Leora Mallach, MEd, first worked for the Teva Learning Center in the Fall of 1997. Since then, she has worked for a variety of other experiential learning programs including: the Hulbert Outdoor Center, Tresslercare Wilderness Services, Vermont Global Village Project, American Jewish World Service, Project Adventure and the Boston Natural Areas Network. She helped design the Green Apprenticeship program at Kibbutz Lotan in the southern Arava and is proud to see how it has grown since its inception.
She is the former director of the Adva Network, working with alumni of the Teva Learning Center and Adamah: The Jewish Environmental Fellowship in professional development, networking & job placement in the Jewish Community. For the past four growing seasons, she has run the organic vegetable garden at Temple Israel in Boston. She was a 2013 Boston PresenTense Fellow and is a senior Environmental Leadership Program Fellow. She is super excited to be creating new paradigms in the Jewish community.
In her free time, she can be found hiking in the mountains, berry picking or making batik tablecloths, challah covers and baby onsies for her business B.B. batiks. She can be reached at leora (at) beantownjewishgardens.org or 617-877-2036.
Becca Weaver is passionate about sustainable agriculture, revitalizing Jewish practice, and building a more empowered, self-reliant and resilient society. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Washington University in St. Louis, she started working on Jewish community farms (including Adamah at Isabella Freedman (CT) and Kayam Farm Pearlstone (MD), combining her technical skills with her love for food, nature, and tradition. She is certified in ecological horticulture from UC Santa Cruz and has a masters degree in agriculture, food, and the environment from Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition.
After graduation she worked for New Entry Sustainable Farming Project. She is currently the Farm and Sustainability Director at the Boulder JCC. In her spare time, she enjoys running her own small farm business, playing in the CO outdoors, baking, domestic chemistry experiments, and sharing her knowledge with her community! She is excited to involve the Jewish community in finding a sustainable solution to feeding 9 billion people by 2050.
Rachel Barbanel-Fried, PsyD, is the chair of the BJFC 2016. She has a private therapy practice in Newton Centre working with a diverse group of people with a wide variety of needs. In addition to her clinical work, she is a registered Yoga Teacher and is certified to teach Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. She has specialized training in the topic of food as medicine and is passionate about the intersection of food and health. She has travelled extensively, lived abroad and taught cooking, yoga, and other topics in Bulgaria, Israel and all over the USA.
Matt Brookner is fascinated by the intersection of Judaism and food and constantly tinkering with his challah and hummus recipes. He helped plan three of Ganei Beantown’s Boston Jewish Food Conferences, in 2012-2014 and is back chairing 2017’s. Matt is also on the board of Temple B’nai Brith in Somerville. He is a doctoral candidate at Brandeis University, researching philanthropy education in the American Jewish community.
Daniella Hirschfeld (MEM) is a PhD student at UC Berkeley in the department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning focusing on water resources in coastal areas and regional planning approaches. She is the former director of The Resiliency Place, a consulting firm working to empower local governments to solve complex problems and create livable communities of the future.
Rachel T. Kaplan is a rabbinic student at Hebrew College in her first year. She was previously the Farm-Based Education and Outreach Coordinator at Powisset Farm in Dover, MA. This native Mainer grew her first vegetable as an ADAMAH fellow and is a graduate of Grinnell College and the Beit Midrash program for Talmud study at the Drisha Institute for Jewish Studies. Rachel has taught at summer camps in Maine and Canada, Hebrew school programs in Iowa and New Jersey and on-farm educational programs in Connecticut and Georgia. Off the farm, Rachel developed curriculum for the Jewish Farm School and is a frequent educator for Ganei Beantown.
Hannah Levine – Hannah was the chair of the first Boston Jewish Food Conference in 2012, which was inspired by her desire to create a Jewish community interested in food systems and environmental education in greater Boston. She previously attended the Green Apprenticeship at Kibbutz Lotan and several Hazon Food Conferences, and is a former leader of the Farm-to-Shul team at the Moishe Kavod House. By day, she is an architectural designer and enjoys cities, biking, yoga, and kitchen DIY experiments.
Stephanie Lowitt, MSW, is currently the Assistant Director of Development at GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders. Her prior work includes serving as a Senior Development Officer for CJP and as Development Coordinator for Keshet. She has volunteered with numerous social justice and advocacy organizations in the greater Boston area including Ganei Beantown, NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, and the board of GLSEN Massachusetts. She earned a B.A. in Psychology from Florida State University and an MSA in Macro Social Work from Boston University. When not agitating for change and raising money for worthy causes, you can probably find Stephanie dancing, gardening, reading or cooking too much food for friends and family.
Rachel Sumekh is a Social Entrepreneur and the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Swipe Out Hunger, a White House Champion of Change. She is a Los Angeles native and Forbes 30 Under 30 finalist. She serves on the Board of 30 Years After and is a member of the AVODAH, AJWS and ROI communities. Rachel is a proud UCLA alum who is challenging the status quo of what it means to be a “Typical Persian Girl.” Also a PresenTense alumni, she advises Leora on Ganei Beantown’s internal operations.
Jacob Wilkenfeld-Mongillo works with the communications team in the superintendent’s office at Boston Public Schools. He supports district-wide social media and guides digital strategy. He worked previously on the marketing team at Wheelock College, as communications manager at Hazon, as product manager at an independent record label, and was on the programming staff with Hillel at the University of Arizona and the University of Connecticut.