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Mission & History


Rooted in Jewish wisdom and practice, Shoresh's environmental programs respond to contemporary food and ecological issues.  Through experiential education and action, Shoresh creates meaningful Jewish life and builds a more sustainable and inspired community.    


In 2009, Shoresh opened the Kavanah Garden as its flagship programming space. The Kavanah Garden hosts over 1400 community members annually through our educational and hands-on programs, workshops, and events, producing over 500 pounds of fresh vegetables each season for community members in need.  In addition to programs at Shoresh's Kavanah Garden, we facilitate workshops and events at schools and shuls across the GTA, host an annual Jewish Food Conference at the Miles Nadal JCC, coordinate a network of Jewish Community Support Agriculture Programs, and are developing a rural centre for sustainable land-based Judaism at Bela Farm in Hillsburgh, Ontario!    


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Risa Alyson Cooper
Executive Director



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.  Risa believes that growing food sustainably is an expression of her deeply-rooted Jewish ethics.  Her favourite vegetable is the beet.



Sabrina Malach
Director of Community Outreach



Sabrina is a professional shmoozer, networker and pollinator-protector! She started 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 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, she got an M.A in Environmental Studies from York University with a focus on pollinator protection in urban centres.  Sabrina loves working as the Director of Community Outreach for Shoresh and looks forward to helping the nurture organization and all of its amazing projects (especially the honey bee hives at Bela Farm).


Tamar Maerim Yunger
Interim Executive Director

Bio coming....



Alysse Mathalon
Jewish Environmental Educator


Alysse graduated from Dalhousie University in May 2013, with a Bsc in Marine Biology and Oceanography, combined honors program. Her interests lie in communicating relevant scientific knowledge to public audiences, with a particular emphasis on youth. She is passionate about respecting and protecting the planet from damage that is caused when we extract its resources, whether it be food, water, shelter, or energy. She believes the most effective way to ensure a healthy planet is through education, community collaboration, and by creating goals! Alysse is passionate about reducing human pollution to the planet. I wrote and published a scientific research paper in the Marine Pollution Bulletin about microscopic particles of plastic in the North Atlantic Ocean. All of her samples, from sediments to mussels, were contaminated with microplastics. 


Yehuda Nestel
Administrative and Program Assistant




Yehuda is a passionate food justice activist, permaculturalist, and organic farmer. Born in Tel-Aviv, Yehuda grew up in Toronto before leaving to study organic agriculture at the University of Guelph. After completing three seasons apprenticing through the SW Ontario C.R.A.F.T. program,Yehuda worked at several CSA farms in Ontario before starting Plowshare Farm in the Fall of 2010, where he grew 4+ acres of organic vegetables, farmed using a team of horses, and raised chickens and cattle. In 2014Yehuda returned to Toronto, and is thrilled to be a part of the Shoresh team, working as the Administrative and Program Assistant. In his spare time, Yehuda loves to play in the dirt. 


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Board of Directors


Dr. Michael Schecter 
Dr. Andrea Most 
Rabbi Aaron Levy 
Alexandra Kuperman

Carolyn Lefebvre Ruby 

David Sadowski

Sam Mizrahi

Zeke Kaplan 

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Partners and Donors


Shoresh thanks all of the organizations, foundations, corporations, and government departments that have supported us over the past several years. 


We would also like to acknowledge with gratitude the significant contributions made by all of our individual donors, and the very generous in-kind support we have received from individuals and community partners.



Shoresh is a participant in Genesis: UJA's Centre for Jewish Innovation.  


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