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Jewish Journal

Hazon and Isabella Freedman center merging

by Chavie Lieber, JTA

December 3, 2012 | 11:24 am

The Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center and Hazon are merging.

The New York-based nonprofits made the announcement Monday after discussing the merger since the beginning of the year. The new company will be called Hazon.

David Weisberg, the executive director of Isabella Freedman, will be the merged organization’s new CEO and Hazon founder Nigel Savage will serve as president.

Weisberg said the groups are joining forces to reach a broader audience. Both work on a national platform to impact the Jewish food and environmental movements.

“Hazon has had a huge impact on people's lives, has been at the forefront of reconnecting American Jews with the natural world, but has lacked its own physical base," Weisberg said in a news release. "The merger is intended to bring more people to the existing Freedman site, and to enable us together to have a greater impact across the country.

“We're excited that the merged entity will have a wide range of programs, great staff and volunteers in California, Colorado and elsewhere, and the opportunity to grow strongly in the future."

Hazon will have headquarters in Falls Village, Conn., and New York, along with the offices in Colorado and California. The Freedman center, which is part of the UJA-Federation of New York, will keep its name and be a sub-brand.

Other sub-brands will be Adamah, a farming program; the spiritual-based retreats Elat Chayyim; the Jew and the Carrot food blog; the Jewish Greening Fellowship; Makom Hadash, a support group; the Shmita Project, a joint venture of Hazon and the Jewish Farm School; Siach, an international Jewry program; and Teva, an environmental education program.

Savage said the merger reflects a growing interest in the food and the environment within the Jewish community, and the merger will aim to achieve a more “sustainable world.”

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