Scholar-in-Residence Offerings

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What Will We Eat in the Seventh Year? Long-term Planning for Jewish Communal Life


5782 is Shmitah, a year of agricultural and economic remission. Where do you see your community in 5789? 5796? 5803? Shmitah is more than just an obscure ancient farming practice, it is a lofty goal toward which a society seeking to implement it must be consciously working towards. By exploring the implied values of Shmitah, rather than its practical application, Justin will help guide through an understanding of Shmitah as a roadmap to achieving long-term goals both as individuals and for institutions. 


Building Foundations: The Work of Yesod Farm+Kitchen

Justin is a co-founder and scholar-in-residence at Yesod Farm+Kitchen, a small regenerative farm in Western NC. Yesod Farm+Kitchen seeks collective liberation with the land through Jewish agriculture, mutual aid, and growing relationships across difference. We steward 16 acres of Tsalaguwetiyi (Cherokee) and Catawba homelands, 25 minutes from Asheville, NC. We embody Jewish ancestral wisdom by offering this land as a resource for collective nourishment and safety for those most impacted by systems of harm, namely BIPOC, LGBTQIA+ folks, and justice seekers. Yesod offers free and sliding scale retreat space, experiential education at the intersections of Judaism and agriculture, and free produce to people experiencing food insecurity, in partnership with Root Cause Farm. Invite Justin to share more about the work we do at Yesod Farm+Kitchen and how the deeper meaning of the growing Jewish farming movement.

Finding Soul in Soil - A Journey from Rabbi to Farmer


While living a reckless and adventurous young adulthood, Justin had a series of life-altering events which led him to eventually enroll in rabbinical school having every intention of never working in a synagogue. As the saying goes: People plan, God laughs. After being ordained in 2011 and serving synagogues in Bangor, ME and Asheville, NC, Justin’s life took another circuitous turn which led him to leave the rabbinate and Torah observant life to become a full time farmer and secular teacher of Jewish wisdom. Through the lens of Midrash, Kabbalah, and personal storytelling, Justin will share his life journey and the lessons learned on the path to finding a new relationship with self and the creation.


Cycles within Cycles: The Mechanics of the Jewish Calendar


The calendar is more than a way of keeping track of time, it is a canvas over which we write the story of the cycles of our lives. Taking a deep dive into the multifaceted aspects of ancestral Jewish time-keeping, Justin will both illuminate the wisdom and beauty of the Jewish calendar and enter into an exploration of how the cycles which make up the Jewish year offer us containers in which to build meaning in our lives as individuals and communities. A wonderful program to couple with an upcoming or concurrent holiday, or any time of year.


Agricultural Wisdom of the Festivals


The Pilgrimage Festivals of the Jewish year - Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot - all have their origins in celebrating harvests. Through understanding their agricultural roots, communities can explore how to find deep meaning in these ancient practices that have evolved over many centuries. This program is perfect to add extra meaning in advance of, or during, your community’s celebration of the Jewish Pilgrimage Festivals.


Let All Who Are Hungry Come and Eat: Establishing a Jewish Food Ethic

Inspired by a deep look at Torah economics and the agricultural foundation of ancient Israelite society, this program explores the basics of ancestral Jewish agricultural wisdom and how it is integrated into Jewish systems of mutual aid and communal support. Looking at the practices of our ancient ancestors, Justin will help your community explore unique ways to adapt these principles and share in the expressed values inherent in these ancient economic and agricultural principles.