8 Sparks of Light: Noah Weinberg, Tufts University Senior

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.

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Noah Weinberg, originally from Evanston, IL, is a Senior at Tufts University Living in Medford. Learn how his experiences have led him to fight factory farming from a Jewish perspective.

I grew up going to Jewish summer camp, spending a lot of time outdoors hiking in National Parks with my parents, and I have worked for the last four summers at Eden Village Camp. The time I spent on the farm, in the woods, and in the dining hall became moments for connection to the essence of Jewish spirituality as a landed tradition of farmers and wilderness wanderers. Words of tradition that were familiar from rote practice came alive: I felt the immediacy and profound simplicity of “boreh pri haadamah” as I harvested and ate a bean on the farm. “Kol adonai al hamayim” had new resonances as the songs of Kabbalat Shabbat carried across the lake.

My time at Eden Village Camp, and at the Adamah Fellowship taught me that Jewish tradition lives not only in books, but also in the deep roots and stretching stems of the plants we grow, in our bodies as we work to bring forth and preserve earth’s abundance, and in our souls as we connect with each other in sacred intentional community.

Jewish tradition lives not only in books, but also in the deep roots and stretching stems of the plants we grow.

I now turn much of my attention within the Jewish food movement to working to end factory farming and promote Jewish community taking action to promote animal welfare through working with the Jewish Initiative for Animals. My learning and reading about factory farming, my experiences caring for goats and chickens at Adamah, as well as participating and facilitating education shechita experiences at Adamah and Eden Village have compelled me to be a vegan. I am also guided by my conviction that there is no place in this world for industrial animal agriculture as it exists today, even in its slightly adjusted “humane” and “sustainable” versions.

Combatting many of the most challenging issues of peace and justice in our time (climate change and food justice, racism and mass incarceration, violent extremism) must begin with the most essential teaching that we are all fundamentally interconnected and interdependent with each other and with the earth. This is what leads me to earth-based spiritually-connected pluralistic intentional Jewish community that Ganei Beantown seeks to create.

If you find Noah’s story as inspiring as we do, please consider an end of year donation.

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