Rabbi Yonatan Neril
Founder & Director of Jewish Eco Seminars
Rabbi Yonatan Neril founded and directs The Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development (ICSD) and its Jewish Eco Seminars branch. He grew up in California and completed a B.A. and M.A. at Stanford University with a focus on global environmental issues.
During his studies, he conducted research in India on renewable energy and in Mexico on genetically modified corn. In 2003 he came to Israel and studied at several yeshivot and received rabbinic ordination from Rabbi Zalman Nechemiah Goldberg of Jerusalem.
For six years he has consulted with the Jewish environmental organization, Canfei Nesharim, as well as Jewcology, during which time he co-edited and was the lead contributor to two Jewish environmental publications, including the ebook Uplifting People and Planet: 18 Essential Jewish Teachings on the Environment.
Rabbi Neril was a Dorot Israel Fellow and a PresenTense Global Institute and Scale Track fellow. He has led dozens of Jewish Eco Seminars programs in Israel and North America, in forests, synagogues, and urban ecology sites. He lives with his wife, Shana, and two children, in Jerusalem.
Marcos completed a B.A. in architecture and urbanism at the Iberoamericana University in Mexico City, and an M.A. in environmental studies at Tel Aviv University, with a focus on arid lands. He founded and co-directed the Urban Environmental Collective (Colectivo Urbano Ambiental), an international platform of professionals who aim to promote, coordinate, implement and operate environmental systems through urban planning and architecture.
He also founded Global Woods, a company dedicated to the commercialization of certified wood, from Forest Stewardship Council, LEED and Global Relief organizations. Prior to that he worked as a project manager for CAPA Lab, a think tank focused on generating sustainable urban development proposals for the area of the peninsula of Baja California Sur, Mexico.
In addition, he taught seminars on urban projects at the Iberoamericana University. He lives with his wife and two children in Jerusalem, and likes studying Torah, exploring ecosystems through trail running, and practicing chi kung.
Aharon Ariel Lavi
Aharon Ariel Lavi is the founder director of the Nettiot Intentional Communities Network, reengaging Haredi Ba’aley Teshuva (Returnees) into Israeli society. He is also founder of Garin Shuva – A Jewish Eco-Intentional-community in the North- Western Negev and member of the National Council of Intentional Communities steering committee.
Aharon is Founder and Director of the Hitzim social project in the Negev and serves as the Business Development manager at the Aatachlit center for Ethiopian Jewery agriculture and tradition and also used to work for the National Union of Israeli Students as a researcher and project manager.
In addition, he edited a book on Judaism, Society and Econimics and wrote over 100 articles dealing with Judaism, Ecnoimics, Social Justice, Environmentalism and more, and also participated in the Halihcot Olam center for Judaism and Environmentalism.
Aharon studies for a Master’s Degree in Science, Technology & Society at Bar-Ilan University and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics & Geography from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He lives with his wife and two children at Shuva, and like studying Torah, riding his bikes and practicing Tai-Chi.
Tuvia Aronson grew up in Toronto. He studied at Yeshivot Kerem BeYavne and Ma’aleh Adumim in Israel, as well as Yeshiva University (Philosophy & Judaic Studies), Glendon College (Existentialism & Phenomenology), and Wurzweiler School of Social Work.
After starting his career as an informal educator, canoe trip leader, basketball coach, and school social worker, he taught Judaic studies in day and high schools for several years in Boston and Toronto. At that point, Tuvia moved outdoors to serve as an instructor and then lead educator at the Teva Learning Center, the leading Jewish environmental education center in the US.
Before making Aliya in 2002, Tuvia co-founded the Jewish Nature Centre of Canada known as Torat HaTeva. Tuvia worked for many years as a teacher of Jewish history and the Land of Israel through experiential trips at the Alexander Muss High School in Israel.
He has also served as a Jewish Environmental consultant for many groups including: SPNI, Bar Ilan University Student Union, Alona TALI school in Amikam, Teva Ivri, Festival Bereishit, Bumbamela, etc. Tuvia is married to Panteha Haverim Aronson and they are blessed with three children.
Rabbi Shaul Judelman
Rabbi Shaul Judelman is a native of Seattle, Washington who has been living in Israel since 2000. He arrived in Israel after completing his undergraduate studies at Pitzer College and received RCA ordination from Yeshiva Bat Ayin in 2007.
