campaign to #SAVESADEH

Europe’s only Jewish community farm is under threat of eviction.  We have three weeks to save it.

HOW YOU CAN HELP!

Calls To Action that you can share with others: 

BACKGROUND

Sadeh was given a 10 year lease in March 2018 to run Skeet Hill House on the conditions that:1) We kept the house in the same condition they had received it

2) We met the JYF’s charitable objectives of providing for Jewish Youth

Sadeh has more than fulfilled our side of this bargain. 

Sadeh has invested £40,00 per year in major improvements since 2018.  We have turned the neglected house and grounds into a successful guesthouse, cross communal educational centre, and the only Jewish community farm in Europe.

Sadeh has built on the history of Skeet Hill House, which has provided Jewish youth education since the 40s. Sadeh has run land based sessions for thousands of Jewish young people.  We have planted 900 trees, celebrated Jewish festivals in nature, created Jewish outdoor educators and offered wellbeing to a wide section of the community. 

More significantly than this Sadeh has boldly said what Jewish young people already know – that their lives are tied up with the life of the planet, and that the future of Jewish Youth needs immediate action to tackle climate change. Sadeh has taken the key role in Jewish community climate action, updating what it means to work for and with Jewish Youth in the 21st century. 

Sadeh is unique as the only place in Europe for immersive, land based education in a Jewish context.  

The JYF say it themselves “The house and grounds are steeped in Jewish history and it is a true communal asset, catering for people across the Jewish spectrum.

Once it’s gone, it’s gone. Let’s keep this priceless community asset safe for future generations.

OUR ASK

Sadeh to stay at Skeet until the end of our lease (March 2028), as every indication was given that this would be the case. However, now that we have been made aware of the intention of JYF to sell the property we will, in the meantime, actively seek to buy the property at market value, either directly or with the support of a third party. This will allow both the JYF to achieve their goal of selling the property, and allow Sadeh to keep doing their vital work for the future of Jewish youth.

