Hazon, the United States’ largest Jewish environmental group, is hosting its first Tu B’Shvat dinner in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia community is invited to “a culinary adventure benefiting the Jewish sustainable movement.”
On February 7, 2012, at 5:45 PM, the National Museum of American Jewish History will be transformed into a springtime celebration of rebirth and renewal. James Beard Award winning Chef Michael Solomonov, of Zahav Restaurant, and Jon Weinrott of Peachtree Kosher Catering are donating their skills to create a meal featuring organically grown produce and dishes integrating such Tu B’Shvat staples as almonds, figs, dates, carobs, and raisins.
Nigel Savage, executive director of Hazon, will teach the customs and meaning of Tu B’Shvat throughout the evening. Some of the most creative new music being produced in the Jewish community will be showcased.
This event is honoring Mark and Judy Dornstreich, owners of Branch Creek Farm in Perkasie, PA. Mark and Judy are pioneering urban, Jewish organic farmers. They paved the way for the current generation of young Jewish urban farmers. Judy has taught yoga at Hazon’s gathering at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center. The Dornstreichs hosted Hazon’s Harvest Supper in a sukkah at Branch Creek Farm last year. When I asked Judy why she is involved with Hazon, she responded, “I feel like a Havdalah candle when I am with Hazon. The three strands of my life are woven together: Judaism, organic farming, and yoga.”
Mark Aronchick, of Hangley, Aronchik, Segal, Pudlin & Schiller is being honored as well. “I am no organic farmer,” he told me. “I became involved in Hazon to participate in their incredible bike ride from Jerusalem to Eilat.” He loved this strenuous ride so much, that he has participated in it for the past five years. “But I am an environmentalist,” he continued. “I am thrilled that Hazon is involved with the Arava Institute in Israel, and that they introduced me to it.” Mark feels that Hazon has a unique and exciting mission that has captured the attention of the younger generation of the Jewish community. “They are health conscious, and they are searching spiritually,” he told me. “Hazon is a catalyst that brings wonderful people together, and creates a community.”
Hazon collaborates with four Community Supported Agriculture sites in the Philadelphia area. These CSAs provide nearly 500 homes with fresh, seasonal produce from local farms. Nigel Savage hopes that Hazon will expand its programming within Philadelphia’s Jewish community. For tickets to this event please register online.