Participant Bios

Rabbi Katy Allen is the co-founder and President pro-tem of the Jewish Climate Action Network and the founder and rabbi of Ma’yan Tikvah – A Wellspring of Hope, an alternative congregation that holds services outdoors all year long. She is a board-certified and former hospital and hospice chaplain who received her ordination from the Academy for Jewish Religion NY in 2005, and who now serves as an eco-chaplain through the One Earth Collaborative.

Rabbi Guy Austrian serves as rabbi and spiritual leader of the Fort Tryon Jewish Center, an independent traditional egalitarian community in Washington Heights & Inwood, NYC. Ordained at JTS, trained at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah (CBST), B’nai Jeshurun (BJ), and the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs (JCUA), Guy brings a community organizer’s toolkit to the building of spiritual community in a historic Jewish urban neighborhood.

Rabbi Shelly Barnathan, a second career rabbi and 2015 graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, is a child of Holocaust survivors who grew up in a Modern Orthodox household. Shelly loves to blend the traditional with the creative and spiritual in Judaism in order to make the deepest, most relevant meaning possible with her fellow community members of Or Zarua.

Jeffrey Cohan is the executive director of Jewish Veg, a national nonprofit organization devoted to encouraging and helping Jews to transition to plant-based diets. Before joining the staff of Jewish Veg in 2012, Jeffrey spent 18 years in print and broadcast media and 5 years as a Jewish community relations council director.

Rabbi Robin Damsky is the founder of In the Gardens and is the rabbi of Temple Israel Miller in Gary, Indiana. Robin has a BFA in dance, is a licensed medical massage therapist, holds a Masters in Jewish education from JTS, was ordained by American Jewish University and is the mother of Sarah.

Deborah Fishman is Director of Communications for The AVI CHAI Foundation and the founder of FED (, where you are fed by delicious food, inspirational ideas, and the creative energy of others at FED. She is a Fellow in the JewVNation Fellowship of the Union for Reform Judaism’s Audacious Hospitality department, a member of the ROI Community, and was previously named one of the “36 under 36” Jews making an impact in the NYC Jewish community by the Jewish Week for her work with network-weaving.

Carla Friend holds a Master’s Degree in Music Education from NYU and a Bachelor’s in Music Education from Ithaca College. Since founding Tkiya, Carla’s impact has rapidly spread across the New York area and she is recognized as an expert in family engagement and early childhood music.

 Bob Goldfarb is the Men’s Davening Coordinator at Darkhei Noam in New York. He’s also the president of Jewish Creativity International.

Rabbi Jen Gubitz serves Temple Israel of Boston with responsibility for their Riverway Project. She is a proud product of Indiana University’s Borns Jewish Studies Program, URJ Goldman Union Camp (GUCI) and the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in New York. She loves earl grey tea, folk music, puns, and improv comedy’s mandate to always say “YES”.

Peter Horowitz grew up as a non-observant Jew who was a member of an Orthodox congregation. As a leader in Montreal’s Mile End Chavurah, he helps to provide a Jewish home for many people who would otherwise have no connection to Judaism.

Rabbi Dan Horwitz is the founding director The Well, an inclusive young adult Jewish community-building, education and spirituality outreach initiative in metro Detroit recognized by Slingshot as one of the 50 most innovative and impactful Jewish organizations in North America. Committed to lifelong learning, Dan holds a BA, 3 MAs and a JD in addition to rabbinic ordination, is an avid basketball player, violinist and hummus enthusiast.

Jared Jackson is the Founder and Executive Director of Jews in ALL Hues. Born and raised in the Philadelphia area, he is the only African-American, Jewish man to lead a Jewish social justice organization in the Western Hemisphere.

Leah Jones is the co-founder of TBD Minyan in Chicago, a current Wexner Heritage Fellow and a long-standing member of the ROI Community. When she isn’t rearranging her living room to fit a few more people over for dinner, she is the Vice President of Health Care Engagement at Olson Engage. 

Steffi Aronson Karp created the annual LimmudBoston conference celebrating Jewish culture and lifelong learning using tech skills, social media and a few shekels for the 501(c)3 application. She strives to strengthen the Jewish community through social and collaborative learning opportunities.

David Krantz is the co-founder and president of Aytzim: Ecological Judaism and serves on the board of directors of Interfaith Moral Action on Climate as well as Arizona Interfaith Power & Light. He is a National Science Foundation IGERT doctoral researcher and Wrigley Fellow at Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability.

Greg Lawrence grew up a Reform Jew in New Jersey and became a Pluralistic, Egalitarian, Reform Jewish Renewal adult. Greg brings a passion for building community, expertise in transpersonal psychology, and experience with various innovative Slingshot organizations to the helm of The Tribe, Shalom Baby, Shalom Family, all initiatives of Temple Beth Sholom in Miami Beach.

