Some of the most common questions we hear:

Why are Pearlstone and Hazon hoping to merge?

After months of open dialogue, Pearlstone and Hazon leadership fundamentally share one mission: to lead a transformative movement weaving sustainability into the fabric of Jewish life, in order to create a healthier, more sustainable, and more equitable world for all- and we believe strongly that together we have much greater capacity and strength to achieve that mission. We share deeply held values, goals, and vision. We are operationally aligned as well, including our similar retreat centers, JOFEE programming, and sustainability initiatives. While each organization is already successful on its own, our collective strength as a combined entity will lead to even greater impact.

When will the merger happen?

Both the Hazon and Pearlstone boards voted in July 2021 to approve the intent to merge and install Jakir Manela as the new CEO effective August 1st. While the process to become legally merged is expected to take about a year, operational integration will begin later this summer.

What will be the name of the merged organization?

The national organization will be called Hazon and the headquarters will be at Pearlstone. The Pearlstone brand will continue to be the primary experience for participants coming to the Pearlstone Campus, as will the Isabella Freedman brand for everyone going to retreats there as well. The combined entity contains a cornucopia of outstanding brands in the JOFEE world: Adamah, Family Farm Camp, Farm & Forest School, the Hazon Seal of Sustainability, Jewish Youth Climate Movement, Teva, Tiyul Adventure Camp, and more. We will engage consultants in the months ahead to create an intentional branding strategy that maximizes the strength and synergy of our brands both individually and collectively.

Who and where is leadership?

The idea for this merger arose as Nigel Savage, Hazon’s founder and CEO, told the Hazon board in the summer of 2020 that he had chosen to transition out of his leadership role during the summer of 2021. Jakir Manela will serve as the new CEO of Hazon effective August 1st, based at Hazon's new headquarters at Pearlstone. Eve Wachhaus, Pearlstone's current Deputy Director, will become COO of Hazon in August as well and will assume management of all Pearlstone Campus operations. In the months to come, we will continue sharing news regarding the development of Hazon and Pearlstone's new leadership teams.

Will there be a new board? What happens to existing board members of Pearlstone and Hazon?

The new national board of directors will include equal representation and leadership from both organizations. A Pearlstone Advisory Board will be established to oversee local management and impact on the Pearlstone Campus, leading the local-national interface.

What programming will the new combined organization offer?

All current programming will continue to be offered by both organizations!
The Pearlstone Campus will continue to be home to many successful perennial programs including Tiyul Adventures, Farm & Forest School, TEVA, and Hebrew School on the Farm. Beloved annual immersive retreats such as Family Farm Camp and Jewish holiday celebrations will continue, as will eco-stewardship programs including the Permaculture Design Course and THRIVE. Isabella Freedman will continue to host impactful retreats for Jewish Holidays and various JOFEE network gatherings. Across the nation, Hazon will continue to support Adamah, Jewish Youth Climate Movement , the impactful Seal of Sustainability and Brit Hazon as well as Detroit programs Jewish Food Festival, Food Rescue, and Relief Garden Initiative

Who served on the merger negotiation team?

Pearlstone was represented by Jakir Manela, and Board Members Emile Bendit, Rachel Siegal and Becky Brenner.
Hazon was represented by Nigel Savage along with Board Members Marina Lewin, Brett Cohen and Daniella Hirschfeld

What does this mean for The Associated? For Baltimore?

The Associated and Pearlstone are strongly committed to maintaining a strong partnership towards the shared goal of building a thriving Baltimore Jewish community in deep connection with the broader world. Pearlstone’s local focus, deep communal impact, and operational excellence will continue as always. The Associated brand will continue to be co-branded with all Pearlstone activities. As the new headquarters for the global JOFEE movement, Baltimore will benefit from strengthened resource development, talent acquisition and retention, national fundraising, and exponential impact with young adults, youth and families, and the next generation of relevant and inspiring Judaism— all of which will also benefit The Associated and Jewish Baltimore.

What will the new organization do with two retreat centers?

We strongly believe that immersive retreats have the power to change lives, reinvigorate Jewish life, and build community. We also believe that our campus amenities, meeting spaces, farm-to-table meals and variety of lodging make our two settings the perfect locations for professional conferences, spiritual and faith-based retreats, weddings and life-cycle events for people of all backgrounds searching for a warm and welcoming venue. Just ask the thousands of individuals that Isabella Freedman and Pearlstone have welcomed over the years! Now with two retreat centers in our portfolio, we have more availability, more options, and more choices to offer over a wider geographic area. Two locations, one clear mission.

Pearlstone and Hazon lay and professional leadership

From back left: Emile Bendit, Nigel Savage, Marina Lewin; Rachel Siegal, Jakir Manela, Becky Brenner, Josh Fidler

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