Archive for the 'Notable Press' Category

Are we anti-establishment?

Here’s a little foray from recipes and cookie cutters: Jo Ellen Kaiser, editor in chief of Zeek Magazine, covered the burgeoning Jewish social justice sector for Sojourner’s Magazine, a liberal Christian mag. In it, she cites Hazon as an example of how the Jewish social justice movement has shunned the organized Jewish world. Over at Jewschool.com, they’re discussing whether that’s true or not.

Jo Ellen, who is a good colleague of mine who I respect greatly, portrays us oddly:

Hazon Invited to White House for Let’s Move Initiative

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Hazon has been invited to join a group of Faith-based and Community organizations to support Michelle Obama’s recently launched Let’s Move campaign. The meeting in DC tomorrow will provide organizations with tools and information to help combat childhood obesity in their communities. Judith Belasco, Director of Food Programs, is headed to the Capitol to represent Hazon!

According to Judith, “Hazon is always looking to expand our support of healthier lifestyles as meaningfully as we can. Already North America’s largest faith-based supporter of CSA‘s, we provide healthy living education through our Jewish Food Education Network (JFEN) and annual Food Conference. We look forward to engaging the Jewish community and beyond in support of Let’s Move.”

According to Joshua DuBois, White House Director of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Parnerships, The Let’s Move campaign will combat the epidemic of childhood obesity through a comprehensive approach that builds on effective strategies, and mobilizes public and private sector resources. Let’s Move will engage every sector impacting the health of children to achieve this national goal, and will provide schools, families and communities simple tools to help kids be more active, eat better, and get healthy.

Iron Chef America Featuring the White House Garden

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Image via Food Network
So, did you all watch Iron Chef last night?  It was touted as a historical battle of super chefs, including Bobby Flay, Mario Batali, and Emeril Lagasse with White House Chef Cristeta Comerford.  Their asssignment:  to use anything from the White House Garden (and Beehives) to create dishes– locally sourced, organic, sustainable– that would wow America.  I reveled in the shots of the lush White House Garden, filmed last October during the full harvest bloom.  I marveled at the panoply of professional equipment (and sous-chefs) at the Stadium Kitchen where they held the competition. I learned some marvelous techniques, including blanching and pan-frying icicle radishes to complement scallops (which I don’t eat or serve in my kosher home) and also that professionally trained chefs also have trouble with short pastry. The finished four dishes per team were beautiful to behold.

No spoiler here: you could find out about the winning team elsewhere, such as the informative Obama Foodarama website.

Rubashkin Fraud Trial Begins Today in SD

As I sit and listen to Edgardo Reyes of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers speak of the struggles of farm workers in Florida and across the country, at the Community Food Security Coalition conference in Des Moines, the trial of Sholom Rubashkin is beginning today in Sioux Falls, SD.

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The Des Moines Register, headquarters located a few blocks away, has reported that despite Mr. Rubashkin’s 163 charges and maximum life sentence, his son Getzel has said that [Rubashkin] has prepared for trial “intensely, but also with the peace of mind of a man who knows he will be, G-d willing, fully exonerated…He has been the source of strength and encouragement for those around him, instead of the other way around.” Mr. Rubashkin maintains that he is innocent of the 91 fraud-related charges for his first trial, which begins in Sioux Falls, SD, moved from Cedar Rapids, IA to account for any media to which potential jurors would have been exposed, according to the NY Times.

NYC THROWS FOOD AWAY

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Thursday, October 8 at 3:00 pm the New York City Health Department visited the fruit stand on 89th and Broadway in Manhattan.  Apparently his fruit stand was too big, extending a foot or so outside the designated area.  The police were summoned  as was a New York City garbage truck.   The police proceeded to deposit crates of fruit and vegetables into the garbage truck.  They threw perfectly good fruits and vegetables away! A homeless woman literally kneeled down begging for the food.  The officers ignored her request. The bystanders were astounded.  As  pedestrians called various state and local officials, as well as news reporters,  the garbage truck closed and the police ceased to haul any more crates of food into the garbage truck for fear of negative publicity.  The supervising police officer said, “We are just following health department protocol.”

Tikkun olam/Pikuach nefesh on Shabbat

Yeah, I know, as Jews we’re supposed to rest from our weekday labors on Shabbat. Jews who observe Shabbat more traditionally than I do tend to refrain from social action on Shabbat, including the practice of tikkun olam, repairing the world. However, there is a ruling in Talmudic law (isn’t there always?) that allows us to sidestep Shabbat prohibitions against typical activities, called pikuach nefesh, saving a life (soul). Here’s a more complete explanation of the concept.

So why am I violating Shabbat by posting on The Jew and the Carrot today?

Emily Jane Freed: The kibbutz convert

So says Fortune Magazine, who profiled six of the most prominent young farmers in North America listed in the recent report from Mother Nature Network. Even though Fortune only featured a select few of the aggie all-stars selected by MNN, the 2009 Hazon Food Conference chair made the cut.

