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.
Hannah Levine of Somerville chaired the 2012 Boston Jewish Food Conference and is currently on Ganei Beantown’s board. Her studies and experiences outside of Boston have driven her to make an impact in her home community.
How would you describe your involvement in the current “Jewish food movement?”
I formally began learning about the food movement in 2009 when I participated in the Green Apprenticeship at Kibbutz Lotan in the southern Arava the year after I graduated from architecture school.
When I returned to Boston I got involved with the Farm-to-Shul team at the Moishe Kavod House, as I wanted to meet Jews who shared my values. We not only planned fun events, but we worked to bring our consumption in line with our communal values.
Why are you involved in Ganei Beantown vs. local garden club or Jewish cultural organization?
Connection with food grounds me as a being on this earth. I think this “grounding feeling” is why I’m part of Ganei Beantown, rather than “just” a Jewish group or “just” a food movement group; it provides me with a meaningful Jewish life that confronts modern life, and a particular identity in a universal movement. Besides finding Jewish community, I find redefining of Jewish rituals and creation of new traditions that are being created in this “Jewish food movement” are powerful experiences.
Connection with food grounds me as a being on this earth.
In the winter of 2011, I went to the Hazon Food Conference and was inspired to bring the same type of gathering (sharing of ideas between individuals and communities) to Boston, in a way that was more accessible for local people. Ganei Beantown was in the early stages of formation and I became the chair of the first Boston Jewish Food Conference, working with Leora and the planning team to make it a reality. Now, on the board of Ganei Beantown, I am helping to envision the future of the organization and help ensure its viability.
What advice do you give to others looking to be involved?
Show up! — the first and riskiest step. Come to an event and introduce yourself to someone new. If you want to make a difference in your own community start small; ask around and find out if there are others with similar interests.
If you find Hannah’s story as inspiring as we do, please consider an end of year donation.