I hope you are able to stay safe and healthy, physically and emotionally, in this time of great upheaval.
Amidst all of the uncertainty, it is clear we will not be gathering as originally planned on May 31 for the Jewish Sustainable Food Fest. Our ability and comfort to get together in such a large group is unlikely, and, as you can imagine, we are limited in our ability to plan and prepare for such an event.
A combined group from the BJG Board of Directors and the JSFF planning team have been meeting weekly (virtually) to determine how and when we might be able to move this event forward, but given current events, we have made the decision to pause our external work for a month or two. Our lay leadership will continue to meet to assess the situation and consider our best options.
In the midst of major interruptions to the global food supply chain, the goal of the JSFF, “to educate and connect our community around the dynamics of building a regional, ethical and resilient food system, providing networking and resource sharing opportunities,” feels more relevant than ever and we look forward to being in touch with how best we can do this work in the current changing climate.
In our strategic visioning last year, we decided to focus exclusively on community-wide events and the JSFF was to be our first within this new model. Our internal organizational work will be to prepare to move the organization forward in a way that is both aligned with our mission and also financially viable.
A few weeks ago I finished teaching a class, “Spiraling Through Time: Radically Rethinking our Relationship to Land” in which we looked at the cycles of the Jewish calendar – the holy days and celebrations, progression of rain, agricultural laws, rabbinic conversations, and mandated recalibrations. Shabbat. Shmita. Yovel. I have always understood these periods to be times for reflection. American philosopher and educator, John Dewey defines reflection as “active, persistent, and careful consideration of any belief or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the grounds that support it, and the further conclusions to which it tends.” In this difficult time, reflection and creatively may well be our greatest gifts.
I am reminded of how we move forward in tandem with the rest of the world and heartened by the work of individuals, congregations, local food businesses and organizations who have been adapting quickly. As our landscape shifts, we are moving along with it.
May it be a season of reflection.