This comes as no surprise to us, of course. Emily’s talents and dedication to her craft make her a natural choice. Fortune points to Emily’s “year-long stay in Israel on a kibbutz…that changed her taste for organic food and farming.” Emily will be joined by other organic aces at this year’s Hazon Food Conference in December.

The (Food) Court Jew?

Here’s an uncomfortable intersection between Jews and food ethics — the Jewish spokesman for food lobby American Council on Science and Health, Jeff Steir, appeared on the Daily Show last week to receive a royal roasting.

I presume the days when people don’t know they’re on a parody show are past, surely Steir knew what he was getting into. Presumably he thought this was the only way to get a hearing out there. But the entire segment me cringe. How embarrassing:

Little Crop of Horrors
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Eco-Kosher Shabbat Meals Becoming the Norm?

My parents’ shul and rabbi are mentioned in this article, which should make the notion of an intentionally eco-Kosher Shabbat meal seem that much more normal.  But it doesn’t.  Every meal I host, like nearly every meal my friends host, is vegetarian, with special emphasis placed on organics, etc, during the “food tour.”  This, too, should make it all seem so normal, but it doesn’t.  I have vegan friends (and was vegan myself for 6 years) who host with or request water challahs, no hard-boiled eggs in the cholent (the best part, if you ask me, or most people, judging by the fighting that sometimes happens over them,) etc.  I think the reason it doesn’t seem so normal is that it’s not really.  Are my friends and me, Jews who do the whole Shabbat/Kosher/observance thing and do it in this way, a subculture within a subculture?

Down to Earth Women

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As Mia Rut’s recent post mentioned, this weekend’s Brooklyn Food Conference was a rip-roaring, inspirational, 1000+ person success – a true testament to the power of grassroots organizing and the vibrancy of the sustainable food world.  For those folks who missed the conference, or are – for some odd reason – looking for even *more* reasons to be inspired, look no further than the recent article in Jewish Woman Magazine, which introduces readers to more than a dozen amazing and pioneering women who are changing the face of the Jewish environmental movement, from the ground up.

Why is This Chocolate Different From All Others?

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A new article of mine appears today in The Atlantic called “A Seder Different From All Other Seders,” exploring the tragic demise of Barton’s, the iconic Jewish chocolate company.

In typical recession-era corporate fashion, in the late winter of 2009 a Barton’s Candy salesman, planning his annual Passover sales, had heard about a round of layoffs at the company. The news was followed by a more jarring discovery: the chocolate company had canceled its production for its most important time of the year, Passover. The salesman called Menachem Lubinsky–kosher industry insider and editor of the Kosher Today newsletter–in tears, lamenting his professional fate as well as that of the iconic chocolate company.

A Charitable Project That Hits Close to Home

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Earlier today, a friend was kind enough to share an article with me that addressed several of my interests: cooking, charity and the Pittsburgh Jewish community. The first two have had a prominent position my entire life, and the last only came into my frame of interest when I enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh this year.

The city’s local paper, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, recently featured a piece about a class called “Not Your Bubbe’s Cooking…But Close!” an initiative taken by the United Jewish Federation Women. The class serves two very important functions: teaching young Jewish women to cook traditional Jewish foods, and benefiting the Squirrel Hill Food Pantry. Each class member pays an $8 fee that goes directly to the pantry, which has a budget of $235,000. Sadly, living in the city has shown me how great a homelessness problem there is in the area, and more donations and assistance in securing funds are needed.

While the class is benefiting a good cause, it is also doing the mitzvah (good deed) of passing Jewish traditions on to the next generation. “We had young women who were looking to learn traditional ways of cooking Jewish foods and, at the same time, to have a social experience and meet new people,” says Federation director Samantha Rothaus. She devised the program along with Jennifer Jones, the young adult director.

More From Scientific American

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Once again, the Scientific American website has has some thought-provoking articles – this time a six-part series on food. The first, on heirloom tomatoes, ignores a few issues, such as the value of preserving diversity in crops, but makes a few interesting points as well. The second is on test-tube grown meat. How many vegetarians would eat “meat” if it didn’t require killing animals? We might find ourselves confronting this question sooner than we think. Today’s, the third, compares the nutritional value of cooked and raw vegetables.  Not so surprisingly, it supports what I’ve always believed: We should be eating both.

Jewish Farming Heroes in the JTA

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Check out the great new press in the Jewish Telegraphic Agency on a new breed of Jewish farmers.  “Farming the land, Torah in Hand“  explains how our friends at Adamah, Jewish Farm School, Kayam and others are more than just farmers who happen to be Jewish, but are actually farming Jewishly. Click here to check it out.

One correction to the article: Kilayim is incorrectly translated as ‘holding back’ – a better translation would be ‘mixtures’ or ‘mixed species.’