TESTIMONIALS

Talia and Sadeh Farm were wonderful to work with on the Yellow Candle Project. For the 2022 project we introduced a new Remembrance to Renewal Concept and Talia helped us to decide which flower would be best in the Yellow Candle tin and also tested the planting for us. Talia also gave us instructions for the community on how to plant their seeds and its been wonderful to see the community plant their seeds. We hope that the conversations continue for the 2023 project and that we can continue to work together on what is such an important project. From Maccabi GB
Candice
MACCABI GB
How to begin to lay my thoughts out about Sadeh? Not an easy task to condense in one paragraph, but I shall attempt to, nonetheless. I had the utmost privilege of volunteering and living at Sadeh for ten months. A period that was made even more intense due to it being peak Covid. The experience of being part of such a magical place is indescribable. A few short kilometres away from the hustle and bustle of central London is a field of dreams, a proving ground for greatness. A space that symbolises all that is good about Judaism. The power of change, the power of possibility, the power of dreaming, the power of caring passionately for the issues surrounding us, big, small, ecological, and social. Sadeh provides a location for the Jewish community in this country to prove that it is forward thinking and cares about more than our traditional areas of comfort and interest. To show ourselves and the outside world that we are growing, challenging and being challenged, all while being rooted in the natural environment. For Sadeh to be under threat of closure so soon in its history seems perverse and a stain on our collective conscience as a community.
Ronni
Sadeh alumni and land apprentice
Me and my family went to Sadeh farm in the summer of 2021, when I was 12 years old. After several lockdowns, and two years of being stuck in our own house, it was so amazing to be able to get out to the countryside. But, as a growing teenager, it felt awkward having so much open space. Do I run around like a 5 year old? Do I walk casually like a 20 year old? What do I do? But when I arrived, Sadeh was such an open and embracing place, that it didn’t matter. In the open space, and nature of Sadeh I didn’t feel like I had to be anyone I didn’t want to. In the nature and open spaces of Sadeh, I could be whoever I liked. Sadeh gave me enthusiasm for the outdoors. I would wake up early in the morning to walk in the fields and go for a swim, and again in the evening. Sadeh showed me what the outdoors is and how incredible and free it is. A year on, I’m barely ever at home. Always on some sort of adventure, whether it’s in a local park or a long drive away, planting something, or looking for unusual things outdoors. Sadeh gave me the open space where I could be myself and have a clear mind set. Sadeh empowers me to go into my teenage-hood feeling that I can be myself and embracing the wonder of the outdoors. It taught me how incredible the outdoors is, and how helpful it was for my mental health and my physical health. It helped me to look at the world in a positive way, and an open way, but also taught me the importance of the outdoors and what would happen if we lost that ; the mental and physical impact that it would have on young people, when they turn to the outdoors. You have your regular school and youth groups where you live, but Sadeh was so so different. I’m worried that if Sadeh closes, young people will lose that knowledge and amazing gift of the outdoors. If it wasn’t for Sadeh I would most likely be at home watching on screens and eating junk food, and the thing that Sadeh taught me and I carry with me every day, is of the brilliant outdoors - of it's wonders, and how good it is for us mentally and physically. Sadeh changed my mind-set and attitude, to my life, and is an important key to empower the minds of all the other youth that come to it.
Chani
Age 13
Dear Jewish Youth Fund Since 2019, I have hosted an annual queer, Jewish eco-art retreat Lady Cynthia's Lover at Sadeh, in partnership with Moishe House. This has seen over 120 young Jews coming together to get out of the cities, learn about nature and connect with one another. Many LGBT Jews feel a disparity between these two parts of their identities. Over the COVID lockdown, Sadeh provided virtual tours of the grounds and sent out seed-packs to the 40 attendees of the 2020 retreat on Zoom, providing a week of much-needed social support and structure to isolated young people, some of whom had been forced to move home to families who had been hostile towards their LGBT identities. The selling of Skeet Hill House and the uprooting of the community of Sadeh will directly remove a lifeline for many who go to the centre for retreat. It is the site where the ecological and creative voice of British Judaism is honed and shared from and its impact is international. This site must not be lost for the sake of short-term profit which could never match the value of Sadeh itself. Please act to maintain a place for Young LGBT Jews and Jewish artists in Kent. Yours Sincerely,
Dex
I loved being at Sadeh; from the moment I walked in through the large front door and was greeted by the friendly and welcoming visitors, staff and volunteers, to having bonfires late at night while singing traditional Jewish songs or going on walks with my friends where we explored the fabulous fields. Sadeh was a place where everyone could be themselves, meet new people and just do nothing, or swim in the on-site swimming pool, get shown round the amazing vegetable patches, and have Shabbat with the other families. I live somewhere where I don’t have the chance to meet other Jewish teenagers, but at Sadeh there were so many people my age I could talk to, a place where I felt I belonged. If Sadeh closes, I’m worried there won’t be a place with so much variety and activities, where nature and religion are linked, and everyone has a place and can do whatever they want.
Shira
age 13
Visiting Sadeh has been a uniquely inspirational experience for me as a poet, writer and human. Talia & the gang could not be more welcoming to members of any community. The working natural spaces they’ve opened up to us all show a blueprint for climate-friendly, culturally-rich regenerative relationships with the land – and as well as that, they soothe the heart. Everyone should have the chance to experience the joy and wisdom found at Sadeh Farm!
Colette
Writer and Poet
