Eden Village Camp – Putnam Valley, NY
A California girl through and through, Maya made her East Coast debut in summer 2017 as Program Director of Eden Village. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Maya knew she needed a lifestyle change and found herself drawn to the Bay Area and UC Santa Cruz, where she received her B.A. in Environmental Studies and discovered a love for outdoor experiential education. Having spent nine summers growing and learning as a camper and staff member at a Jewish summer camp in Southern California, she feels there is nothing more rewarding than experiences shared at camp. Her curiosity, spontaneity and free-spirited nature have allowed this social butterfly to flutter through many fields, from farm and garden educator to coffee professional, and finally restaurant manager in San Francisco. Maya is giddy and excited by this new chapter in her life and still can’t get over the fact that fireflies are actually real.
OneTable – DC Metro Area – Washington, DC
Amanda and her partner, Greg, have been hosting Jewish meals together since middle school! Amanda honed her hospitality skills while working at Hillel at Virginia Tech as they opened their new building and at Birthright NEXT planning convenings for engagement professionals. Amanda is currently in a master’s degree program at GW for Jewish experiential education. Amanda is passionate about sustainable, humane, and nourishing food that elevates her OneTable Shabbat dinners, brings people together and repairs our broken food systems. Their dog, @BubbeTheChow, is Instagram famous, and the cutest grouchy old chowchow you’ve ever seen.
Jews United for Justice – Washington, DC
Elizabeth Heyman is joining the JOFEE network as a community organizer with Jews United for Justice in Washington, DC. She’s thrilled to incorporate a stronger food justice lens into her work fighting for a more socially, racially, and economically just city.
Elizabeth is ready to see her passions grow while learning with her cohort and implementing JOFEE programming in the District. She has a strong background in designing curricula, especially in creating meaningful experiential education programs, and as a Jewish educator.
When she isn’t out protesting or lobbying for lasting change, you can find her enjoying some combination of music, used books, citrus, avocados, and sunshine.
Brenden likes to think of himself as an urban agriculture enthusiast, but really he is just a big kid that likes to play in the dirt. Through the accident of birth, he was born in Virginia where he camped, explored, studied literature and eventually earned a graduate degree in education. Through a series of fortunate events he married his best friend, and spent the next five years moving and traveling around the country. During these travels he met a diverse range of food growers who planted the seeds of food justice.
In 2017 he joined forces with Amir and was shipped to Houston to inspire youth to embrace the joys of gardening and help create a more sustainable food culture. With roots firmly planted for the first time, Brenden is excited to explore how embracing tikkun olam and derech-eretz can connect people and cultures in Houston through food and sustainable urban agriculture.
Shoresh – Toronto, CA
Jared is an outdoor enthusiast, nutritionist, and idealist. He completed a Bachelor of Commerce degree at Dalhousie University. During his studies, Jared worked for a carsharing service, helping to reduce the number of vehicles on the road. He proceeded to take a managerial role for two more carsharing services in Canada, keeping environmental ethics as a core motivation. In 2015, he was inspired to become a Certified Nutritional Practitioner from the Institute of Holistic Nutrition. He is extremely passionate about the importance of eating healthy food from environmentally sustainable sources. For the past year, Jared worked as the interim Managing Director for Shoresh Jewish Environmental Programs and has transitioned into the Director of Programs role. In addition, Jared has volunteered for numerous causes including organic farming in Israel, rainforest protection in Ecuador, and food security locally in Toronto. Jared feels a deep connection to the environment guided by Jewish texts, values, and teachings.
Eden Village Camp – Putnam Valley, NY
Born Jacob Reuben Kose but known as Cosmo Kose in-utero, Jacob is the left-handed only child of two Jewish New York City psychotherapists who does his darndest not to psychoanalyze anything and everything he interacts with.
Jacob grew up steeped in both analytical and experiential Judaism (Heschel School, Ramah Berkshires, Kivunim, Israeli family, Holocaust-surviving family) then moved to the gorgeous town of Ithaca, NY to study how people engage with stories and storytelling. Seeing no reason to leave Ithaca, he showed up at the Farmers Market after graduation to plead for a chance at production farming. Jacob has been hooked ever since he thinned beets for 9 hours that first day, and over the past five years has worked and learned with all sorts of farms in Italy, India, and on both coasts of the U.S. Jacob has also taught farming with agricultural organizations (The Stone Barns Center and the Urban Farm at Randalls Island) and Jewish organizations (Camp Ramah in the Berkshires, Kivunim) and looks forward to his current growth with Eden Village.
Jacob cares deeply to help one another make nourishing decisions about how we co-exist—with our land and each other—and how we use and sustain the physical and metaphysical resources we have. Working with the land has shown him an opportunity to heal, listen, and get in touch with heritage in ways that continue to inspire awe. He looks forward to learning, listening, laughing, and sharing his work!
Hazon – Teva – Falls Village, CT
In her role as Teva Education Coordinator, Frances is thrilled to be spending her time nerding out over curriculum development and referring to the vast library of books in the Teva office. Frances came to Hazon to live and work on the Topsy Turvy Bus which she did for two summers before settling at Isabella Freedman to work for Teva in the Fall of 2016. Frances graduated from the University of Vermont in May 2016, with a major in Environmental Studies, a minor in Food Systems and a thesis on the possibility of local kosher meat in the state of Vermont. In her free time she enjoys reading, starting knitting projects, general silliness, and getting dirty.
Wilderness Torah – Berkeley, CA
Raised in orchards and older landscapes of the Hood River Valley, Sofia is endlessly curious about how resilient communities relate to the land. Driven to make this relationship an equitable and nourishing one, she began studying sustainable agriculture after undergraduate field research on climate change & water scarcity in Peru’s Valle Sagrado. She holds a BA in International and Latin American Studies with a concentration in Environment & Development from the University of San Francisco.
