2013 Presenters

Alyssa Bauer grew up in the Boston area and recently returned here to work on sustainable agricultural and community-based initiatives. This spring she is moving to the bustling town of Whiting, Vermont to start a vegetable-production farm. She’s looking forward to hours upon hours of weeding, business planning, fruit picking, knitting, lacto-fermenting and sunset/sunrise watching throughout the next couple of VT seasons.

Helen Bennett is passionate about what brings people together. Originally from Seattle, Helen now works to build spiritual and social justice-oriented community for adults in their 20s and 30s at the Moishe Kavod Jewish Social Justice House in Brookline. An alumna of ADAMAH and a Jewish Farm School educator, Helen is excited to be organizing young adults through Moishe Kavod’s Farm to Shul Team on a community-wide Institutional Purchasing Campaign focused on building an ethical food system where we model putting our purchasing power where our values are.

The Binah School is a new, innovative Jewish school for girls where middle and high school students study real world issues through the lens of multiple disciplines, in depth analysis, hands on experience and project based student work. The 10 founding students of The Binah School will be sharing their semester long learning on food, culture and justice. The Binah School has been invited to present this documentary at LimmudBoston and at Hazon’s National Jewish Food Conference, where they received a standing ovation.

Getzel Davis is a fifth year rabbinical student at Hebrew College in Newton, graduating this June!  As an alumnus of the Adamah Fellowship, Teva Learning Alliance, and the Eden Village Permaculture Design Course, Getzel is dedicated to studying and teaching an egalitarian Judaism that is  embodied, nature-oriented, and fun. Getzel has been the Yehadut Director at Eden Village Summer Camp and edited Torah Trek’s Ejournal on Jewish Wilderness Spirituality.

Davida Ginsberg is a native of CT and recent transplant to Boston.  She is currently a fellow in the JOIN for Justice community organizing fellowship through which she is working at Rosie’s Place, a shelter for poor and homeless women in lower Roxbury. Before moving to Boston, Davida participated in ADAMAH: The Jewish Environmental Fellowship, where she learned about the intersection between Judaism and agriculture, permaculture, and animal husbandry. At present, Davida is excited to be bringing raised beds to Rosie’s Place this spring!

Jessica Green has been the Food Chair of both the 2012 and 2013 Boston Jewish Food Conferences. Her skills and perspective come from experiences as a former restaurant owner, urban home cook, and Jewish community builder. During the day, Jessica works as a program manager at Pathways to Wellness, promoting access to holistic health care. As a community activist, she is involved with The Network/La Red, Boston Workmen’s Circle, Keshet, and SoJust. An aspiring food writer, she has taken gastronomy courses at Boston University and has been known to blog about her kitchen adventures.

Michael Alan Grodin, M.D. is Director of the Medical Ethics and Human Rights Program at Boston University Schools of Medicine and Public Health, where he is also a Professor of Psychiatry, Family Medicine, Health Law, Bioethics and Human Rights.  He is Co-Director of the joint project in Jewish Legal Bioethics of the Institute of Jewish Law at the Boston University School of Law. He is a graduate of the MIT and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, and has been on the faculty of Boston University for the past 33 years. Dr. Grodin’s primary areas of interest include: the relationship of health and human rights, medicine and the holocaust, and bioethics.  Dr. Grodin has also been involved through the legislative process in clarifying the proper role of religious traditions in contemporary medical ethical discourse.

Anna Hanau is the Associate Director of Programs at Hazon. She is the co-author of Food for Thought, Hazon’s Sourcebook on Jews, Food and Contemporary Life. Between 2007-20010 Anna was the Farm Manager at the Adamah Fellowship. She is a graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary and Barnard College, and founded Grow and Behold Foods with her husband, Naftali. They live in Brooklyn and keep a flock of chickens in the backyard.

