With the start of the Hazon Food Conference now just about three weeks away, Pursue is extremely pleased to announce the members of our Food Justice Cohort! Each participant below has received a partial scholarship to help defray the cost of attending the conference and, as you’ll read, brings a wealth of invaluable food justice know-how and experience with them. In addition to presenting, learning, and connecting at the conference, they will be on the front lines of Pursue’s food justice work in the coming year.
Without further ado, we present you with the Pursue Food Justice Cohort:
Naomi Abelson (New York City) is Social Action Specialist at the Religious Action Center and Union for Reform Judaism. She currently takes part in a Hazon CSA and views her weekly share as the secret ingredients of her very own mini-Iron Chef competition
Naomi Adland (New York City) is Assistant Director of Recruitment for the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies. From growing vegetables in the backyard with her family while growing up in North Carolina to cooking Shabbat dinner for 14 people as an AVODAH Corps member in Chicago, her deepest memories all connect to food.
Monique Arar (San Francisco) is Program Coordinator for JIMENA: Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa. A foodie her entire life, she is busy launching her Music with Monique business and is the newest resident of Moishe House SF.
Rachel Briks (Washington, D.C.) is Program Assistant for the Institute of Medicine and is studying for her master’s degree in public health. She manages a CSA program with Licking Creek Bend Farm for the DC JCC & DC Minyan Community, which donates leftover produce to DC Central Kitchen and low-income families in Washington, DC.
Polly Clare-Rothe (Washington, D.C.) is a current AVODAH Corps member working at Bread for the City. She volunteered this year as a garden educator at a local community garden, working with elementary students. She has also helped out in nutrition classes for low-income families in San Francisco, studied the causes of food deserts, and participated in Oakland’s creation of a Food Policy Council.
Steven Deheeger (New York City) is South Bronx CSA Coordinator at Friends of Brook Park. His background includes working with labor unions and immigrant workers’ centers, teaching art in the South Bronx, and he is currently in the process of forming a cumbia/dubstep/ska/flamenco band that will one day become world famous.
Karin Fleisch (New York City) recently left her position as Manager of Member Services at the Food Bank for New York City to pursue a master’s degree in public administration at NYU Wagner. She serves on the board of Uri L’Tzedek, is a member of the St. Mark’s Community Garden, volunteers as a Tav HaYosher compliance officer, and makes a decent kraut.
Rachel Glicksman (New Orleans) is Deputy Director of Challah for Hunger. During her AVODAH year in NOLA, one of her projects as a community organizer Jericho Road Episcopal Housing Initiative was to help start a community garden in the neighborhood where she was organizing.
Anabelle Harari (New Jersey) will be volunteering in Nepal this fall, working on an urban farm to ensure income generation for a local women’s group. During her last year at Mount Holyoke College, she worked for Gardening the Community, a youth based urban agriculture program in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Eliya Lavine (Berkeley) has worked with Berkeley Hillel in promoting food justice and was involved with the Berkeley Student Food Collective. She is inspired to excitedly greet every morning with the understanding that there’s sustainable, ethical, local food to be grown and distributed with accessibility and diversity in mind.
Miriam Liebman (Detroit) is a Community Organizer for the Harriet Tubman Center. She was an AVODAH Corps member in New Orleans working as an Outreach Assistant at the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center.
Miriam Leibowitz (Nashville) begins graduate studies this fall in Vanderbilt University’s Community Development and Action program. She began working as a food justice community organizer in Nashville coordinating the Re/Storing Nashville campaign at Community Food Advocates, has been a vegetarian for 19 years, and has 450 cookbooks in her kitchen.
Leora Mallach (Boston) recently co-launched Ganei Beantown: Beantown Jewish Gardens. 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.
Suzie Rose (Berkeley) is an educator and advocate in the field of Jewish Environmental Education. She is currently reworking the curriculum for a Midrasha EcoJews class, working with Wilderness Torah to help organize Sukkot on the Farm, and is interested in how food, land, and agriculture connect with modern Jewish culture.
Ramona Rubin (Berkeley) is an epidemiologist, a strategic researcher and data analyst with a passion for connecting people and plants in healing relationships and a founder of Doc Green’s Healing Collective. Her vision is to create a garden and learning center to celebrate and preserve the world’s botanical heritage and knowledge.
Steffi Sass (Rockland, MD) is currently living and working on the Kayam Farm in Maryland as a summer Fellow and interning in U.S. Senator Ben Cardin’s office. She joined the food justice movement as a 14-year old working at a local, organic food store near her home, spreading the joy of consciously-grown food to customers by sampling products throughout the store.
Daniel Schaefer (Berkeley) served as an AVODAH Corps member in 2004-05 in Washington DC. He is fascinated about the centrality of food in Jewish life and thinks that food is a delicious prism to view a whole range of issues from peak oil and climate change to urban poverty and local economies.
Katy Schwalbe (New York City) is a researcher for a labor union. She has been a core volunteer with Limmud NY for the past six years and is currently co-chair of this year’s conference. She eagerly awaits the arrival of her CSA box every week and has counted over fifty uses for a rutabaga.
Aliza Wasserman (Boston) works by day for the City of Boston’s Public Health Department, advocating to change local and state laws to improve the health of Boston residents. She is the founder of Farm to Shul, a 3 year old initiative of the Moishe Kavod House that builds support for sustainable food systems among the Boston area Jewish community.