Spotlight On: Hazon’s (Jewish) Bike Rides

January is Healthy Living Month here at Repair the World. Stop by all month long for interviews with our favorite health-focused organizations, inspiring stories, and tips to change your life while changing the world.

Are you a huge bike fan? The kind of person who walks around with a semi-permanent case of helmet hair and feels most comfortable experiencing the world on two-wheels? If so, let us introduce Hazon – a Jewish environmental organization that works to build a healthier and more sustainable Jewish community.

Hazon believes that Jewish tradition has lots of wisdom to share about how people interact with the planet and treat their bodies. They live out these values, and help others do the same, with a variety of great programs, but it all started with bike rides. Since 2001, more than 2,000 have joined Hazon on a bike ride in New York, California, Israel, or elsewhere. The riders raise money for important environmental causes, get invigorated through exercise, learn inspiring Jewish texts, and have a fantastic time along the way.
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Repair Interview: Amie Hamlin from the New York Coalition for Healthy School Food

January is Healthy Living Month here at Repair the World. Stop by all month long for interviews with our favorite health-focused organizations, inspiring stories, and tips to change your life while changing the world.

Walk down the lunch line at an average public school today and you will find plenty to eat – unfortunately, many of the options, especially for the “protein” component, are not particularly healthy. But thanks to organizations like the New York Coalition for Healthy School Food, that is starting to change.

Since 2004, the Coalition has worked to foster healthier school food options for students in New York State and across the country. Their Executive Director, Amie Hamlin, recently talked with Repair the World about how she ended up becoming a champion of healthy school eating, the importance of offering plant-based foods at schools, and the country’s first-ever vegetarian public school.

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Ritual, Repaired.

By Repair the World Fellow Amalia Mark

As a fellow with Repair the World, I understand that communities must organize within, and systemic change can only occur from an outgrowth of community members seeking and maintaining change. Yet, I struggle with this idea as someone who believes deeply in the presence of women’s inclusion and leadership within Orthodox Judaism. I am caught up in a constant conflict: it is not my place in non-receptive communities to push forward an agenda of women’s involvement and equality. On the other hand, I cannot stand idly by while women are divorced from commonplace Jewish ritual that men are given ownership over in most Orthodox settings.

Much of my life has been spent in a synagogue. I invite you to walk with me through an average Shabbat morning at my family’s orthodox synagogue.

This is the community I was raised in and the walls I have lived behind.
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Reflection & MLK Day

By Repair the World Fellow Emily Benoit

On Martin Luther King (MLK) days in previous years I spent my time participating in service projects with local organizations to build community parks, work in soup kitchens, and do direct service.

However, working with Repair The World (RTW) and on the Civic Works Community Lot Team, I experienced my first reflective MLK day. During this time, my team and I discussed our experiences with the Civil Rights Movement and reflected on the meaning and impact of our direct service work. Together, we viewed “Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Movement, 1954-1985.”  The first portion of the PBS documentary explored the stories of Emmett Till and The Montgomery Bus Boycott as well as interviewed important Civil Rights individuals and organizers.
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MLK Day in Baltimore

By Repair the World Fellow Ariel Nathan

What a weekend! I began the weekend at Oheb Shalom, a Reform Jewish congregation in Park Heights (a fairly Jewish suburb of Baltimore City). Oheb Shalom has a thirteen-year partnership with Bethel AME Church (the AME stands for African Methodist Episcopal). Each year on MLK weekend Church members attend Kabbalat Shabbat services at Oheb Shalom and on Sunday Morning synagogue members attend Bethel’s morning mass. Friday night services were awesome! The two choirs joined together and sang, but the best part was when the Bethel choir sang on their own. Their voices were gorgeous, the musicians were excellent, everything about it was beautiful and it absolutely gave me chills.
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Reflections on Maghar: UMass Yahel Insight Program

Originally posted on the Yahel Israel Blog, January 22, 2014.

This post was written by Seth Engelbourg, one of the participants on the UMass HillelYahel Insight Program.  In January 2014, 13 students volunteered in the Druze village of Maghar, working with the local non-profit organization Horizons for the Future.

Over winter break, 13 students from the University of Massachusetts elected to participate in a service-learning program located in Maghar, Israel. This ten-day program was run as a partnership between three organizations: UMass Hillel, Yahel, and Horizons for the Future (Ofekim L’Atid).

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Drink Up with First Lady Michelle Obama

January is Healthy Living Month here at Repair the World. Stop by all month long for interviews with our favorite health-focused organizations, inspiring stories, and tips to change your life while changing the world.

Maybe you have heard of Michelle Obama’s (a.k.a. FLOTUS) Let’s Move! campaign, that is helping to raise a generation of healthier, more physically active kids? Maybe you’ve seen Beyonce’s official Let’s Move! dance video?

But do you know about Drink Up? If not, fill up your water bottles and get reading drinking. Drink Up is Mrs. Obama’s newest healthy living initiative that promotes more water consumption (not soda or fruit juices – clean pure water) as a way of getting energized and refreshed.

Are you a big fan of hydration? Slightly obsessed with your Klean Kanteen? Or just interested in adding more H2O to your diet? Join the Drink Up movement! Instagram a photo of yourself drinking a tall cold glass of the good stuff and tag #DrinkH20, and you’ll be added to the photo gallery of water drinkers across the country. Meanwhile, check out this great video that explains why you – and everyone – should drink up:

How To: Start a Healthy Living Club at Work or School

January is Healthy Living Month here at Repair the World. Stop by all month long for interviews with our favorite health-focused organizations, inspiring stories, and tips to change your life while changing the world.

With January quickly ticking by, maybe your resolutions to get or stay healthy in 2014 have fallen by the wayside. Fortunately, you have all the tools you need: your coworkers or classmates! Find a few likeminded people at work or school and start a DIY Healthy Living Club.

Together, you’ll motivate yourselves and one another to keep up with your healthy living resolutions and begin good habits now – before Passover’s matzo ball and brisket-fest kicks into high gear. Here’s how:

Start a Weekly Yoga Club. Have a coworker or classmate who is a budding yogi? Enlist them in leading your group in a weekly, 30 minute yoga class at the beginning of the day, at lunchtime, or before everyone goes home. If you have the group but need a teacher, seek out a yoga student who is training for his or her teaching certification. They need to rack up instruction hours and will likely be willing to lead you for cheap or even free.

Schedule Walking Meet Ups. Spending all day at your desk or in classes is ironically exhausting, and not great for your overall health. Pick a time to meet up with your coworkers or classmates for a 30 minute walk around the neighborhood or quad. The sunshine and fresh air will make everyone more productive.

Host a Healthy Lunch Potluck. Once a week, schedule a healthy lunch potluck where everyone brings something wholesome and nutritious to share for lunch. Set ground rules in advance with the group – like no refined white flour or sugar, or all vegetarian, or whatever makes sense for your group.

Hold Water Cooler Contests. Help encourage water drinking at the office by holding a contest. Hang a chart near the water cooler with everyone’s name on it and give everyone a reusable water bottle. Have them put a check by their name every time they fill up their water bottle. The person with the most checks at the end of the week wins a prize – and the hydration admiration of their peers.

Plan a Weekend Excursion. If you really like your coworkers or classmates, schedule a hike or basketball game for the weekend. Aside from being fun, it will be the talk of Monday morning.

What are your healthy living tips for the office or at school? Let us know in the comments or by tweeting @repairtheworld.