Welcome to the Hazon Food Conference!
Dear Friends, I am honored and excited to welcome you to the 11th annual Hazon Food Conference! Three years ago, at this exact time, I was studying meditation at an ashram in India. One of the foundational teachings I learned was that when a miracle occurs, big or small, it should be talked about and shared as a sign of gratitude, thereby inviting more miracles to come. The holiday of Hanukkah is a public acknowledgment of a miracle that happened to our people over two thousand years ago. As the story goes, the Temple had been ransacked and the eternal flame of the menorah was extinguished. Against all odds, the Jews were able to locate a small cruse of pure olive oil with enough to burn for one night; but the oil burned for eight full nights. So every year we light the menorah as a reminder of this dark period in our history, of a time when we thought all hope was lost. Despite it all, the impossible happened. In addition to lighting the menorah each night, our tradition instructs us to share our miracles by placing our menorah in a window or outside the door. Every night as I lit my menorah in the ashram, I understood in a much deeper way why our tradition instructs us to share our miracle with the world. Year after year, the menorah serves as a reminder that the impossible is possible. Whether this is your first Food Conference or your eleventh, I invite you to share, to discuss, and to absorb all the transformational programming, community, and nature that Hazon has to offer. In the face of all the darkness
that we are experiencing in the world today, it is easy to lose hope. As we dig deeper into ourselves at this Food Conference, it is my hope that we find our own internal light and share that inspiration publicly with the whole world when we leave. For the last 11 years, nurtured by the work of Hazon and a growing network of organizations and individuals, we have seen the rise of the Jewish Food Movement. This year, we are approaching this growing movement from four different perspectives: Food Justice and Sustainability; Health and Mindfulness; DIY and Cooking Demos; and Jewish Learning, History and Culture. You will have an opportunity to explore a wide variety of topics, ranging from climate change activism to making vegan sourdough einkorn bread to kosher slaughter of heritage breed chickens. This Hanukkah, we have the opportunity to celebrate the miracles right in front of our eyes, from spending time with family and friends, to being grateful for the farm-totable organic food on our plate, to marveling at the way we can build sustainable food communities. Over the next five days, we will develop tools and inspiration through the relationships we foster, the wisdom we gain, and the conversations we have. But don’t let it stop there – keep that light burning long after you return home. The world needs a miracle, now more than ever. It’s going to take all our flames together to continue to build this movement. Together, let us share the inspiration that has ignited us with the world. But first, let’s eat some latkes!
Jess Berlin JOFEE Manager and Hazon Food Conference Lead Staff
#hazonfoodconference • 2016 Hazon Food Conference 7