Stephanie Levin oversees the Gan Tzedek/Justice Garden at the Peninsula Jewish Community Center in Foster City, CA. Stephanie is passionate about relationship-based programming especially within the areas of Jewish Family Education, Special Needs Education and Inclusion, Service Learning and Early Childhood Education.

William Levin is the co-founder of Alliance Community Reboot (ACRe) which is planning to re-settle 60 acres of historic farmland near where he was born and raised in Vineland, NJ. Much like his great-great grandfather, Moses Bayuk, founder of the original Alliance Colony in the late 19th century, Levin is now returning to his roots by creating ACRe.

Rabbi Aaron Levy is a leader in the revival of downtown Jewish life in Toronto, where he is the founding director of Makom: Creative Downtown Judaism, a diverse grassroots community fusing Jewish tradition and progressive values through spirituality, learning, and culture since 2009. Ordained in 2004 in the first graduating class of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, he is also an avid drummer, cyclist, hiker, and vegan.

Jeff Levy-Lyons is squarely focused on working to address the existential threat of climate change. He works with the People’s Climate Movement, GreenFaith, and Jewish Climate Action Network in New York City.

Naomi Malka is the director of the Adas Israel Community Mikvah in Washington D.C. and the founder of Tevila b’Teva: Immersion in Nature, a program that facilitates outdoor immersions at Jewish summer camps. Naomi is the creator of a groundbreaking program called “Bodies of Water,” which introduces kids ages 10+ to mikvah as a tool for positive body image and healthy decision making from a Jewish perspective.

Leora Mallach is an experiential learner at heart and educator by training. The co-founder and director of Ganei Beantown in greater Boston, along the way she has led month long backpacking trips for teenagers, lived and traveled abroad, created a batik art business, worked in an auto-garage, gear shop and on a farm, embarked on numerous kitchen experiments, developing a taste for olives and a love of tea, built gardens at schools and synagogues, bought a house and never stopped being amazed at the wonders of the natural world.

Elan Margulies is the Director of Education for Hazon. In that position, he aims to inspire joy and reverence for the natural world by introducing students to earth-based Jewish traditions and the wonders right outside their door. In his free time, Elan enjoys finding wild edibles, brewing ginger beer and working with wood and metal.

Kohenet Annie Matan is the Founder and Spiritual Leader of Matanot Lev (Gifts of the Heart) in Toronto. She is passionate about creating and facilitating meaningful Jewish experiences that are accessible and open to people of all backgrounds and is known for weaving contemporary and traditional Jewish wisdom, liturgy and music to ground and enliven the workshops, rituals, and unservices that she facilitates.

Elad Nehorai is a writer mainly known for his work on his blog Pop Chassid, as well as a digital media strategist for Clal. Most importantly, he considers his mission in life to create communities that serve the unmet needs of people dying to connect with those who share their internal dreams and aspirations.

Rabbi Dev Noily serves as senior rabbi at Kehilla Community Synagogue in Oakland, California. They are interested in the intersections of spiritual practice and justice-building.

Kohenet Stacey-Sephirah Oshkello is the co-founder of Living Tree Alliance, a three-fold initiative that includes a residential co-housing community, organic working lands farm, and a seasonal, earth-based Jewish enrichment program. Stacey-Sephirah organizes festivals, family holiday events and educational programs that integrate the seasons with the Hebrew calendar and foster transformational experiences.

Kasey Passen comes to OneTable as the Associate Director of Hubs with over 14 years of culinary and hospitality expertise. Based in Chicago, she is passionate about bringing people around the table for meaningful, transformational experiences and feels Shabbat dinner is the perfect avenue for this exploration.

Jon Adam Ross has performed in over 90 cities around the globe and is the founding producing artist of The In[heir]itance Project – a national devised-theater series inspired by sacred texts. Credits include: a dog, a 2,000 year-old bird, an elderly orthodox Jew, a spurned housewife, a horse, a British naval officer in 1700’s Jamaica, a goat, Jesus Christ, a lawyer, a hapless police chief, and a cyclops.

Rabbi Isaiah Rothstein is the Rabbi-in-Residence at Hazon and Be’chol Lashon. With his spare time, Isaiah is writing a musical on Judaism and the Bible, inspired by Lin Manuel Miranda’s Broadway Musical “Hamilton.”

Rabbi Jan Salzman received smicha through ALEPH and created Ruach HaMaqom in Burlington, VT in 2016. She has been a long-time Jewish educator and resource person in rural Vermont and is a certified organic farmer.

