- Where will I live?
- Do we have time off?
- What does “communal living” mean?
- What are the upcoming dates of the fellowship?
- Who is eligible for the Fellowship?
- How many fellows are chosen each season?
- What’s the Jewish Deal?
- What is Shabbat like at Urban Adamah?
- Do I need farming experience or Jewish knowledge?
- Where will I do my internship hours?
- Do I need my own car or bicycle to get around?
- What is my chance of being accepted into the fellowship?
- Can I receive college credit or master degree credit for doing Urban Adamah?
- Can I speak to an Urban Adamah Fellow from a prior season?
- What is the connection between Judaism and the Environment?
- What is the connection between Urban Adamah and the Adamah Fellowship at Isabella Freedman?
- What does it cost to participate in the Fellowship?
- What is the refund policy?
- What’s the Hazon Bike Ride and how is Urban Adamah involved?
Where will I live?
Fellows live in a communal house in Berkeley two blocks from the farm. Rooms are mostly doubles with some triples. Rent, food and utilities are covered by the Fellowship. Fellows are responsible for general house maintenance and cleanliness.
Do we have time off?
Urban Adamah is a very intense program. Hours are long and fellows are expected to be at all activities unless there is a health issue that prevents attendance. Fellows have four nights off per week. The weekly program ends in the late afternoon on Friday and starts again at either 1:00 on Sunday or Monday morning. Our morning spiritual practice begins each weekday morning at 7:00 and evening programs are scheduled until 9:00 pm three weeknights per week.
What does “communal living” mean?
Fellows live together in shared housing; they work together, learn together, and often spend Shabbat and holidays together. Living communally creates a myriad of rich opportunities for developing communication skills, appreciating differences, and resolving conflicts. Fellows are supported by the Urban Adamah staff through community-building exercises, regular community meetings and other programs.
The community house is vegetarian.
I’ve learned that my thoughts are worth sharing and voicing, and that expressing myself encourages others to express themselves. Living in community has given me a feeling of balance between my needs, which used to loom large in my daily approach and timeframe, and the needs of the community.
Anonymous, Fall 2011
What are the upcoming dates of the fellowship?
Summer 2013: June 9 – Aug 30
Fall 2013: Sept 8 – Nov 22
Fellows are expected to participate in the entire program. Exceptions are rarely granted.
Who is eligible for the Fellowship?
Anyone ages 21 – 31 at the start date of the fellowship may apply.
How many fellows are chosen each season?
Fellowship cohorts are made up of up to 14 individuals.
What’s the Jewish Deal?
At Urban Adamah we are interested in an expansive approach to Jewish tradition, one that opens and connects, and adds greater depth and meaning to our lives. Here, there are no Do’s or Don’ts, no Should’s or Shouldn’ts. There is no empty ritual, rote prayer, or confounding rules. There is no: “because its always been this way” or “because that’s what the authority says”.
At Urban Adamah, there is simply this: an invitation to take the ancient tools of our tradition and use them to better understand ourselves, our connection to each other and our power to make the world a better place. With this intention, we explore. We explore our holidays and rituals that are rooted in the agricultural and natural cycles. We explore texts that speak of an ancient relationship between human beings and the earth, that invite us to look inside, and that call on us to be agents of compassion in the world. We explore perspectives and practices – old and new – that are grounded in our tradition’s core values of kindess (chesed), justice (tzedek) and love (ahava), so that we may more fully manifest them in our lives.
We welcome individuals from all backgrounds and experiences. For some fellows, Urban Adamah will be their first exposure to Jewish tradition. Others may have been part of Jewish educational settings and communities their entire lives. The program can accommodate most types of Jewish observance.
I had little to no real meaningful connection to Judaism before coming to this program. It was the piece of the curriculum that I was least excited about and the piece I have probably taken the most away from. As someone who is just beginning their spiritual quest, I see how Judaism holds the access to many universal truths and am going to continue using it as a tool to help me live a more spiritually in-tuned life.
After growing up with Modern Orthodox Judaism as such an all-encompassing part of my life, I spent the past few years fighting my tradition. I was fighting authoritarian rules, soulless prayers, constricting and exclusive communities. The Judaism I experienced this summer was inspirational, and helped me find more ways that Jewish traditions can and will be a part of my life. I stopped fighting, and started to heal my relationship with this heritage of mine.
What is Shabbat like at Urban Adamah?
Shabbat is fellows’ time off. The workweek ends on Friday a few hours before sunset, and begins again on Sunday at 1:00 pm or on Monday at 7:00 am. Fellows are free to leave the program during this time, as they are during all periods of time off.
After an intense week of learning and growing, Shabbat is a wonderful experience of rest and rejuvenation. Fellows can choose to spend late Friday afternoons cooking, cleaning and planning Shabbat evening services (completely optional). Fellows often choose to open their Shabbat experiences to friends in the larger community. Together, we reflect on the week and sit down to a bountiful feast, much of it coming from our farm.
Do I need farming experience or Jewish knowledge?
You do not need any farming experience or Jewish knowledge to participate in the program. Fellows come from very wide range of backgrounds and experiences. We are looking for individuals who can participate most fully in the experience, are interested in using the tools of Jewish tradition to lead more intentional, connected and compassionate lives, and will most likely leverage the experience to make positive social change inside and outside the Jewish community.
Where will I do my internship hours?
Our internship partners change each season. During the first week of the fellowship, each partner organization makes a presentation to the fellows about their work and about the nature of their internship. Fellows then select which organization they would like to work with during their fellowship season. Our 2012 fellowship partners can be found here.
Do I need my own car or bicycle to get around?
