In Philadelphia, we have worked since 2010 to shift the nature of what it means to be Jewish in the 21st century – enabling and encouraging Jewish people to have an impact in the world, and transforming Jewish life in the process. Five years ago, our most passionate advocates formed the Hazon Philadelphia Advisory Board, supporting and guiding our local work, while serving as Hazon ambassadors to their communities. This group organized a successful Lag B’Omer bonfire and Sukkot Harvest Dinner that kick-started Hazon’s work in the Philadelphia region. Since opening a staffed regional office in 2013, we helped create healthier and more sustainable Jewish communities through Jewish Food Festivals, Bike Rides, Shtetl Skills: Urban Sustainability workshop, Food Audits, and more.


Starting in December 2015, Hazon no longer has staff on the ground in Philadelphia. We look forward to evolving to our next phase of work and connection in the Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey area.

Get Involved

Our Philadelphia presence is led by our Philadelphia Chairs, Val Yasner and Joy Finkel.

Stay in touch by joining our e-list.


Upcoming Events:

Hungry for Change: American and Israeli Strategies on Food Security, Recovery, and Justice
Nov 11, 2018 - 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Jewish Community Services Building, Philadelphia, PA

The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia invites all of our community members for one day of our international food conference, serving as an opportunity to learn about innovative food security initiatives currently in progress in Philadelphia and Israel.

Past Programming:

Food Festivals

We held three Hazon Philadelphia Jewish Food Festivals in 2013, 2014, and 2015, hosted in collaboration synagogues around the Philadelphia area, which were collectively attended by over 650 participants. Our next food festival will be in partnership with the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia in November 2018.

To learn more about Hazon’s Food Festivals across the country, please visit our website.

Ride the Pines

We held two Ride the Pines environmental bike tours in 2014 and 2015 in the Southern New Jersey area, which were collectively attended by over 390 participants. Our most recent Ride was Sunday, May 31, 2015, hosted at JCC Camps at Medford in Medford, NJ.

To learn more about Hazon’s Bike Rides across the country, please visit our website.


Our five synagogue-based Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares will remain active, continuing to be run by lay leaders. You do not need to be affiliated with the synagogue to join the CSA.

Email csa@hazon.org with general CSA-related inquiries, or visit the CSAs’ individual websites for information about specific sites.

Partnership with Jewish Farm School

In 2013, we forged a strategic partnership with Jewish Farm School, jointly running a dozen “Shtetl Skills” Urban Sustainability Workshops on topics including seed saving, home canning, and sustainable construction.

Institution Support

With support from the Jewish Community Fund of Southern New Jersey, we ran three Food Audits to help Jewish institutions green their food practices, feeding into Hazon’s new Seal of Sustainability program.

Educational Materials

As liaisons to Hazon’s broader work, our Philadelphia staff provided access to our national programs, educational resources, retreats at Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, and the growing Jewish Outdoor Food and Environmental Education (JOFEE) community. Moving forward, we look forward to a continued Hazon presence in Philadelphia through use of our educational materials and attendees at national events.


Abby Contract
Lori Dafilou
Sally Eisenberg
Daniella Eskenazi
Marty Feigenbaum
Joy Finkel, Co-Chair
Eli Freedman
Mark Kaplan

Laurel Klein
Lisa Kagel

Stuart Kurtz
Amanda Ross
Michael Solomonov
Mike Yasner
Val Yasner, Co-Chair


Click here to read Philadelphia Advisory Board bios

Abby Contract

Abby Contract was the co-chair of the first Liberty, Food & Justice for All as well as the Sukkot Harvest Supper. She has participated in the CA bike ride and the NY Food Conference. When not planning Hazon events, she’s introducing her family to culinary adventures in Philadelphia.

Lori Dafilou

Lori Dafilou has been involved with Hazon since 2008, when her synagogue, Adath Israel, first established a Hazon CSA and sent a team to the Israel Bike Ride. Since then, Lori has become a regular attendee at the Hazon Food Conferences at Isabella Freedman. In 2010, she had the opportunity to contribute towards the conference by participating on the Programming Committee. Lori was honored to be asked to become a member of the Hazon Philadelphia Advisory Board in 2011 and in October 2012, she served as Programming Chair for the first Philadelphia Food Festival. Lori is the Executive Director for Adath Israel, a Conservative synagogue located on Philadelphia’s Main Line. When not working, she can be found at her home in Glenside, where she likes to make her own pasta and cheese, and tend to her perennial and herb beds. She also recently discovered the joys of canning and is happily preserving every fruit that crosses her path! Lori and her husband, Steven, are the proud parents of two daughters, Sarah and Emily. While technically “empty nesters,” they share their home with two friendly felines – Gus and Pumpkin.

