Archive for the 'Interviews' Category

Change from Within: An Interview with Rabbi Gordon Tucker

Rabbi Gordon Tucker is the Senior Rabbi at the Temple Israel Center in White Plains, New York. He served as the Dean of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (JTA) from 1984 until 1992, and on the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of the Rabbinical Assembly from 1982 to 2007. His most recent published work, Heavenly Torah: As Refracted Through the Generations is a translation with commentary of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel’s three volume work in Hebrew.

Right before Thanksgiving, I had the chance to speak with Rabbi Tucker about his thoughts on Hekhsher Tzedek, how food and social justice connect, and where change comes from in Conservative Judaism (hint, read the title of this post)

Read all about it below the jump (plus – a special, candid photo of Rabbi Tucker on Hazon’s New York Jewish Environmental Bike Ride!)…

Jews Save the World, Again: Interview with Rabbi Julian Sinclair


Rabbi Julian Sinclair is an author, educator, and economist. He is also the co-founder and Director of Education for Jewish Climate Initiative, a Jerusalem based NGO that is articulating and mobilizing a Jewish response to climate change.  Before starting JCI, Julian worked as an economist advising the UK Government and for a British political think tank.  Meanwhile, he authored the book Lets Schmooze: Jewish Words Today and is working on completing a Phd in the mystical thought of Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook.  Phew!

Sinclair lives in Jerusalem and has been featured on NPR and interviewed for the New York Times by our own Leah Koenig.  Hazon is delighted to invite Rabbi Sinclair as a presenter at this year’s Hazon Food Conference, December 25-28, 2008.

Get a sneak peek at what Julian has to say below the jump.  And find out more/ register for Hazon’s Food Conference, here!

Get Up and Grow: Interview with Michael Ableman

Michael Ableman

A farmer, an educator and an activist, Michael Ableman is also a photographer and a writer. His three books include his latest, Fields of Plenty: A farmer’s journey in search of real food and the people who grow it, for which Ableman traveled North America chronicling the passion and prowess of the new generation of American farmers. He currently farms in British Columbia with his wife and two sons, and will be joining us as a presenter at the Hazon Food Conference in December, 2008. (Click here to find out more and register for Hazon’s Food Conference.)

I talked to Ableman about his hopes for the sustainable agriculture movement, his many hats, and Judaism’s connection to the cycle of the seasons.

Find the full interview below the jump.

CSAs say: “Cheese Please”


In the beginning, there were vegetables. Then came fruit, and it was good. Now, Community-Supported Agriculture programs across the country are partnering with local farmers to include everything from milk and cheese, eggs, flowers, meat, and even locally-grown wheat berries in their members’ shares. This broad expansion indicates that people across the country are clamoring for more opportunities to eat local food, and that the CSA model provides the structural support to make it happen.

Hazon’s Tuv Ha’Aretz Jewish CSA program is no exception. This year, the Long Island Tuv Ha’Aretz program, which is run out of the Reconstructionist Synagogue of the North Shore, partnered with 5 Spoke Creamery to bring their kosher, raw-milk, artisanal cheeses to members’ tables. The cheese share was a first for the Tuv Ha’Aretz community and the company, which had never distributed their products via CSA before.

We interviewed Tuv Ha’Aretz coordinator and The Jew & The Carrot contributor, Eric Schulmiller, as well as 5 Spoke Creamery owner, Alan Glustoff to find out how the partnership panned out. If you’ve ever read The Onion’s Point/Counterpoint segment, the dual-interview below is kind of like that – except replace the biting sarcasm with earnestness and a passion for all things cheese.

Fruity Encounters: Interview with Adam Gollner (Win His Book)


New York Times book critic Janet Maslin recently picked Adam Gollner’s new book, The Fruit Hunters (Scribner: 2008), as a top summer read—and it’s easy to see why. Gollner writes mellifluously about his extraordinary (writ extraterrestrial) experiences traveling the world in search of fruits and the wacky people who devote their lives to this quest.

In the Seychelles, Gollner—or perhaps Adam is his best suited moniker—manages to get his hands on the uncannily female-looking coco-de-mer, or ‘lady fruit,’ whose “innards are translucent, almost like a silicon gel implant but with a softer, shaky-pudding texture” with “a mild citruslike quality, refreshing and sweet with earthy, spunky notes…like coconut flesh, only sexier.”