Due to the distance between the fellow’s residence and internship locations, fellows need to bring some form of transportation to Urban Adamah. A car can be helpful but a bicycle or a scooter is completely sufficient. Decent quality bicycles can be purchased in East Bay for less than $200 once you arrive. Some internships necessitate the use of public transportation (bus or subway) if you don’t have your own transportation.
What is my chance of being accepted into the fellowship?
There is considerable demand for the Fellowship and we are unable to accept all qualified applicants. Applications will be considered in the order they are received. Since the application process takes a bit of time, we encourage you to apply as soon as you decide you are interested.
Can I receive college credit or master’s level credit for doing Urban Adamah?
Through our relationship with the Center for Jewish Studies at the Graduate Theology Union, Urban Adamah Fellows may receive either undergraduate or graduate level credit for their Urban Adamah experience. There is an additional charge of $1900 per class (3 units). To receive credit, Fellows are required to work on a separate independent project related to the work of Urban Adamah. Projects are supervised by a faculty member at the Center for Jewish Studies or UC Berkeley. The project must be completed within six weeks of the end of the Fellowship. To learn more please contact Rebecca at Rebecca(at)urbanadamah.org
Can I speak to an Urban Adamah Fellow from a prior season?
Yes, we’d be happy to put in you touch with one or more of our alumni. To get an updated list of names and contact information, please email kat (at) urbanadamah.org. Subject line should be: Requesting Alumni Contact Info.
What is the connection between Judaism and the Environment?
Jewish tradition is rich with connections to the natural world and a call to social justice. As humanity’s negative impact on the natural world grows with each passing year, our core values of ahava (love), tzedek (justice) and chessed (compassion) invite us to respond in new and meaningful ways. Ancient commandments like Bal Taschit (do not waste), Shmita (letting the land rest) and Tzaar Baalei Chayim (preventing cruelty to animals) are given new life in the context of current ecological degradation. Timeless practices like shabbat and kashrut invite renewed connection in an era when the energy we use and the food we eat have life and death consequences for people around the globe. The environmental challenges of our time also invite re-investigation into Jewish holidays and prayers, many of which are based on agricultural and seasonal rhythms. (To learn more about the connection between Judaism and the environment, please visit the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life website.)
The word adamah means earth. Contained within it is the word adam, which means human being. Earth and Earthling. Urban Adamah reminds us that we are made of the same stuff as mother earth. Soil, Sun, Water, Air, Metal – the five elements that comprise the earth, comprise the earthling.
What is the connection between Urban Adamah and the Adamah Fellowship at Isabella Freedman?
The programs are kindred spirits, yet there is no legal connection between them. Adam Berman, the Executive Director of Urban Adamah, founded Adamah at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in 2003. He also served as the program’s first director and currently sits on its Advisory Board. Much of the Urban Adamah curriculum was developed by Adam and other faculty members at Adamah between 2003 and 2008. Shamu Sadeh, the Director of Adamah in Connecticut, serves as a senior advisor to Urban Adamah.
What does it cost to participate in the Fellowship?
There is a non-refundable application fee of $36, which must be submitted by check or online with submission of your application. If you are accepted into the fellowship and decide to participate, this fee will be subtracted from your fellowship fee.
The fellowship fee for 2013 is $1295. (There is an additional $200 fee for the spring season. This covers the cost of the Hazon Bike Ride retreat). The fellowship fee covers housing, food, and educational expenses. Some scholarship funds are available for those who do not have the personal or family resources to pay the fellowship fee. The fellowship fee payment is due seven weeks prior to the start of the program. It is 50% refundable up to four weeks prior to the start of the program. If a participant withdraws from the program less than four weeks prior to the start date, the fellowship fee is not refundable.
There is also a $75 security deposit and $25, non-refundable, house cleaning fee that must be paid prior to the start of the fellowship. If cleaning costs at the end of the program do not exceed $25/person and there are no unreasonable damages to the property, your $75 security deposit will be fully refunded. Checks are mailed approximately one week after the end of the fellowship.
To understand more about the fellowship fee, please click here.
What is the Refund Policy?
Upon acceptance, you are asked to pay a $300 non-refundable deposit which is due within two weeks. We cannot reserve your place without this deposit. We will bill you for the balance of fee approximately eight weeks before the start of the fellowship. This balance is due approximately six weeks before the start date. If you cancel for any reason prior to six weeks before the start date of your fellowship, you will receive a full refund minus the $300 deposit and $36 application fee. If you cancel for any reason within six weeks of the start date of the fellowship, there is no refund.
What’s the Hazon Bike Ride and how is Urban Adamah involved?
All spring Urban Adamah fellows participate in the Hazon California Bike Ride. Fellows can either ride or participate as crew. As part of the ride, Fellows are asked to do their best to raise a minimum $900 each, and are supported by Urban Adamah staff in the process. Most of the money raised is given back to Urban Adamah and other amazing projects/organizations around the country. Fellows are required to pay the $200 registration fee for the ride/event which covers food and lodging during the four day adventure.
The bike ride includes a retreat weekend that brings hundreds of people from around the country together to celebrate, and explore issues of sustainability, environmental advocacy, and Jewish ritual and practice.
Hazon is the nation’s largest Jewish organization dedicated to raising environmental consciousness and inspiring action within the Jewish community. Learn more about Hazon and the California Ride.
The Hazon ride weekend was awesome. The ride was breathtaking. The fundraising, not nearly as hard as I thought it would be. And, I met inspired passionate people from around the country who care about things I care about. It was one of the highlights of the fellowship for sure.
Sophia Harris, Spring 2012