Joy Dickstein Finkel

I am a self employed real estate and estate planning attorney practicing in Bucks County Pa for the past 29 years. I am also licensed to practice in New Jersey. I have been married to Marc Finkel for 27 years and have two children, Benjamin age 24 and Molly age 20. I am an active member of Congregation Beth El of Yardley Pa having served as Vice President of the congregation and currently serve on the Board of Directors and the religious activities committee. I am the founder and coordinator of the Min Haaretz Hazon CSA at Beth El which serves over 85 families from the synagogue and the general community. I love travel, reading and organizing.

Sally Eisenberg

Recently dubbed the “Queen of Quinoa,” by writer Sally Friedman of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Sally Eisenberg is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and founder of Nourish Ur Life – a nutrition/healthy lifestyle practice located in Center City Philadelphia. As a multi-media artist, Sally has always been passionate about food and healthy living and integrating nutritional counseling with her artistic vision.

In addition to working with private clients, Sally offers cooking classes out of her home, empowering her attendees to cook healthfully in their OWN kitchens. Her classes bring out the FUN and DELICIOUSNESS in “healthy” while creating community among her participants.

Sally’s involvement with Hazon is a perfect blend of combining her love of Judaism with her passion for sustainable living.

You can also find Nourish Ur Life on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

Daniella Eskenazi
Marty Feigenbaum

Marty has been Co-Coordinator for the Hazon CSA of Southern New Jersey since 2008. He conceived the Sukkot Harvest Supper and was on the event planning committee. He also co-chaired the Hazon Lag B’Omer BBQ, and “A Taste of Hazon; A Culinary Celebration of Tu B’Shvat”. Marty’s most recent involvement with Hazon Philadelphia was as an active member of the planning committee for 1st Annual Hazon Philadelphia Food Festival. Marty has been a real estate developer and builder in Cherry Hill, NJ since 1984.

Eli Freedman

Eli Freedman was ordained at Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion in May 2010 after receiving his undergraduate degree from Brandeis University. Prior to joining the clergy team at Rodeph Shalom, Rabbi Freedman served as Rabbinic Intern at the NYU Hillel, spent three years of rabbinical school in London and ran the outreach and engagement program at Columbia/Barnard Hillel.

Rabbi Freedman’s three major areas of work at Rodeph Shalom are our Mercaz Limud (Religious School), our RiSe Up! (Social Justice) Initiative, and young adult work which included our Young Friends group and Next Dor. He also is engaged in all other rabbinic duties, including life cycle events, leading services, preaching, counseling, and adult education. Rabbi Freedman and his wife, Laurel Klein, live in the wonderful Kensington neighborhood where they enjoy dinning out, live music, and home-brewing!

Lisa Kagel   Co-Chair

Lisa’s first introduction to Hazon was the Sukkoth Harvest Supper 4 years ago, where she realized that Hazon, with its commitment to food issues and a unique perspective on Jewish identity, was a unique community she could call her own. Since then, she has participated in numerous Hazon activities and events – co-founding the Center City CSA in partnership with Laurel Klein and Sara Levy, attending the NY Food Conference twice, participating in the Israel Food Tour, and even volunteering on crew for the New York Ride. She loves the learning that prevails at every event, as well as the camaraderie that occurs, among this diverse group of Jews across every denomination and age group.

Professionally, Lisa works for a Digital Strategy Consultancy. In her spare time, when she isn’t involved in Hazon, she loves cooking, traveling, hiking, yoga, movies, and reading.

Mark A. Kaplan

Mark is a pathologist by profession, a sailor, outdoor enthusiast, foodie and chef by avocation.  Mark first connected with Hazon on Israel Ride 05 and since then is an avid cyclist.  He was inspired by Hazon to found the first Philly area Tuv Ha Aretz Hazon CSA at Congregation Kol Ami in Elkins Park in 07, currently in its seventh year. Mark has been instrumental in the CSA s success, leading an annual community Tu B Shvat Seder, Sukkot trips to the farm, and producing many successful educational programs relating to Judaism, food and sustainability for the area community.   As a member of Philly Hazon Advisory Board since its inception, Mark served on the planning committee for the 11 Sukkot Harvest Supper and 13 inaugural Philly Hazon Food Festival.  He is co-chair of the 14 Philly Hazon Environmental Bike Ride.  His is married to Karin Chernoff Kaplan and has two daughters, Molly and Ellie.

Laurel Klein

Laurel is in her 4th year in Philly. She comes to Philly with an educational background in Social Work and Jewish Nonprofit Management, with an emphasis on community organizing & project management. She has worked for Teva and Eden Village Camp, two of the leaders in the Jewish environmental field, and is currently launching her own project called Cafe Olam, a space for young adult engagement and community building around culture and sustainability. She is going into her 4th season leading the Hazon CSA she co-founded with Lisa Kagel, and the 2nd season of the farm to table community cooking and feeding initiative for those in need that she launched at Rodeph Shalom, during CSA pickup. She has spoken at the What Is Your Food Worth series and Cafe Olam will be hosting an upcoming event with the Feinstein Center on worker’s rights through a Jewish lens. Laurel is excited to be working with Rodeph Shalom to launch a mixed income farmers market in our low income neighborhood for congregants and neighbors, and is looking forward to engaging our youth in food justice and advocacy. Her and her husband, Eli Freedman, a rabbi at Congregation Rodeph Shalom are total foodies, beer brewers, wild fermentors, and aspiring DIYers.