Eli Herb is a Maggid, a Jewish Spiritual Storyteller, and a rabbinical student at Hebrew College. He is formerly the Director of the Wisconsin Interfaith Climate Change Campaign, chairperson for the Colorado Climate Change Campaign, and Program Director of the Canyon Country Conservation Corps. Eli lives in Newton with his wife and three children.

Rabbi David Jaffe is the Mashgiach Ruchani/Spiritual Advisor at Gann Academy and the Founder and Dean of the Kirva Institute.  In his role at Gann he helped the school create an Ethical Contractors Policy to apply Jewish values to all subcontracted labor in such industries as landscaping, maintenance and waste removal.  Prior to receiving rabbinic ordination David was the Director of Social Justice Programs for the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston.  He is completing a book on the inner-life and social activism.

Micah Josephy serves as Program Manager for the Cooperative Fund of New England, a 38 year old community loan fund that finances different types of co-ops. Among his responsibilities is the coordination of CFNE’s Healthy Food Access project. He first joined the co-op movement as an Kosher-Halal Co-op member, affiliated with the Oberlin Student Cooperative Association, and later coordinated the development of Boston Community Cooperative’s first housing co-op development, Seedpod Co-op.

Rachel Tali Kaplan is an Assistant Farm Manager at Hutchins Farm in Concord, 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. With eight years of farming under her belt and more than a decade of informal teaching, Rachel strives to grow amazing food that nourishes communities and creates healthier food systems.

Ahron Lerman is landscape planner and designer focused on integrating ecological processes and social needs. He works with property owners and managers on projects related to energy savings, food production, and material reuse. Ahron also teaches gardening classes at the Springfield JCC, and serves on the board of ReGreen Springfield, an organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of life in Springfield, MA, through rebuilding the city’s urban forests. Ahron earned an M.A. in sustainable land use, planning, and design from The Conway School in 2011. His portfolio, select photos, and more can be found at about.me/ahron.

Michael Leviton is a six-time James Beard Foundation Award nominee and recipient of national awards from Food & Wine, Bon Appétit, Gourmet and Saveur, Michael Leviton is a chef dedicated to the simple and pure preparation of local and sustainable ingredients in harmony with the seasons. In February 1999, he opened Lumière in his hometown of Newton, MA and in the summer of 2011, opened Area Four, a bakery/coffee house and bar/oven in Cambridge’s developing, tech-driven neighborhood of the same name. In 2010 he was appointed Chair of Chefs Collaborative, a national nonprofit network of chefs committed to local foods and fostering a sustainable food supply.

Leora Mallach co-launched Ganei Beantown: Beantown Jewish Gardens and has run the organic vegetable garden at Temple Israel for the past two growing seasons. She is the former director of the Adva Network, working with alumni of the Teva Learning Center and Adamah Jewish Environmental Fellowship in professional development, networking & job placement. When not creating new paradigms in the Jewish community, she can be found doing batik artwork (tablecloths, challah covers and baby onesies) or coordinating Youth Conservation Corps programs for teens around Massachusetts.

Rabbi Natan Margalit was raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. He received rabbinic ordination at The Jerusalem Seminary in 1990 and earned a Ph.D. in Talmud from U.C. Berkeley in 2001.  He has taught at Bard College, the Reconstuctionist Rabbinical College and the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College. Natan is Rabbi of The Greater Washington Coalition for Jewish Life in Connecticut and Visiting Rabbi at Congregation Adas Yeshorun in Rockland, Maine.  He is President of Organic Torah, Inc. a non-profit organization which fosters holistic thinking about Judaism, environment and society.  He lives in Newton, MA with his wife Ilana and sons, Nadav and Eiden.

Jennie Msall, originally from Chicago, moved to Boston 2.5 years ago to work for The Food Project, where she supported teenagers and community members in growing food. Jennie now works as a school organizer in Lower Roxbury through JOIN for Justice’s Jewish Organizing Fellowship. Jennie lives in a housing co-op in Dorchester, and also serves on the board of the Dorchester Community Food Co-op, an initiative to build a community and worked-owned cooperative market that provides economic opportunity and healthy, affordable food to Dorchester residents.