I'm writing with such deep sadness to learn that the only Jewish farm in Europe may soon be forced to shut down. I am alumni of the Adamah Felllowship, a premier Jewish environmental fellowship in the US. This transformative experience has inspired a truly extraordinary group of of young Jews to become leaders in a vast array of movements that are creating amongst the most profound and impactful tikkun for humanity and the earth including the movements of food justice and advocacy, regenerative farming, the environment, and most importantly, organizations teaching and inspiring others to do this work in a Jewish context. THIS is what Sadeh Farm does. THIS is the future of Judaism. They connect participants to land  - to nature - to this source that sustains us. They connect us to our ancient traditions and bring them to life through partnering Hashem and the natural world, to heal the world, ourselves, and our communities. Here (https://hazon.org/adamah/adamah-fellowship-2/) is where Sadeh Farm leadership was inspired. Sadeh Farm is doing quite similar work in the UK. I hope and pray that you reconsider selling the land and continue Sadeh Farm's lease until March of 2028. If you must sell it, please work out a deal to transfer the land to Sadeh.
Steven
I visited Sadeh in November 2021 for Lady Cynthia's Retreat. It was truly magical and restorative being at Sadeh – I could really feel the history of the place, with photos of the Beatles fundraising for (as it was then) Skeet Hill House on the walls up the stairs. It would be heartbreaking if Sadeh was taken out of the community – it is such a unique space, and in the current political climate we need Jewish community spaces more than ever, especially spaces like Sadeh which also provide a home for queer artists, like those who came to Lady Cynthia's. I loved helping out on the farm and making art in the beautiful house, looking through the library and enjoying the vegan food which was kindly prepared for us. It was especially restorative to use the pool – which for the evening was transformed (imaginatively) into an (unkosher) mikva – I felt cleansed by the experience and (finally) relaxed as I was at that point days away from submitting my PhD! It was really a healing place to visit and I would be devastated if that turned out to be my last experience at Sadeh.
Ellie
I am deeply saddened to hear about JYF’s plans to sell Skeet Hill House (Sadeh). I have wonderful memories of going on mini camps at Skeet as a young child with my family. As someone who grew up in an area with few Jews and as the only practicing Jewish family at my school, having periods to learn and socialise with other young Jews was invaluable for me. I can trace how these early experiences of being in a community in nature started my journey in deepening my Jewish identity through involvement in a youth movement, studying Judaism more formally at university and at yeshivot, and now working as a Jewish professional ad being an active member of my local shul, regularly leading services and giving drashot. Some memories that stick with me from being at Skeet: - learning birkat hamazon - looking up to older children who were allowed to be in the Lady Cynthia room with the ghost! - playing in the swimming pool with my sister - doing all sorts of learning sessions, including about the ecological importance of bats, led by my mum - learning to plait my hair - singing songs to the madrichim as part of the form bedtime routine - reading Harry Potter in the barn and the madrichim not being able to find me for two hours! Later I came back to Skeet for a silent meditation retreat when I was in my 20s. Although in honesty meditation turned out not to be my thing, being in such a peaceful, memory filled setting, surrounded by like-minded people was wonderful. I have been watching the work of Sadeh with interest for years and was actually planning to be in touch to arrange a staff retreat there for my current workplace in the coming months. I have also been encouraging friends who are looking for ways to reconnect with Judaism and nature to apply to be fellows there. It is so important that we have these opportunities available people- nature is such a powerful way to reconnect to community and faith, especially for people in my generation who often find denominations and shuls alienating, and are struggling to see a future for themselves and their families in a world that seems increasingly inhospitable to human life. I hope that Sadeh is given an opportunity to further embed itself in the Jewish community- I know that it has so much potential (and has done so much already, even during the pandemic) to help build and transform the British Jewish community, as Skeet has done for so many generations.
Emma
Please please please do reconsider selling Sadeh. As London Jews it is an essential place for us and our children to connect with nature, learn, recharge and be part of the heritage of this unique, irreplaceable and vital place. Please put this to the wider Anglo Jewish community? There has been little publicity around selling Sadeh and I ensure that no one would support this. If it is around funds, I am sure that the community would support you in lieu of selling Sadeh. As a psychologist facing increasing mental distress everywhere, Sadeh is the one place I can think of that is there to support emotional well-being and health. There are just so few places for communal connection in nature - please do rethink taking this from our community. So many, particularly Talia Chain, has dedicated herself to transforming this place and making it such an important place for the local community too. Please help. Don’t sell it - it would be a travesty.
Marielle
I am getting in touch after hearing the sad news that the JYF has decided to sell Skeet Hill House/Sadeh Farm. I have started visiting Sadeh this year, and it has been a wonderful space to reconnect with Jewish community and history having left synagogue community some years ago. As soon as I arrived I was given a tour of all the photos lining the staircase of decades of Anglo-Jewish history at Sadeh, and I was able to connect with socially engaged and vibrant Jewish community again. I've never before come across a place like Sadeh, and am incredibly sad to hear that the JYF is planning to sell the farm, to have that loss of community, history, and socially engaged agriculture. As soon as you visit, you're certain that you want to return. I have been reading the past few days so many stories from others who, like me, found Sadeh a joyful place to connect with Jewish community, and it will be a huge loss to us all. I do hope you'll reconsider.
