Cycling for a Healthier Planet

Photo courtesy Beantown Jewish Gardens
Photo courtesy Beantown Jewish Gardens

Cycling for a Healthier Planet:
The 2015 Hazon New York Ride & Retreat Grantees

By Jessie Katz

Fifteen years ago, cyclists from across the nation began fundraising for the Hazon New York Ride & Retreat. To date, Hazon has raised over $2.1 million in proceeds to support healthier and sustainable Jewish communities. Nearly $650,000 of these proceeds have been distributed to over 75 organizations in the United States and Israel through a mini-grant program designed to provide seed funding to sustainability projects at non-profit institutions.

This past Labor Day Weekend, the following organizations sent a team of cyclists to participate in the Hazon New York Ride & Retreat. Each team raised at least $2,500, cycled over 100 miles, and will receive a grant of at least $1,000.

The 2015 New York Ride & Retreat grantees and projects:

JCC Manhattan: Engaging constituents in environmental education and action through screenings of environmental films, such as “Racing to Zero,” and panel discussions from experts on topics such as the policies of OneNY Zero Waste Goals.

PresenTense: Creating a valuable learning and cohort-building experience for the PresenTense New York Fellows that will go on to launch ventures that impact thousands of others in the Jewish Community across a range of issues including sustainability and the environment. The New York Fellowship is a laboratory for experimentation, and has supported innovative environmentally-conscious organizations such as Yiddish Farm and PiperWai.

Jewish Community Council Washington Heights: Helping local residents to maintain an adequate level of nutrition through their Anti-Poverty Food and Nutrition Program, as well as providing entitlement counseling, the delivery of weekend and holiday meals to the home bound, and emergency food vouchers.

Congregation B’nai Jeshurun: Sealing windows to reduce energy consumption in their Upper West Side synagogue.

Kehilat Hadar: Hosting a Shabbat Lunch & Learn, featuring egalitarian davening on Shabbat morning, followed by a learning session exploring the relevance and implications of the way Jewish tradition finds ways to highlight appreciation for and care of the natural world.

Lab/Shul: Bringing awareness to the issues of climate change, food justice, and Jewish responsibility to care for the environment with a Tu B’Shvat themed Sabbath Queen “Fruit Feast.”

Romemu: Launching a compost project that ensures the use of compostable materials for weekly Kiddush, provides direction and education to its community about composting, and allocates staff time dedicated to the execution and success of the project.

Yiddish Farm: Greening buildings used for housing and programming on their 225-acre organic farm in upstate New York through the insulation and the installment of highly efficient central air systems.

For more information about bringing a team of people from your organization to the 2016 New York Ride & Retreat, please visit www.hazon.org/nyride. For more information about Hazon programs in your community, please contact Jessie Katz at outreach@hazon.org.

Jessie Katz is the Director of Outreach and outgoing Director of the New York Ride & Retreat for Hazon.