Irene Lehrer Sandalow is the founder and director of SketchPad, Chicago’s Jewish Innovation Space. Irene has been a Jewish communal professional for over 15 years including working for the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, The Jewish Education Project, the Union for Reform Judaism.

Rabbi Regina Sandler-Phillips, MSW, MPH is the founding executive director of WAYS OF PEACE Community Resources, the editor of Generous Justice: Jewish Wisdom for Just-Giving, and author of Counting Days: From Liberation to Revelation for Jews in Recovery. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, The Forward, Tablet Magazine, The Jewish Week, and Newsday.

Ahava Rosenthal is the Director of Parenting Through a Jewish Lens at Hebrew College in Newton MA. She is a lifelong educator who has worked in a variety of settings including public, supplementary and day school education.

Rabbi Dana Saroken has worked as a congregational rabbi at Beth El Congregation in Baltimore for the past ten years. She is also the founder and spiritual director of the Soul Center – a spiritual start up that focuses on mindfulness, healing, rejuvenation & growth – all with a Jewish twist – for the Baltimore Jewish community and beyond.

Ruth Schapira is the Director of Leadership and Training of the Mussar Institute. Based in Holland, PA, she blogs about leadership development and outreach strategies related to the Jewish community at

Misha Shulman is the founding director of the School for Creative Judaism, a religious school and community for unaffiliated Jewish families in New York City. Born in Israel and currently studying for the rabbinate, Misha is a playwright, theater director and actor with an MFA from Brooklyn College.

Craig Taubman’s music has been an inspiration to the Jewish community for over 40 years. In 2013, Craig purchased the first home of Sinai Temple in downtown Los Angeles creating the Pico Union Project – a multi faith, cultural arts center dedicated to the principle that we should strive to love our neighbors as we wish to be loved.

Staff and Guests

National Stakeholders

Joshua Avedon is a social entrepreneur, educator, facilitator, philanthropic advisor, and executive coach. As co-founder and CEO of Jumpstart Labs, a global research and design lab for creative philanthropy and social change, he has spent the past decade writing, teaching, and advocating around the globe for philanthropic and programmatic innovation within the Jewish community and beyond.

Rabbi Yafa Chase oversees grants and programs in Western MA for the Harold Grinspoon Foundation. Over the last thirty years she has developed and directed organizations and programs serving orphans, refugees and vulnerable children around the world.

Dr. Bill Robinson is the Dean of the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education at JTS. Over the last 24 years, he has revitalized legacy organizations (currently and at the Jewish Education Project), worked on building an understanding of the core elements of Judaism common from Modern Orthodoxy through Reform (at the Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life), and has worked in a congregation, a Hillel, a federation, and a national change initiative (CIJE).

Guest Presenter 

Rev. Jennifer Bailey is an ordained minister, public theologian, and emerging national leader in multi-faith movement for justice. She is the Founding Executive Director of the Faith Matters Network, a new interfaith community equipping faith leaders to challenge structural inequality in their communities. Jennifer comes to this work with nearly a decade of experience at nonprofits combatting intergenerational poverty. An Ashoka FellowNathan Cummings Foundation FellowOn Being Fellow and Truman Scholar, Jennifer earned degrees from Tufts University and Vanderbilt University Divinity School. Named one of 15 Faith Leaders to Watch by the Center for American Progress, Rev. Bailey is an ordained itinerant elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. 

Professional Staff

Hadar Cohen oversees Kenissa’s national mapping project. She is a graduate of Mechon Hadar, is a Jewish educator and serves as a staff person for Moishe House retreats. She is also a program associate of At the Well.

Rabbi Sid Schwarz is the project director of the Kenissa Network. Rabbi Sid is a rabbi, educator and social entrepreneur who has successfully founded and led several Jewish organizations and national projects. As the founder/president of PANIM: The Institute for Jewish Leadership and Values for 21 years, Rabbi Sid pioneered a methodology that integrated Jewish learning, Jewish values and social responsibility. Using his experience as the founding rabbi of Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation in Bethesda, MD, he has played a leadership role in the synagogue transformation movement for close to 20 years. He is currently a Senior Fellow at Hazon and he blogs regularly at

Amanda Silver is Kenissa’s training director. A consultant, trainer, and executive coach, her unique approach draws on expertise in mindfulness, emotional-intelligence, and strength-based mindsets. Amanda’s clients include higher education institutions, public school districts, social service agencies, advocacy organizations, faith-based institutions and entrepreneurs. Amanda previously served as the Director of the Selah Leadership Program and Network at Bend the Arc.

Dr. Robert Weinberg oversees Kenissa’s network of Communities of Practice. A Ph.D. in organizational behavior, Rob spent 15 years as the director of the Experiments in Congregational Education of HUC-JIR. He also has been the project director for HUC’s Jim Joseph Educational Initiative.