Brell
Sadeh was my first experience of community living, I had a transformational time allowing myself to open. The space allowed me to connect deeper to myself and to nature. Growing vegetables for the first time was magical. I met such diverse and wonderful humans here. We shared meals, played games, danced, watched movies did cool art projects and tended to the land while learning about Jewish tradition. I went through the sudden loss of my mum whilst living at Sadeh, i was broken in that instant and the family at sadeh made me safe and cared for. I will never forget the love and support that Sadeh has given to me. This is a space for healing, learning, support and growth
Dave
Sadeh is so magical because when you stand side by side with anyone else - whether you’re by the chickens, in the herb garden, or looking at the skyline from the top of the hill - you know that it’s as special for them as it is for you. It’s community in every sense of the word; nature where you can be yourself and the warmest and most generous people to be that self with. Everyone, whatever their background, should get the chance to feel like they’re a part of something magical and it would be deeply sad for Sadeh to lose it’s home so soon after its conception. There really is nothing else like it that can bring so many different Jews together from all different walks of life to sit and listen to bird song and feel gratitude in all our different ways. Save Sadeh!
Kate
My name is Simah Fox and I was able to spend almost 6 months at Sadeh after I graduated from university in the States. Sadeh offered me a life-changing experience in the way of supplemental jewish environmental education. Living on the land provided me with the opportunity to understand the connection between the sacred Jewish holidays I’ve always celebrated as a kid and their roots in the cycling of the seasons, planting/harvest times, and ultimately the celebration of life! It could not have been more important that I was able to learn and grow in a setting that has historic roots in educating and tending to Jewish youth. I could tangibly feel the generations of tradition at Skeet Hill House-something that was personally impactful for me. Sadeh is my forever home. Whenever I sing to the trees on Tu b’Shvat or dance in the fields of Shabbat I feel those 6 months of deep Jewish time blossom in my chest. I feel that it is the birthright of the Jewish youth of this generation to deepen their connection to the rich history of Jewish tradition and to also be a part of its evolution - Sadeh is the key and the doorway to this!!!
Simah
I have visited Sadeh twice, with my daughters Zoe and Jessica. I was deeply impressed by the drive and commitment of the people working there. They have wonderful ideas of how to develop this amazing space for the benefit of all their visitors, in particular the young, the animals which are there and for the land itself. Sadeh encompasses the most fundamental and moving Jewish values. Treating all people and the land with the utmost respect whilst framing all it does within Jewish halacha. It would be appalling to lose this rare gem; it would be an irreplaceable loss to current and future generations
Susan
My name is Celia Calder and I am a former artist in residence at Sadeh. I grew up disconnected from my Jewish heritage after my parents had assimilated. It was only when a friend encouraged me to visit Sadeh at age 23 that I began to learn and engage with Judaism, and it has become a wonderful and powerful part of my life.
Celia
I live close to Sadeh and I drop in from time to time. Sometimes to pick up local produce, sometimes to talk to the chickens, and sometimes when things at home feel claustrophobic. It's also a place where I can spend time with other Jews. So much of London Jewry is centred in the North West of the city. Sadeh has established an accessible community in an area where it is desperately needed, and I don't know what I'd have done without it.
Janvier
Sadeh is both a physical and ideological space for young people. The future we are faced with given world leaders inability to act on climate change leaves anyone who engages with it feeling hopeless and scared. At Sadeh we understand this and are creating the kind of present and future where we tackle such issues and create a safe community space for people to discuss their concerns and engage in practical actions that can help, not only to fight the effects of climate change, but to build the kind of resilient society we will need in the future. Sadeh is rooted in Jewish values - it practises and teaches the values of tikkun olam, Baal tashchit and more. My involvement with Sadeh helped refocus my Judaism through a prism that has so long been an important part of my life - environmental sustainability and social justice. These are the values that are taught and encouraged in all the young people that engage with Sadeh, and given the Jewish history of Skeet Hill House I cannot imagine where else they would get such an immersive, meaningful and often life changing experience were the site to be sold.
Jessica
Sadeh is a huge part of my Jewish identity and has connected me with so many important people in my life. It has provided me with so many amazing opportunities for improving my knowledge and experience in food growing and sustainable agriculture which is vital for the work I do today. Having lived there for 6 months I have been able to see the impact that it has on others, including the joy that it brings to the children who visited the guest house with their families. The future plans for youth outreach and engaging with the community are really exciting and I know will have an incredibly positive impact on so many young people.
Rosie
Sadeh has a place in the heart of generations of British Jews. When our Green Team at West London Synagogue visited last year, we were thrilled to see an example of Eco Judaism here in UK. I was so moved to see their efforts in eco farming, native tree planting and rewilding - exactly what we need to be doing. We met a lovely Haredi man who visiting simply because his wife used to love visiting there and he was at peace as all of us were. There is nothing else like Sadeh and it's something we need a lot more of. I urge everyone to support Sadeh and keep it there for the community to enjoy and learn about the Creation. And support further the important work they must continue to set the example for all of us to follow.
Angelina