Adamah Connects Jewish Community to Farming, Food, and the Environment

by Marissa Sheldon, MPH

Part of the Food Policy Community Spotlight Series

Name: Adamah

Mission: To cultivate vibrant Jewish life in deep connection with the earth.

What They Do: Adamah, which means “ground” or “earth” in Hebrew, is the largest Jewish environmental organization in North America, with headquarters near Baltimore, Maryland. A result of the merger of nonprofits Hazon and Pearlstone in 2023, Adamah promotes connections between Jewish life and nature through immersive retreats, farm fellowships, farm apprenticeships, education, summer camp, climate action, and leadership development.

  • Immersive retreats, which take place at either the Pearlstone campus near Baltimore, Maryland, or the Isabella Freedman Retreat Center in the Connecticut Berkshires, may celebrate Jewish holidays including  Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot, or provide educational farming experiences for families and older adults. All retreats include farm-to-table kosher meals, Jewish learning and spiritual practices, and community-building. All are welcome to participate in the retreats, regardless of religious background. 
  • The Farm Fellowship is a three-month program that teaches adults in their 20s and 30s about organic agriculture, farm-to-table living, Jewish learning, community building, social justice, and spiritual practice. People of all cultural and religious backgrounds are welcome to participate.
  • A paid, six-month Farm Apprenticeship is also available for current farmers to enhance their agricultural training while participating in Adamah programming. Farmers of all cultural and religious backgrounds are welcome to participate.
  • Teva (Hebrew for “nature”) Day School Programs are offered to fifth and sixth grade student groups from Jewish day schools, Hebrew schools, camps, and youth groups. Over four days, students learn about Jewish traditions and their connection to the environment, gratitude for nature, awareness, and responsibility. 
  • Summer Adventure Camp is offered to students entering first through twelfth grades, with an overnight option for fourth graders and up. During their camp experience, children learn to connect with nature by swimming in the creek, hiking the forest, working on the farm, exploring, and playing games. Students of all cultural and religious backgrounds are welcome to participate.
  • The Jewish Youth Climate Movement is a nationwide effort led by Jewish Gen-Z youth towards climate justice in order to improve sustainability and equity worldwide. 
  • The Jewish Climate Leadership Coalition is a group of Jewish community organizations working together to take action against climate change. 
  • Local programming is also available through Adamah’s Community Impact Hubs in Atlanta, Detroit, New York, and Southern California, in addition to the Baltimore/Pearlstone campus, and includes Farm and Forest School, training programs for educators and camp counselors, and a farm volunteer trip to Israel.  

Latest project/campaign: On April 7, 2024, Adamah NY and partners hosted the Jewish Climate Summit at Central Synagogue in New York City. Adamah led two breakout sessions, one with elected officials and Adamah NY Director Shahar Sadeh, and the second with Liana Rothman, Director of Youth Empowerment at Adamah.

  • Decarbonizing NYC: A Dialogue Between the Jewish Community and Elected Officials:  This session featured local elected officials from New York City discussing the city’s ambitious commitment to leading the world in decarbonization. The speakers explored the roles that the Jewish community could potentially play in advancing this effort and highlighted the fact that there is much to do in this area. Featured speakers included:
    • Council Member Julie Menin – District 5 and Central Synagogue Member
    • Council Member Eric Dinowitz – District 11, Chair of the Jewish Caucus
    • Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine
    • Moderator: Dr. Shahar Sadeh – Adamah NY
  • Navigating Climate Anxiety and Building Resilience: Turning to Judaism for Wisdom: This session featured a special focus on intergenerational perspectives, with leaders from the Jewish Climate Action Network (JCAN) and Adamah’s Jewish Youth Climate Movement (JYCM). Participants engaged in thought-provoking activities about taking individual and collective action, and learned what Jewish wisdom has to teach us about building resilience and responding to the climate crisis. 

Additionally, on March 18, Adamah hosted a virtual food summit discussing the environmental impact of food choices made by Jewish institutions within New York. 

Major Funding Sources: Major support from UJA-Federation of NY, The Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore, and many major national Jewish Foundations including the Jim Joseph Foundation, The William Davidson Foundation, and the Schusterman Philanthropies.

Profit/nonprofit: Nonprofit

Annual Budget: $15 million

Interesting fact about how they are working to positively affect the food system: Adamah believes “that bringing awareness to our food can generate profound connections and healing – to ourselves, our communities, and our planet. As Jews, we bless our food. We need to infuse the gratitude inherent in those blessings into our food choices, ensuring they reflect that care and concern for the planet, the people and animals involved in getting that food to our table.”

5425 Mt. Gilead Rd
Reisterstown, MD 21136

Core Programs: Immersive retreats, Adamah Farm Fellowship, Teva day school program, Adventure Camp, Jewish Youth Climate Movement, Adamah on Campus, Jewish Climate Leadership Coalition

Number of staff: 120

Number of volunteers: 500

Areas served: Atlanta, Baltimore, Connecticut, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, San Diego 

Year Started: Adamah was officially established in 2023 but its history dates back to 1893. 

CEO: Jakir Manela

Contact Information: Email: | Phone: 212.644.2332


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