Throughout Chanukah, we’re sharing our “8 sparks of light” providing inspiration and insight into the diversity of people working on a local level for a more transparent and just food system.
Reva Haselkorn is a Culinary Instructor and Nonprofit program coordinator from Newton, MA who believes in the power of food to bring people together.
How did you first get involved in Ganei Beantown?
The first Boston Jewish Food Conference was held right after I graduated from culinary school and it seemed like the perfect nexus of things near and dear to my heart for networking and for finding gainful employment (I hoped). It brought together food, social justice, and Jewish values. I was nervous and excited to attend. Connections that I made at a panel on food access actually led to next steps in creating a new career in culinary education, community development, and food justice.
Can you share a story about your involvement in the Jewish food scene?
I once got to lead a workshop called “Charoset Around the World.” I had to try to speak into a stationary microphone and run around making three or four different types of charoset and field questions at the same time. I remember being impressed when I heard there was a 99 year old woman in attendance. The whole thing was fantastic fun.
Do you remember the moment when you started learning about our food system?
My first memories of learning about where food comes from are from Drumlin Farm summer camp. There, I learned to eat beets raw right out of the ground, collect and cook with still-warm eggs, milk cows, and walk goats. I was enthralled, and I still trace much of my fascination with food to those two-week summer sessions.
What Jewish values underlie this work for you?
Stewardship of the earth and working towards Jewish unity as a subset of inclusion, relationship-building, and generally bringing people together to learn about each other and grow to respect each other’s differences.
What Jewish values and traditions speak to you most?
Ein simcha ela b’basar v’yain – There is no celebration/happiness without meat and wine! Also, that not only are all human beings created in Hashem’s image, but all living things as well, and that we, as Jews with a special relationship with all of Hashem’s creations, have a duty to protect, cultivate, and enjoy all living things.
Why are you involved in Ganei Beantown as opposed to another cultural organization?
I love how Ganei Beantown brings together Jews (and non-Jews) of all different backgrounds and creates a space for learning and expression around food, community, and Jewish experience. It’s not easy to bring people together—who may vehemently disagree about many things important to them—and provide positive and profound programming and opportunities for conversation.
If you find Reva’s story as inspiring as we do, please consider an end of year donation.