July 11th, 2017
As Jewish Outdoor, Food, Farming & Environmental Education (JOFEE) continues to grow and thrive around the country, more individuals are gaining the skills to create and deliver JOFEE programs infused with rich meaning and learning. And with an estimated hundreds of thousands of participants now engaging in JOFEE annually, there is a need for even more talented leaders and educators in the field.
To meet this demand, the year-long JOFEE Fellowship run by Hazon develops a cadre of outstanding educators through professional placements at host institutions, along with intensive training, mentorship, and support from leading educators and other professionals. The first cohort of 17 JOFEE Fellows completed their year at the end of spring, working at 16 organizations and creating over 500 JOFEE programs in their communities. Throughout the year, Fellows developed deep relationships with each other and with mentors, culminating in a closing seminar at Pearlstone Center outside Baltimore, MD. Enjoy some of the Fellows’ video and presentation recaps of their year.
The JOFEE Fellowship is an invaluable experience that stewarded me into professionalism and leadership. JOFEE has given me the tools, resources and connections to help me become the confident and passionate leader that I always knew was possible but did not have the platform for which to share my gifts. I am forever grateful for the investment made in me–in each of us fellows–as quality outdoor Jewish educators, community builders and true leaders.
Just a sampling of some of the programs created by Fellows include “Havdallah & Moon Celebration at the Farm,” “Israel Hike & Bike Trip for Young Professionals,” “Avodat Lev (morning prayers) and Jewish text study at San Quentin Prison,” and over 20 Sukkot-related programs and Tu Bishvat seders for youth, teens, young adults, and families. Many Fellows from Cohort 1 still work in JOFEE, continuing to create programming and often times taking on greater leadership roles within their organizations.
Earth-based Judaism and Jewish Environmentalism are topics I have been curious about for years, but it wasn’t until I participated in the JOFEE Fellowship that I truly understood the impact these experiences can have. I feel truly lucky to have been given a year to dive so deeply into this world and learn as much as I possibly can along the way. I view myself, my community, and my world differently because of the experiences I have had as a JOFEE Fellow.
Cohort 2 of the JOFEE Fellowship is underway now. Already there’s been new programs, such as Passover in the Desert Youth Seders, Shavuot Farm Festival, Jewish Farm-based Education Professional Development Workshop for Preschool teachers, and Natural Torah Art Explorah & Havdalah Besamim Table Gardening for Seniors, among others.
The Fellows continue to help people dive into Jewish tradition steeped in deep cultural and spiritual connection with the earth, with place, with human communities and the surrounding ecosystems, with food, and with each other.
The application for future Fellows is available here, and the application for future host organizations is available here. Registration also is open for the 2nd Annual JOFEE Network Gathering: September 14-17 at Pearlstone Center.