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Making It: Celebrating Jewish community with honey from Bee Awesome

Making It banner

Maker: Amalia Haas, CEO and chief bee whisperer

Business: Bee Awesome

Location: Beachwood

Rabbanit Amalia Haas grew up in an environment that centered around nature and science.

“My mom was a professor of education, and my dad was a renaissance scientist with a passion for the natural world,” Haas said.

After settling in Beachwood in 2000 and starting a family of her own, Haas shared her affection for nature with her children, especially how it relates to the Jewish faith.

“The Torah, the Jewish Bible, describes the creation of Adam from the soil,” Haas explained. “And my understanding of that is it’s essential that human beings have a felt relationship with the soil and engagement with nature.”

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Jean-Marie Papoi
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Ideastream Public Media
Amalia Haas, CEO of Bee Awesome, recalled seeing bees and other pollinators visiting her garden and became curious about the role they play in the environment.

Haas saw an opportunity to educate children in her community on the basics of nature with a focus on pollination and bees, and she began building the foundation for her company, Bee Awesome. She found an experienced beekeeper to set up hives at her home and quickly became hooked.

“I thought it was just going to be a hobby to keep me occupied and engaged with something new,” Haas said. “I did not expect to fall into this experience of total fascination with what was happening in the hive. Somehow, as a beekeeper, I have the privilege of being able to look in on this incredibly complex world, and I was just swept away.”

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Annie O'Neill
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Annie O'Neill Photography
Haas with her husband, Adam, and six children during Rosh Hashanah, the two-day Jewish celebration of the New Year. Traditional foods for this holiday include apples dipped in honey.

Understanding the inner workings of the hive — coupled with her experiences as a chaplain at Cleveland Clinic — led to the creation of the Bee Brave program, which teaches beekeeping and mindfulness training to teenagers struggling with anxiety.

“I was able to connect my work as a beekeeper and see the potential in it for them to develop what is called ‘distress tolerance’ – the capacity to move forward with a project or idea in the presence of one’s anxiety,” Haas said.

In February of 2022, Haas pitched her Bee Brave program in the Cleveland Leadership Center’s eighth annual “Accelerate” pitch competition, earning her a spot as a finalist.

“Bee Brave adds a new layer for education and gives us a new way to see the potential for bees to help people,” she said.

A native of Akron and graduate of Kent State University, Jean-Marie Papoi has been working in the field of video production for 15 years. Since joining Ideastream Public Media in 2016, she's enjoyed filming and telling the stories of community members throughout Northeast Ohio.