2013 BJFC Workshops:


11:00-12:15 Workshops I

Sustainable Growth: How to Start a Jewish GardenIMG_2919
Leora Mallach (Ganei Beantown) and Ahron Lerman (Springfield JCC)
This workshop will provide participants with a template needed to frame and begin a Jewish garden project. Participants will leave less intimidated, more motivated, and with realistic expectations about their project scope and timeline.

A Healthy & Sustainable Passover
Anna Hanau (Hazon)
Reb Shlomo Carlbach taught that each of the Jewish holidays comes to remind us of something in particular that we should be thinking of the whole year-round.  This session will discuss how Passover can re-inspire us in our pursuit of sustainable living and sustainable agriculture, and how contemporary values of social justice can be brought to life at your Passover seder.  Based on Hazon’s series of Healthy & Sustainable holiday ideas, come and learn why the holidays offer such an important opportunity to make a statement, and some creative ways to bring your values to life in food, activities, decorations, texts and more.


A Magic Recipe: How To Teach Jewish Justice & Sustainability Education
Cara Michelle Silverberg (Teva Learning Alliance)
In this workshop, we will discuss developmentally appropriate and experiential approaches to exploring the concepts of Jewish food justice and sustainability. We will identify key topics and explore through experiential activities how we can bring this important conversation alive in classrooms, synagogues, camps and communities with kids and teens.


Jewish Perspectives on Genetic Engineering
Dr. Michael A. Grodin (Boston University Schools of Medicine and Public Health)
This workshop will explore what the Torah, Talmud, Codes and Responsa come to teach  us about genetic engineering and its use in Genetically Modified Food.  We will analyze what the sources say about the place of science and technology in Judaism and what “continuing the creation” means.  The topics of  Kashrut and Kilayim will be be critical to our discourse.

Fixing ancient customs: Tikkun Olam, Climate Change, and Agriculture
Becca Weaver (New Entry) and Eli Herb (Hebrew College)
How do we fix what’s broken?  Today when we hear the term, “tikkun olam” we think of mitzvah projects and good deeds.  However, the roots of the term harken back to a time when our ancestors had to radically change their society in order to survive.  In this session we will explore what farmers in the US are doing to adapt to an ever changing climate and how our agricultural system needs to radically change in order to feed our world’s growing population.

2:45-3:45 Workshops II

Jewish teens, Gleaning and Advocacy- Be Part of the Solution!DSC02952
The Binah School girls
Come watch a multimedia presentation made by students from The Binah School from their interviews with farmers, food pantries and a local gleaning organization as students speak about food waste and hunger in Massachusetts and America. Students compare the biblical practice of gleaning with modern day gleaning practices and  advocate for gleaning to become a widespread response to these real world problems.

An Honest Prayer: Providence and Uncertainty in Birkat Hamazon
Jeremy Sher
Birkat Hamazon is often recited by observant Jews, but seldom studied as a text.  With the help of a new English translation that is both literal and singable, we will discover surprising insights into Israel’s relationship with God, as mediated by food.  Exploring the Rabbis’ view of our religious ties to the agricultural process, we will engage the ancient prayer from farm to table to soul.


 Planting our seeds: Tools for organizing your community to take action
Davida Ginsberg (JOIN) and Helen Bennett (Moishe Kavod House)
Is your passion for intentional stewardship of the earth and food justice stirred up? Is it ever tricky to think about how to   translate that passion into action at home and in your community? Come learn campaign tools to engage and agitate your community to act on your food values. In this workshop we’ll learn some community organizing basics and practice how to create a long term plan, get buy in, and engage your community.


Local? Organic? Kosher? Oy Vey!
David Warner (City Feed and Supply) and Jess Green (Ganei Beantown)
We’re confronted with so many, often conflicting, philosophies of food. Should you buy an organic apple from New Zealand or a conventional one from the Berkshires? Is there tension between kosher and humanely raised meat? (And should meat even be a factor?) It may not surprise you that there are no “right” answers, so join us to consider where you spend your food dollars and how you make your food choices.

Shmita: What it mean then, what it (could) mean today
Anna Hanau (Hazon)
The Biblical laws of Shmita dictate a 7-year cycle in our relationship to land and agriculture.  Shmita is observed a particular way in Israel today — but was it ever “fully” followed in the past?  And what can it mean for those of us outside the land of Israel?  This introductory session to shmita will explore primary texts to map our first encounters with shmita, and introduce the Shmita Project, a cross-continental collaboration to apply shmita principles to communities today.

4:00-5:00 Workshops III

Sustainability & the Business Bottom Line
Michael Leviton (Chefs Collaborative), Debra Stark (Debra’s Natural Gourmet), Rabbi David Jaffe (Gann Academy)
Join us to consider the intersection of morality and business practice from restaurant, business and institutional leaders. Hear how they consider their ideals, local consumer needs and Jewish values while creating a viable enterprise.

Local kosher meat, what’s happening in New England?IMG_3323
Rabbi Natan Margalit (Organic Torah) and Rachel Tali Kaplan
What does one need to do to get a supply of local, organic, free range, and Kosher meat? It is not easy. In this workshop the co-leaders tell of our experiences in trying to bring all these things together. The joys and the pitfalls, the frustrations and the rewards; what can we learn from these experiences in moving forward and acheiving our goal of feeding our families humane, healthy, and kosher meat?

Thou Shalt Not Waste: Ancient Texts and their Modern Application
Getzel Davis (Hebrew College) and Sasha Purpura (Food for Free)
Join us to follow the premise and development of Judaism’s prohibitions on wasting food over the past four millennia. We will start in the Torah and move into early rabbinic and medieval sources and commentary, concluding with a local, contemporary application. Consider how you can apply these principles today. All backgrounds welcome, this will also be a great introduction to Jewish classical sources.

From Matzah to Market: Jews, Food and Cooperatives Businesses
Micha Josephy, Jonathan Rosenthal, Jennie Msall
Jews in America—since before 1909, when Hyman Cohn cofounded the Cooperative League of the USA—have sought out cooperative models to meet their economic, social and cultural needs, including the development of healthy, sustainable, and just food systems. Come learn how cooperative models have helped three local Jewish community members do just that, and what cooperatives could do for you. We will give brief presentations about our experiences across the food system, from supporting fair trade farmers and worker owned supply chain businesses to consumer owned grocery stores and collective kitchens. These experiences will help frame an open discussion based on the interests of the group with an emphasis on practical next steps.

Rozensky_BJFC-3Food for Thought for Teens
Alyssa Bauer
The Food for Thought Teen Workshop will address food choices teens have despite not being the primary food buyer of a household. We will discuss what a responsible Jewish food ethic looks like for them, taking into account a number of resources they have available.