Risa Alyson Cooper
Risa is an ardent educator, environmentalist, and urban homesteader! She completed her B.A. Honours at Queen’s University in Comparative Religious Studies, and her M.A. at the Centre for the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto, focusing on Contemporary Jewish Environmental Ethics. Upon graduating, Risa moved to rural Connecticut where she worked as a Jewish environmental educator at the Teva Learning Centre for three years. She then transitioned into small-scale organic farming as a member of the Adamah Jewish Farming Fellowship where she grew vegetables on a four-acre farm, worked in a raw goat-milk dairy, and dabbled in the art of fermentation. In 2008, Risa returned to her native Toronto to work as the Director of Shoresh and to establish the Kavanah Garden, bringing together her experience in Jewish outdoor education with her love for Canadian soil and the plants and people that it sustains. In 2010, Risa was profiled as a Woman to Watch by PresenTense Magazine and in 2012 she was honoured to be selected as a fellow in the prestigious Joshua Venture Group Dual Investment Fellowship. In 2013, shortly following the birth of her daughter Ayda, Risa was awarded the Covenant Foundation’s Pomegranate Prize for exceptionalism in Jewish Education. Risa believes that growing food sustainably is an expression of her deeply-rooted Jewish ethics. Her favourite vegetable is the beet.
Director of Engagement
Sabrina is a professional shmoozer, networker and pollinator-protector! Sabrina began working with Shoresh in 2011 after spending six years working and volunteering in the Jewish Food Movement in New York and Israel. She participated in the Adamah Jewish Farming Fellowship in 2005, graduated from the Eco-Activist Beit Midrash in Jerusalem in 2006, and worked as the program assistant for Hazon from 2006-2007. Upon returning to Toronto, Sabrina got an M.A in Environmental Studies from York University with a focus on pollinator protection in urban centres. In 2010, Sabrina was awarded the Canadian Pollinator Advocacy Award from the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign, and in 2014 she was selected to participate in TENT: Food NYC, a week-long program exploring food and Jewish culture in New York City. Sabrina’s favourite vegetable is currently the humble yet nutritious turnip.
Interim Managing Director
Jared is an outdoor enthusiast, nutritionist, and shameless idealist. He completed a Bachelor of Commerce degree at Dalhousie University. While in school, Jared worked for a carsharing service, helping to reduce the number of vehicles on the road. He proceeded to take a managerial role for two more carsharing services in Canada, keeping environmental ethics as a core motivation. Recently, he was inspired to go back to school to become a Certified Nutritional Practitioner from the Institute of Holistic Nutrition. He is extremely passionate about the importance of eating healthy food from environmentally sustainable sources. Jared has volunteered for numerous causes including organic farming in Israel, rainforest protection in Ecuador, and food security locally in Toronto. Jared is constantly having “wow” moments in nature and is thrilled to be sharing them with the community at Shoresh. His favourite vegetable is the highly nutritious kale.
Managing Director (currently on Maternity Leave)
Jodi is a passionate mother, wife and professional who strives to find value and meaning in both her personal and professional life. Over the last 10 years, she has provided success and growth to various Jewish organizations in the Canadian Jewish community. Holding both programming and management positions at: Canadian Young Judaea, Canada Israel Experience, The Bronfman Israel Experience Centre in Montreal and The House. She loves to teach and travel and has had the privilege of engaging and leading hundreds of participants in meaningful experiences on trips through Birthright, Westcoast and the March of the living. She recently pursued another passion of hers and received her certification as a life coach. Jodi believes strongly that every individual has the potential to impact and change their lives and the world. Working at Shoresh allows her the opportunity to grow and take steps in that direction.
Youth and Family Program Coordinator
Maya is an enthusiastic environmental and health advocate. After receiving a B.Es at York University, she completed an MPH at Queen’s University. Maya has been leading a range of children’s programs for over 10 years, from swimming lessons to camp activities. She developed her connection to nature along with her Jewish identity as a camper at Camp Shalom, where she later returned as a counsellor. Most recently, she worked as a mentor at the P.I.N.E. Project day camp teaching wilderness skills, inspiring a connection to nature and building resilience in children. Maya is excited about enhancing individual and community wellbeing through Judaism and a connection to our ecosystem. Her favourite vegetable is the eggplant because of its diversity as a food.
Event and Curriculum Coordinator
Tiferet has transitioned over the past nine years from excited Shoresh volunteer to full-time staff member. In 2010, she began working for the City of Toronto Parks and Recreation, developing community programs in city parks. Her work at the Dufferin Grove Farmer’s Market and Community Garden sparked a desire to provide opportunities for nature connection in an urban context. Upon entering University of Toronto, Tiferet was awarded the Victoria College Vari Scholarship in recognition of her passion for education. Since 2011, she has freelanced as an educator in the Toronto Jewish community for organizations including City Shul, The First Narayever Congregation, and Makom Creative Downtown Judaism and has been invited as a guest educator in the Toronto District School Board. In 2013, she worked as a counselor at Eden Village, a Jewish farming camp in New York State. In 2014, she developed the Eco-Program for Camp Wahanowin. In 2016, Tiferet graduated with an B.A in Diaspora and Transnational Studies and Jewish Studies from the University of Toronto. Much to the confusion of her grade one teacher (who had never heard of it), Tiferet’s favourite vegetable has always been chard!
Chavva-Tal is a student at George Brown College, having studied Early Childhood Education and recently graduated from ASL and Deaf Studies, and she is now pursuing Child and Youth Counselling. Chavva-Tal’s passions about promoting urban environmental sustainability and food insecurity awareness are shown through her work with GoodFood Help and Project Fresh; working with low income citizens of the Greater Toronto Area. She nurtures her Jewish Identity through participation in Toronto’s jewish community events, and facilitating workshops that bridge the gap about Environmental Education and Spirituality. Chavva-Tal’s favourite vegetable is Brussel Sprouts, prepared in any shape or form!