At Farm Education Day and Sustainable Food Fest

Despite periodic torrential rain, Matthaei Botanical Gardens was a beautiful place to be on June 14 for the Farm Education and Sustainable Food Fest. Marcy Epstein, Carol Lessure and Idelle Hammond-Sass talked to many people at the AARC table.

Despite periodic torrential rain, Matthaei Botanical Gardens was a beautiful place to be on June 14 for the Farm Education and Sustainable Food Fest. Marcy Epstein, Carol Lessure and Idelle Hammond-Sass talked to many people at the AARC table.

 

Blair Nosan from Hazon Detroit taught 40 people how to make sauerkraut.

Blair Nosan from Hazon Detroit taught 40 people how to make sauerkraut.

Massaging the salt into the cabbage

Massage salt into the cabbage

Add flavors

Add flavors

Pack into jar.

Pack into jar.

 

There you have it.

There you have it. “Food Fest Sauerkraut June 14 2015”

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Learning where the food comes from.

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Challah Rising irresistible samples!

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Oh the flavors of local food!

Local food, in so many flavors!

Delicious.

 

 

 

 

This Sunday, what an opportunity!

This Sunday, June 14, Matthaei Botanical Gardens is the place to be for the Farm Education Day and Sustainable Food Fest. There is really terrific programing and incredible food planned. Two of the things I am most excited about are the connections the planners have made with young Jewish social justice activists who are living in Detroit.

Blair Nosan (right) and Chava Knox at work at Eden Gardens.

Blair Nosan (right) and Chava Knox at work at Eden Gardens.

Did you know that Hazon, one of the most creative, inspirational Jewish social justice organizations, is opening its Detroit branch this month? You can meet Detroit Hazon’s lead organizer, Blair Nosan,this Sunday at 11:15 for the workshop “Bread from the Earth: Jewish Practice and Sustainability.” The workshop will be co-led by Sue Salinger, the sister of AARC member Carole Kaplan. This is an opportunity not to be missed.

In addition, Detroit Jews for Justice is leading a workshop at 10:15, Mayim Hayyim: A Jewish Perspective on the Detroit Water Shut-offs with AJ Aaron. AJ was a Repair the World fellow last year.

AJ Aaron

AJ Aaron

If you need any inspiration over the next few days, read those links about the work Blair and AJ are involved in. And see you Sunday, let’s get inspired together!

Is there a new Jewish back to the land movement?

green-things-logo-1Is there a new Jewish back to the land movement? Let’s talk about it together on June 14th when we gather at Matthaei Botanical Gardens for the Farm Education and Sustainability Food Fest and take a tour of Green Things Farm. Certainly Nate Lada, who with his wife Jill Sweetman are the owners and operators of Green Things Farm, sees a connection between his Hebrew Day School education and his commitment to sustainable agriculture. When he was a guest speaker at a UM Hillel Tu B’Shvat seder in 2012, Nate talked about the importance of agriculture and respecting the Earth as central to the Jewish tradition. Twentysomething graduates of the UM where they both studied Environmental Science, Nate and Jill have taken advantage of several opportunities created by longtime Ann Arbor environmental activists such as the Ann Arbor greenbelt program, a thirty year investment voted on in 2003. With the goal of starting a family farm, Nate and Jill spent two years (2011-2012) as part of the first cohort at Jeff McCabe and colleagues’ Tilian Farm Incubator Program. There Nate and Jill learned many of the basics of the business of farming while taking advantage of the program’s land, equipment, farming mentors, and community support. The land they bought to start their own farm, on Nixon near Warren about 5 miles north of downtown, was also part of the greenbelt program, in which the city of Ann Arbor bought development rights on the properties, making the land affordable for farming. [Read more…]

Food/Land/Justice in the Washtenaw Jewish News

Here are the five articles from the Washtenaw Jewish News about our Food, Land, & Justice activities in 2014/2015, the Shmita year.

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Civil Disobedience at Stewart Immigrant Detention Center

By Rebecca Kanner

“Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

rebecca at SDC

Anton Flores, Jason McGaughey, Kevin Caron, Maureen Fitzsimons, and Rebecca Kanner were arrested on Saturday, November 22, 2014 at the gates of the Stewart Detention Center

On Saturday, November 22, 2014, I participated in non-violent civil disobedience at Stewart Detention Center, crossing the line onto Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) property to call for the institution’s closure. When participating in civil disobedience, I am practicing a lesson that I learned many years ago in my ninth grade civics class: that sometimes breaking the law is a viable action by concerned people to protect our democracy.