Stuart Kurtz
Amanda Danielle Ross

Amanda Ross holds a dual-M.A. degree from Gratz College in Jewish Communal Service, and Jewish Education, along with a B.A. in English from Rutgers University. She grew up in Cherry Hill, NJ and currently resides in Philadelphia. She is a licensed Zumba instructor and passionate CSA participant. She co-chaired the first Philadelphia Hazon Food Festival and is excited to be part of the Hazon community as it continues to grow.

Michael Solomonov

A 2011 James Beard Award winner for “Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic,” Chef Michael Solomonov is the executive chef at Zahav (237 St. James Place, 215-625-8800), Philadelphia’s renowned modern Israeli restaurant. Known for his extraordinary skill at transforming simple foods into artful culinary masterpieces, he is widely regarded as one of the city’s top young chefs and entrepreneurs. In addition to his duties at Zahav, of which is he co-owner, Chef Solomonov is a partner in Percy Street Barbecue (900 South Street, 215-625-8510), a Southern inspired barbecue restaurant and bar on South Street that has quickly become known as the best place in Philadelphia for smoked meats, and Federal Donuts (two locations: 1219 South 2nd Street and 1632 Sansom Street) a mostly take-out, donuts-and-fried-chicken shop serving exceptional coffee, cake donuts and fried chicken.

In 2012, Food & Wine magazine named Chef Solomonov among the country’s top “Empire Builders,” admiring his devotion “to reinventing overlooked cuisines.” Chef Solomonov was also the subject of a New York Times feature in 2011 that explored the genesis and continued success of Zahav, which praised his “simple food with layers of flavor.” That same year, Zahav was elevated to a coveted “Four Bells: Superior” rating from the Philadelphia Inquirer, one of only four restaurants citywide to attain that elite status. Both Conde Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure named Zahav among the top restaurants in the nation in their May 2009 issues, and Esquire named Zahav among their “Best New Restaurants, 2008.” Zahav has also been featured in Bon Appetit, which selected the restaurant as one of their “Hot 10 Summer Blockbusters.” Philadelphia magazine named Zahav “Best New Restaurant, 2008” in their annual “Best of Philly” issue.

Before opening Zahav, which means “gold” in Hebrew, in 2008, Chef Solomonov was the executive chef at West Philadelphia’s Marigold Kitchen, which he and restaurateur Steven Cook co-owned until 2009. There, he was named “Rising Star Chef, 2007” by Restaurant Hospitality magazine, as well as “Best Chef, 2006” by Philadelphia magazine. Prior to joining Cook at Marigold Kitchen, Chef Solomonov worked under such top chefs as Marc Vetri at Vetri and Terence Feury at Striped Bass. He is a graduate of the Florida Culinary Institute in West Palm Beach, FL. Born in Israel, he grew up in Pittsburgh, PA and now calls Philadelphia home. He frequently travels back to Israel, including an epic 2008 trip with the entire opening team from Zahav to introduce them to the cuisine they would be preparing and serving.

For more information about Chef Michael Solomonov or any of the restaurants that he co-owns with Steven Cook, please visit www.cooknsolo.com and follow them on Twitter (@cooknsolo).

Mark Taylor
Michael Yasner

Michael Yasner enjoys participating in all things Hazon. Mike is currently co-chair of the upcoming Philly Hazon bike ride, a Philly Hazon Board member, and a core member of the Hazon CSA of Southern New Jersey. In between Hazon bike rides, food conferences and other events Mike is a Periodontist in Cherry Hill, NJ.

Val Yasner

Val Yasner practiced Endodontics and taught at the University Of Pennsylvania School Of Dental Medicine for 15 years. After severe carpal tunnel Val retired from Endodontics and rediscovered her love of food.

Val’s involvement with Hazon began when she helped bring Hazon CSA of Southern New Jersey to her Cherry Hill community. Over the years Val has participated and taken leadership positions in the full range of Hazon activities including riding and crewing the NY Labor Day Ride, cycling in the California Ride and a portion of the Israel Ride. She has attended multiple Hazon Food Conferences on both coasts as well. Under her leadership Philly Hazon is continuing to expand its role in the community.

Val brings her health care perspective to the world of food and nutrition. She has a passion for cooking, eating, and talking about food while tying all of this to our Jewish heritage and tradition.

Cherry Hill, NJ