Executive Director & Co-Founder
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 a mentor for the JOFEE Fellowship and participant in building the Jewish Community Farming field on a national level.
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 is super excited to be creating new paradigms in the Jewish community.
Janet Kolodner is on the faculty at the Lynch School of Education at Boston College and is retired from the College of Computing at Georgia Institute of Technology. Her expertise is in learning from experience, both in computers and in people. While living in Atlanta, she helped found a variety of Jewish institutions and professional organizations including The International Society of the Learning Sciences (ISLS) and Congregation Or Hadash. She learned vegetable gardening from her father and has been a foodie since before anyone was using the word. She is new-ish to greater Boston and has made Brookline her home.
Rachel Lawent is a CPA at a public accounting firm, specializing in tax. Before studying accounting, she was a 2004 participant in the ADAMAH fellowship and then a conservation ecologist specializing in removal of invasive species from native habitats. Food, sustainability, and their connections with Jewish community continue to be strong interests of hers. Other interests include living in intentional communities, vegan baking, and knitting.
Hannah Levine 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 architect and enjoys cities, biking, yoga, and kitchen DIY experiments.
Marc Stober is a cantorial student at Hebrew College. Professionally he has also worked as a software engineer and web developer for both commercial and nonprofit organizations. He has been involved with a variety of Jewish organizations and non-profits, including Temple Emanuel and the Open Siddur Project. He is a resident of Newton with his wife and two children.
Jacob Wilkenfeld-Mongillo leads marketing efforts at Wheelock College. Previously, he has works with the communications team in the superintendent’s office at Boston Public Schools, 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.
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.
Ganei Beantown: Beantown Jewish Gardens was founded in 2011. Our birthing and start-up phase wouldn’t have been possible without the help of Moishe Kavod House Farm to Shul team, Hebrew College, and Hazon, who at times provided fiscal sponsorship, peer support, programming partnerships, and opportunities for growth. We continue to work with, and be inspired by, the many community members working for a more just and sustainable food system capable of feeding 9 billion people in 2050.
Becca Weaver is the Farm and Sustainability Director at The Boulder JCC Milk and Honey Farm. She is passionate about sustainable agriculture, revitalizing Jewish practice, and building a more empowered, self-reliant and resilient society. She believes that hands-on, experiential activities on the farm that are rooted in Jewish tradition are an effective and fun way to build community around these principles. 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 and Kayam Farm at Pearlsone), 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. 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!