Expressing my concern, I walked across that line to shine a light on a facility that I have only learned about over the last several years. I attended my first vigil at Stewart Detention Center in 2010; I returned again in 2011 and my third time was this past November. Each time was an incredibly moving experience. I was touched to hear stories from family members and friends about those who were detained in the facility. I heard about the horrible conditions inside and the tragic situations of those men locked up. Hearing these voices moved me to act and with my action express solidarity with the immigrants imprisoned at the detention center.

The addition of Emma Lazarus’ 1883 poem, The New Colossus, to the Statue of Liberty in 1903 turned what was an icon of freedom into the Mother of Exiles, the “unofficial greeter of incoming immigrants” (John T. Cunningham). There have been times when our country was kinder to immigrants. Three of my four grandparents were immigrants, coming to this country as young children in the early years of the 20th century. They left the old country and the pogroms of Eastern Europe for a better life. My mother’s mother, Gramma Goldie, never did become a citizen and most of her life in the U.S., she was undocumented, though it was not talked about. But she was treated much differently than we treat immigrants today. She lived her life, raising my mother as a single parent, working, paying taxes, and collecting social security in her retirement. That was then and this is now. Now the immigration system is much changed. Now our country is much harsher, much meaner to the immigrant, to the stranger. [Read more…]

How an AARC Member Helped Strike a Blow against Discrimination

by Jonathan Cohn

Women who are pregnant now have stronger protection against workplace discrimination, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court–and a member of the AARC who argued before the Court late last year.

On March 25, the Court issued its decision in Young v. United Parcel Service,  a case in which a pregnant woman (Young) claimed her employer (UPS) would not offer her the same kind of on-the-job accommodations it offered other employees with medical conditions. Young prevailed, winning the right to sue UPS under a law called the “Pregnancy Discrimination Act.”

Young’s lawyer was none other than Sam Bagenstos, who has been a member of the AARC since 2011. Sam, the Frank G. Millard Professor of Law at the University of Michigan, is a nationally recognized expert on constitutional, civil rights, and employment law. A graduate of the University of North Carolina and Harvard Law School, he has worked at the Justice Department and been a clerk to Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. This was his third time appearing as an advocate before the nation’s highest court — and the second time that his client prevailed.

In academic and legal circles, Sam is probably best known for his work on laws about disability and discrimination. And it’s that expertise he brought to bear in the Young case, which called upon the Justices to parse the meaning of a 1978 law and what Congress had in mind at the time of enactment. By a 6-to-3 majority, with two conservatives joining the Court’s liberals, the Justices ruled that Congress wanted to make sure employers treated pregnancy no different than other medical conditions.

Sam Bagenstos

Sam (blue tie) outside the Court after the argument.

“The Court made clear that employers may not refuse to accommodate pregnant workers based on considerations of cost or convenience when they accommodate other workers,” Sam said. “The Court recognized that a ruling for UPS would have thwarted Congress’s intent in passing the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. This decision is a big step forward towards enforcing the principle that a woman shouldn’t have to choose between her pregnancy and her job.”

AARC members who don’t recognize Sam from his presence at congregation activities may know some of his family members — including his children, Harry and Leila, as well as his wife, AARC Board Chairperson Margo Schlanger.

Margo also happens to be a Michigan law professor and former Ginsburg clerk. No, they didn’t meet while clerking. But if you want the actual backstory, you’ll have to ask them.

By the way, you can listen to Sam delivering his oral argument at the Supreme Court here.

Behind the Kitchen Door

611taCpxXoLOn  Sunday April 12 you can join a group of Jewish social justice activists who will visit the Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC) in Detroit to learn about the often invisible problems of restaurant workers. Many of those workers—often with children—qualify for food stamps and live a paycheck away from homelessness. Discrimination, wage theft, and abusive working conditions are common. The deadline to register for this event is April 6, see the bottom of this post for more details.

Founded in 2008, ROC-Michigan is dedicated to winning improved working conditions and opportunities for advancement for Southeast Michigan’s 134,000 restaurant workers. ROC-Michigan is an independent affiliate of ROC United, a national organization of over 10,000 restaurant workers.  ROC was originally founded in New York City by a group of restaurant workers who had formerly worked at the World Trade Center and were displaced by the 9-11 tragedy.

In her 2013 book Behind the Kitchen Door, ROC co-founder Saru Jayaraman writes, “Sustainability is about contributing to a society that everybody benefits from, not just going organic because you don’t want to die from cancer or have a difficult pregnancy. What is a sustainable restaurant? It’s one in which as the restaurant grows, the people grow with it.”

