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 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.
Director of Programs
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.
Youth and Family Program Associate
Chavva-Tal is a graduate of George Brown College, having studied Early Childhood Education and ASL/Deaf Studies. Since, having worked with Save A Child Heart in Holon, Israel, where she was working with children and their families, as well as developing an accessible educational curriculum. Chavva-Tal is a graduate of the Tikkun Olam program out of BINA; Secular Yeshiva- Tel Aviv, focusing on social change and the interconnectivity of Judaism and our environment.
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 the Brussel Sprout, prepared in any shape or form!