Since 2005 he has been the director of the Eco-Activist Beit Midrash, an Israel program focused on deepening connection to Israel and Judaism for young people from all backgrounds through Jewish textual study, community service, and tiyulim.
He has taught and guided in numerous frameworks to both young Israelis and English speakers (Birthright, Livnot, Bnei Akiva, Limmud) about Israel’s environment and Judaism.
He currently lives with his wife in the Gush Etzion where he enjoys gardening, hiking, and playing music.
Rabbi Fivel Yedidya Glasser
Hailing from a small town in New York State with lots of trees and not too many Jews, he completed his BA at Dartmouth College, a Masters of Theological Studies at Harvard University, and served as the Jewish Chaplain and a Visiting Professor in Jewish Studies at Colgate University.
In 2001, he moved to Israel and has since studied in several yeshivot including Shappel’s, Sulam Yaakov, Bat Ayin and Hamivtar, having earned smicha with Rav Shlomo Riskin and Rav Zalman Nechemia Goldberg.
An avid outdoorsman and ski instructor, Fivel led the pilot mountaineering program for Derech HaTeva in Alaska, ran the outdoors program and taught at Yeshivat Torat Chaim in Jerusalem, served as the Rosh Teva (Nature Director) and teacher at Camp Yavneh in New Hampshire, and was the Beit Midrash Coordinator and head of Outdoor Programs for the Brandeis Collegiate Institute (at the American Jewish University).
He is married to a wonderful Israeli woman, and they live in Gush Etzion with their two sons and baby daughter.
Batel Meshel-Spivack grew up hiking in the Redwood forests of Northern California amongst other places across the US.
She was an active member of Young Judaea (YJ), the Zionist youth movement of Hadassah, and fulfilled the YJ dream of making aliyah in 2004.
After staffing the YJ Year Course Shalem program, she joined the first run of the Eco-Activist Beit Midrash at Yeshivat Simchat Shlomo in Fall 2005.
For the last five years, Batel has worked for Derech Hateva as the marketing and recruiting coordinator and internship advisor, where her summers were spent on the Israel National Trail Teen Adventure program.
She holds a BA from Stern College for Women in Political Science and currently lives in New Jersey with her husband and daughter.
Jared Goldfarb originally hails from the woods of New Hampshire, where there were many more cows than Jews. He later found himself studying at Brandeis University where, ironically enough, there were plenty of Jews… but no cows.
Jared did the only sensible thing and majored in Russian Theatre. Upon completion of his studies, Jared traveled the world organizing international economic development conferences for three years, at which point he returned to Boston to work for the Jewish Federation as the Coordinator of the 1995 General Assembly.
In the summer of 1996, inspired by a rekindled connection to Judaism and Jewish community, Jared moved to Jerusalem and studied at Pardes, the Hartman Institute, and the National Tourguide Course, from which he received a license for tour guiding.
Since then, Jared served for eight years as the Program Director of Ta Shma: Pluralistic Jewish Learning, and works as a freelance Jewish/Israel educator for numerous institutions around the country, including Jewish Federations of North America, Melitz Centers for Jewish-Zionist Education, and the Inter-religious Coordinating Council of Israel.
He and his partner, Elisa, live in Jerusalem with their three adorable kids, where he is a theatre addict and an environmental activist.
Yael Ukeles, Founder and Director of the not-for-profit programs Teva Adventure (since 2002) and Derech Hateva (since 2004), has an extensive background in teaching about Judaism, nature, and the environment.
As part of Teva Adventure, Yael has lead wilderness programs in the Rockies for teens with NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) and through Derech Hateva throughout Israel.
In the summer of 2002, Yael was a recipient of a Cummings Fellowship in Jewish environmental education and directed a residential camp Jewish nature program.
She has served on the education committee of Canfei Nesharim and was a Senior Fellow at ATID for the 2004-6 programs. Since the Fall of 2005, Yael has taught part-time at Simchat Shlomo’s Eco-Beit Midrash program where she developed the program’s curriculum with a team of educators from around Israel.
Yael is a certified rappelling guide, Wilderness First Responder and a trained facilitator. A graduate of University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School of Communication and Midreshet Lindenbaum, she began her career in TV production and migrated to web interface design and product marketing management where she worked in several companies in Israel and the US.