This program will feature a vegetarian, kosher-style Cajun/ Soul fusion lunch at ROC’s COLORS Restaurant. Following the meal we will learn about issues faced by restaurant workers from a panel including COLORS staff. Cost of the meal is $18 per person. Any additional donations are tax-deductible and go to support ROC. To reserve a spot, make a check out to “ROC-MI,” indicate # of attendees, and mail to the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue, 1457 Griswold St, Detroit, MI 48226. Deadline is April 6th. Reconstructionist Congregation is co-sponsoring this joint social justice program along with six other area Jewish groups. Carpooling is encouraged! For questions or more information contact Steve Merritt at stevemerritt2@gmail.com.

Beit Sefer Tzedakah Project

By Rebecca Ball

Photos by Sara Goldshlack

Beit Sefer

Being new to the AARC Beit Sefer, and to attending a Beit Sefer in general, my family and I weren’t necessarily sure what to expect this year. We have not been disappointed! The learning and camaraderie and overall fun that my sons have experienced has been so positive. I am extremely impressed by all the thought and work that has been put into the curriculum and activities the students are enjoying.

One activity in particular that has been quite rewarding has been the school-wide Tzedakah Project. For this project, the students decorated their own tzedakah boxes to bring home. They earned money at home by doing chores and other tasks for their parents. The students discussed in class the things they did to earn the money, such as making dinner for the family or shoveling snow or cleaning their rooms. After several weeks of earning money, the students brought in their boxes and voted on the agency to which they would donate. They chose the Humane Society of Huron Valley, and were proud to discover that they had raised over $125 for the animals! Beit Sefer Tzed project

The school then had a volunteer from the Humane Society come to visit with an adoptable dog. She described to the students the programs and supplies towards which the students’ money would go. The children had the chance to pet the dog and learned about showing compassion towards animals. Many were even interested in learning how to volunteer at the facility. The authentic, real-world experience that this project provided helped our young people to live the experience of tzedakah rather than merely hearing about it. Giving tzedakah is a righteous act in Judaism, simple justice and possibly the most enlightened of all the commandments. Our Beit Sefer has beautifully illustrated this joyful obligation for our children.

Hand in Hand Jewish-Arab Education in Israel

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AARC is a co-sponsor of the visit to Ann Arbor of Lee Gordon, co-founder of Hand In Hand, Center for Jewish-Arab Education in Israel. He will be here March 20-22 for a series of open community events highlighting the work of these bilingual and multicultural Jewish-Arab schools. The weekend’s events will give you the opportunity to be a part of this diverse intercultural Ann Arbor gathering in support of a shared society in Israel.

Community members are invited to all events:

Friday, March 20, 7:30 PM: “Continuing Together, without Hate and without Fear” Guest sermon, Social Action Shabbat service. Temple Beth Emeth, 2309 Packard Street

Saturday, March 21, 8:00 PM: “Building a Shared Society Together: Multicultural Education and Peacemaking in Israel,” an interfaith, multicultural gathering. St. Clare of Assisi Episcopal Church/Temple Beth Emeth, 2309 Packard Street

Sunday, March 22, 4:00 PM: “Overcoming the Jewish-Arab Divide in Israel: Building a Model of Integrated Schools and Leadership,” hosted by Jewish Federation of Greater Ann Arbor. Jewish Community Center, 2939 Birch Hollow Drive

Please RSVP to handinhanda2@gmail.com indicating which event(s) you plan to attend.

Co-sponsors: Temple Beth Emeth, St. Clare of Assisi Episcopal Church, Jewish Federation of Greater Ann Arbor, Jewish Cultural Society, Beth Israel Congregation, Ann Arbor Reconstructionist Congregation, Chelsea First United Methodist Church, First Presbyterian Church of Ann Arbor, Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice, First Unitarian Universalist Association of Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Hillel.

 

Connecting Food & Faith

Thursday, Jan. 22, 7 pm
Panel Discussion at Ann Arbor District Library, downtown (343 South Fifth Avenue)
Multi-Purpose Room

Chuck Warpehoski, the Director of Ann Arbor’s Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice, will moderate a discussion among a variety of different faith perspectives, about how, and why, people of faith link what, and how, they eat to their values and beliefs.

Panelists will include:

  • Reverend Kristin Riegel, First Presbyterian Church of Ann Arbor
  • Cathy Muha, Mindful Eating Coalition leader, First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Ann Arbor
  • Carole Caplan, Jewish Alliance of Food, Land & Justice / Ann Arbor Reconstructionist Congregation
  • Mansoor Qureshi, President, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Michigan
  • Julie Ritter and Colleen Retherford, Jewel Heart Ann Arbor

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