Sasha Purpura is the Executive Director of Food For Free – a not-for-profit organization in Cambridge that rescues fresh food that might otherwise go to waste and distributes it within the local emergency food system where it can reach those in need. Prior to Food For Free, Sasha spent 15 years in the private sector. In 2006, she and her husband founded a small organic farm in Southeastern MA, where Sasha currently resides.

Jonathan Rosenthal has spent over 30 years working in food movements building new possibilities for trade to be a healing force in society rather than its more typical role as a destructive force. He cofounded the fair trade companies Equal Exchange and Oké USA and is currently consulting to organizations throughout the fair trade movement. He is blessed to be married with two daughters and is a board member of Congregation Dorshei Tzedek in Newton.

Jeremy D. Sher is a student with the hope of becoming a rabbi.  His studies include a Master of Divinity program at Harvard Divinity School, as well as Organic Torah’s Beit Midrash Torat Chayyim.  He is Treasurer of Organic Torah, and works as a Pastoral Care Intern at Lemuel Shattuck State Hospital.  He brings extensive experience in teaching, facilitation, and synagogue leadership.  He is an avid cyclist and serves as Chaplain of a Masonic Chapter.

Cara Michelle Silverberg lives in Western Massachusetts where she works with a Reconstructionist synagogue directing its summer camp, coordinating a nature-based teen program, and working with school and family education programs. She attended Grinnell College and holds a self-designed B.A. from Prescott College in bioregional studies with an emphasis in environmental education. She served for six years as the outdoor and leadership development director at a YMCA camp, and has designed Jewish and secular curricula and facilitated learning opportunities for numerous educational institutions, including Smith College. Cara has worked with the Teva Learning Alliance since 2005 and is an alumna of the Adamah Fellowship.

Rabbi Toba Spitzer has served Congregation Dorshei Tzedek in West Newton since she was ordained in 1997 at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. She is a popular teacher of courses on Judaism and economic justice, Reconstructionist Judaism, new approaches to thinking about God, and the practice of integrating Jewish spiritual and ethical teachings into daily life. Rabbi Spitzer has a special interest in Jewish approaches to economic justice and the mindful use of money in daily life. Her writings on process theology, Judaism and social justice, and explorations of Biblical texts have been published in The Reconstructionist Journal and in the anthology Torah Queeries: Weekly Commentaries on the Hebrew Bible. She is a devoted and relatively patient Red Sox fan and also has a life goal of bowling in all 50 states. She has 31 down so far!

Debra Stark was raised on natural food and natural medicine.  She always wanted a place, a business where everyone knows your name.  National television shows like “20/20” have featured Debra’s Natural Gourmet, rated one of the top 100 natural food stores in the country, and magazines like Yankee and Cooking Light Magazine have raved as well.  Inc. Magazine called Debra’s Natural Gourmet a “home town powerhouse.”  Author of three cookbooks, the last called The Blue Ribbon Edition, from our kitchen to yours, Debra knows she owes it all to her mother (who marched to her own drummer way back when) and to her son, Adam Stark, the next generation in the business.

David Warner grew up on a small homestead farm in southern Missouri.  He moved to Boston after college and in 2000, with his wife and business partner, Kristine Cortese, co-founded City Feed and Supply.  They now operate 2 locations in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston.  City Feed and Supply features more than 600 local products including produce, grocery, prepared foods and home/body goods and sources from more than 40 regional farms annually.

Becca Weaver currently works for New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, serving new farmers in our region. She completed the Adamah Fellowship in 2006 and became an educator and volunteer coordinator for Kayam Jewish Community Farm at the Pearlstone Retreat and Conference Center in Reisterstown, MD.  She enjoys educating people of all ages about growing and eating healthy food and loves being involved with Ganei Beantown.  In her spare time, she conducts multiple kitchen chemistry and domestic science experiments in her coop home in Somerville.