Before joining the team at Wilderness Torah, Sofia worked as a language teacher, a Fellow and Farm Hand at Urban Adamah, indoors supporting nonprofits along the West Coast, and in patches of dirt, sun, and rain between San Francisco and Sweden. She is thrilled to be learning in community to piece apart and together woven intersections of spirituality, sustainability, and social justice.
Eden Village West – Oakland, CA
Every summer growing up in Massachusetts, Rebecca’s parents grew tomatoes and herbs and she usually didn’t want anything to do with it. Instead, she spent her summers at Camp Ramah – first for two weeks and then for eight. Once camp was over Rebecca realized the surest way to spend time outdoors was to farm. Rebecca has farmed in production spaces and educational ones like Eden Village East in 2012. She’s farmed in Massachusetts, China, the Hudson Valley, and most recently Santa Cruz, California where she completed a Certificate in Ecological Horticulture from UC Santa Cruz’s CASFS program. Wherever she farms, Rebecca finds that people connect over being outdoors, working the land, and preparing the fruits of their labor. She is looking forward to the first summer at Eden Village West to create a radical connection with land, food, and new friends.
Urban Adamah – Berkeley, CA
As an outdoor educator, hobby herbalist, and gardener, Anika is interested in agroecology as a land-based social movement. She became part of the urban farming scene in 2012 at the UC Berkeley Student Organic Garden, where she facilitated urban agriculture classes. Her desire to understand and nurture the plant world also comes from her long dreamy days on an herbal medicinal farm in southern Oregon.
In 2016, Anika became a National Geographic Young Explorer Grantee. She conducted research with Guatemalan and Nicaraguan women coffee farmers on crop disease, livelihoods and sustainable farming. She’s excited to be teaching ecology, food justice, spiritual values and mindfulness as the Youth and Family Programs Educator at Urban Adamah. When she’s not teaching and exploring on the farm, Anika can be found doing yoga, climbing, print making, backpacking and playing guitar.
Shalom Institute – Malibu, CA
Henry Schmidt is a Program Director at the Shalom Institute in Malibu, CA. After graduating with from Lewis & Clark College in 2014 with a degree in Math and Physics, he decided to detour into the restaurant world and learn how to cook. He worked in kitchens in Portland, OR for three years, then made his way back to the camp world to explore farming and food education. He enjoys fermentation, knitting, and jazz music and is excited to expand the Shalom Institute farm curriculum and teach everyone how to bake sourdough bread.
GatherDC – Washington, DC
Mollie has created, led, and implemented vibrant Jewish experiences for all types of Jewish communities across the globe – including Winnipeg, Berlin, Salzburg, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and Sarajevo! Mollie is the new Community Manager at GatherDC, organizing community around Jewish values and volunteering. Most recently, Mollie has lived and worked in Jerusalem at the Shalom Hartman Institute’s working on Rabbinic and Christian Leadership Programs and the iEngage – Pluralistic Israel Education Curriculum. Alongside this work she also serves as the Director of Jewish and Religious Affairs for the Global Muslim-Jewish Conference. She has conducted research for the iCenter on American Jewry, Jewish Identity Politics, and Jewish Peoplehood. Holds a masters in Jewish Experiential Education from the Jewish Theological Seminary and a B.A. in English Literature and Jewish Studies from Stern College for Women, Yeshiva University. When she is not thinking about big ideas, she is hanging out with her family, enjoying brunch with friends, and going to standing room only concerts!
Hazon Detroit – Detroit, MI
Ilana Unger grew up both in Vermont and Colorado so connecting to nature has always been something near and dear to her heart! She attended Dickinson College and majored in environmental studies and minored in studio art. Her journey in the JOFEE field started at Urban Adamah where she was a fellow. This is where her passion and interest in the intersectionality between mindfulness, food justice began to grow. She continued her passion at Hazon Detroit through creating transformative experiences for people to connect spiritually through ritual events, urban farming, and bringing communities together across difference. Outside of work she is an outdoor enthusiast. Ilana enjoys meditating, running, hiking, biking, skiing, cooking delicious food, and spending time with the beautiful people in her life.
Jewish Farm School – Philadelphia, PA
Alex grew up in the Pine Barrens, 45 minutes east of Philly, where his growing wonder of trees and forest soil mingled with a discomfort and distrust of mainstream suburban lifestyle, and set his eyes towards alternative and restorative ways of living. After graduating with a B.A. in Geography from Vassar College in 2015, he’s spent the past few years working in multiple nodes of the food system, including as a chocolate maker and a restaurant cook, and living on a variety of farms on the west coast and in Central America. He combines his love and understanding of food and agroecology with a commitment to social and ecological justice and community organizing, bolstered by his experience as a community organizer with the Stop Urban Shield Coalition and SURJ Bay Area. When not weaving together food justice, community organizing, and Jewish tradition, you can probably find Alex in his kitchen, in a dance or yoga studio, or wandering the blocks of his neighborhood looking at trees and talking to neighbors and admiring West Philly’s infinite variety of porches.
Eliezer Shalom Weinbach
Hazon – Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center – Falls Village, CT
Eliezer Weinbach is a Retreat Coordinator at Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center. Prior to joining Hazon, he worked as a Research Associate for Haskins Laboratories at Yale University. He attended Yeshiva University where he received his BA in Psychology. In his spare time Eli enjoys reading fantasy, listening to music, and adventuring. He is interested in expanding the scope of sustainability education to include Orthodox Jewish communities.