Better Together – On Merger of Hazon, Jewish Retreat Center and Teva Learning Alliance
Source: The Jewish Daily Forward
This Forward editorial praises the brave step taken by three Jewish environmental groups in pooling their resources and merging into Jewish umbrella organization to forward the cause of Eco-Judaism.
"The recently announced merger between three Jewish environmental groups illustrates that it’s possible to find complementary reconfigurations that actually make sense. Hazon, begun in 2000, promotes sustainable food practices and policies, and is known for its adventurous bicycle rides and its community-supported agriculture (CSA) network. The Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, founded in 1893, has a 400-acre farm where it runs experiential educational programs. The Teva Learning Alliance has trained environmental educators since 1994. Combine them, and you have one larger organization that connects food, the environment and the outdoors under a Jewish umbrella. They will share a website and a data base (nevermind a farm), and jointly raise funds and seek grants….
It tooks months of work to reach this point, with each group willing to let go of single-handedly controlling destiny of the new group. The support from their funders was essential. In fact, just as the merger was announced, the Samuel Bronfman Foundation also announced the recipients of its “second stage” grants to innovative organizations that have moved past the start-up stage, and Hazon was one.
This is precisely the role that foundations, federations and others with power and influence in the Jewish community ought to embrace. There ought to be leaders who ask: Do we need this many organizations defending Israel? Can we rationalize the disparate ways in which the community promotes Jewish education? When is it time for a start-up to close or merge, and a mature institution to alter course or partner with another group?"