He then visits the jungles of Borneo to taste the intensely odoriferous “nutty, almondlike,” and “fully constructed dessert” of fresh durians, where the “juicy white cubes of flesh fuse a custard’s richness with a cakelike powderiness… topped with “vanilla-spruce frosting”—a far cry from the false gas leak alarm-spawning durians he got in Manhattan’s Chinatown, where they tasted of “undercooked peanut butter-mint omelets in body-odor sauce.” In Hawaii he tempts us with his description of the dusky brown chicos tasting of “maple syrup pudding,” and a host of other Neverland varietals such as bignays, gourkas, sapotes, mombins, langsats.

Over fruit smoothies one recent morning in Montreal, I met with Adam to discuss his new book and the sweet allure of the infinite world of fertilized flowers.

Below the jump: Win a copy of Adam Gollner’s The Fruit Hunters!

Did The Agriprocessors Boycott End Too Soon? An Interview with Ari Hart


Last week, Orthodox social justice organization, Uri L’Tzedek, ended their official boycott of Agriprocessors’ meat and poultry products, a little less than one month after it began. Their decision was met with some skepticism from many kosher and non-kosher keeping consumers who felt that they were just getting started. One reader of this blog commented:

“I also think calling off the boycott is premature, and I’m not ending my personal boycott, which has been going on for over 6 months. Agriprocessor’s has consistently shown they only respond to pressure, not good intentions. Now is not the time to let up on the pressure.”

I interviewed co-director, Ari Hart, to find out why Uri L’Tzedek made the decision to end the boycott, and where the kosher meat industry might go from here.

Read the full interview below the jump.

Eat Your (Organic) Veggies: Interview with Ella Heeks


What would you say if someone offered you a box of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables delivered to your home every week? Ella Heeks is willing to wager you might be interested.

Heeks is the Managing Director of Abel & Cole, an Organic Delivery Service in England. Through Abel & Cole, customers order a weekly bounty of pesticide-free produce and schedule its delivery to fit into their busy lives. It’s convenience and ethical eating, waiting patiently on the porch.

While you can find Organic Delivery Services in most American cities, Brits have taken a particular liking to their weekly veg box – and also to ODS pioneer Abel & Cole. 30-year old Heeks spoke with The Jew & The Carrot about working with an idealistic company, soaking up farmer wisdom, and Able & Cole’s response to some customer’s requests that they boycott Israeli-grown produce.

Meet Sandorkraut: Interview with Sandor Katz

pickle1.jpgFermentation is the foundation of warm sourdough bread, crunchy pickles and cold micro-brewed beer. And Sandor Ellix Katz is, in our humble opinion, the rebbe of fermentation.

Two weeks ago, Naftali posted a review of Sandor’s book Wild Fermentation. Now, you can read the exclusive (and incredibly inspiring) interview with Sandor, and answer the following question for a chance to win a copy of his book: What is your all-time favorite fermented food?

Interview with Sandor Ellix Katz

Who is Sandorkraut?

Sandorkraut is an affectionate nickname I was given by friends thanks to my love of sauerkraut, my constant production of it, and more broadly my evangelical zeal about fermentation. My name is Sandor Ellix Katz. I’m a queer Jew born and raised in New York City who has been homesteading in rural Tennessee for the past 15 years.

My interest in fermentation developed out of overlapping interests in food, nutrition, and gardening. My book Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods has propelled me into a mission of what I call cultural revivalism, spreading fermentation skills and fermentation fervor.

The View from Your Fork: An Interview with Michael Pollan

Which is better: Organic or locally-grown food? Rice milk or dairy? Tofu or grass-fed beef? Michael Pollan’s not telling.

The author of the New York-Times’ best selling book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, Pollan is a luminary within an impressive group of writers who examine America’s food industry to find out exactly how our food gets to our plates.

Pollan’s ground-breaking work has profoundly impacted the lives and habits of eaters across the country (mine included), and even inspired beautiful artwork. But despite his great influence, Pollan strongly believes that when it comes to figuring out, “What’s for dinner?” the right answer is ultimately up to each individual consumer.

I spoke with Pollan about the power of making food choices, truly valuing our food, and the importance of holidays, like Pesach, to connect us to the earth, and to each other. Click on “Read More” for the interview.