon’s network of regional offices in Boulder, Denver, Detroit, and San Diego.
Hazon believes that engaging Jews in environmental education, action, and advocacy changes them, their families, their institutions, and the community as a whole. The organization’s values include creating multi-generational programs, a strong commitment to inclusive community, being both Jewishly serious and open to all, cultivating leadership, and seeking to have impact both locally and globally.
Hazon seeks to effect change through a series of immersive multi-day retreats and events, Jewish outdoor, food, and environmental educational initiatives, and by supporting the wider Jewish environmental movement through networking activities.
Hazon’s retreats are immersive, intensive, and inclusive. They offer a wide variety of retreats and conferences such as bike rides, holidays, adventures, workshops, conferences, festivals, and vacations. Hazon programs encourage people to make a difference in the world, and in the process enable them to renew and reframe their own Jewish journeys. Individuals, families, and communities make a journey to experience a Judaism that connects with their passions – and they return home transformed: refreshed, inspired, and with a renewed sense of purpose and possibility for a sustainable future in the Jewish community and beyond.
Many events focus on Jewish holidays, spiritual practice, and cultural explorations of the Jewish community, offering eco-conscious and spiritual uplifting celebrations for all streams of Jewish practice. A wide range of our programs educate people of all ages about the Jewish relationship to food, the outdoors, and the environment through the lens of Jewish, Outdoor, Food, Farming and Environmental Education (JOFEE), including the Hazon Food Conference and the New York Ride. Participants come from of all religious backgrounds and none, and Hazon works closely with a wide range of institutions and leaders across the Jewish world.
Most of Hazon’s retreats take place at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, a 400-acre facility in the Berkshire Hills complete with a lake, forested hiking trails, and a working organic farm.
Hazon’s educational work focuses on Jewish Outdoor, Food, Farming & Environmental Education (JOFEE). Within this framework, Hazon provides a series of educational materials, curricula, and programs for all ages. Some of these include:
The Adamah Fellowship (Hebrew for “earth”) is a three-month leadership training program for young adults in their 20s that integrates organic farming, sustainable living, Jewish learning, community building and contemplative spiritual practice.
Teva (Hebrew for “nature”) programs integrate outdoor environmental education with Jewish concepts and values through exciting hands-on activities. The flagship program brings middle school aged youth to the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center for 4 days of environmental programming.
Hazon Curricula can be used in the classroom, at home, or as experiential programs. These tools are geared towards various age groups and have been used in synagogues, day schools, JCCs, and camps around the world. Hazon has various source books focusing on Food Justice, Jewish textual tradition, middle school resources, and Shmita (the Jewish sabbatical cycle).
Hazon has local offices in:
Hazon’s regional staff works with Jewish and environmental institutions to bring Hazon’s work to the local community. Events and partnerships have included cooking classes, institutional greening workshops, speaking tours, and more.
Each region hosts its own Food Festival, a one-day exploration of the intersection between contemporary food issues and Jewish tradition.