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 Founding Director of Shoresh, 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, Risa was awarded the Covenant Foundation’s Pomegranate Prize for exceptionalism in Jewish Education. Risa currently lives in Toronto with her partner, Mati, and her children, Ayda and Gavi. Risa believes that growing food sustainably is an expression of her deeply-rooted Jewish ethics and her favourite vegetable is the beet.
Sabrina Malach (on maternity leave until November 2021)
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 is Shoresh’s resident beekeeper and her favourite vegetable is cauliflower.
Allie joined the Shoresh team as Managing Director in 2020. Allie is a social and eco-justice advocate and loves spending her spare time crafting, hiking, canoeing, gardening, and baking sourdough bread. She got her MSc in Human Rights from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and has since dedicated her work to empowering youth, refugees, and women in Canada and internationally through innovative and sustainable community-led projects. Her most recent work experiences include coordinating a national resettlement program for Government Assisted Refugees at the YMCA of Greater Toronto and working with women artisans in remote migrant communities in India at RangSutra Crafts through the Aga Khan Foundation Canada’s International Youth Fellowship Program. Allie loves working at Shoresh, combining her passion for social justice and environmental advocacy. Allie truly likes all vegetables, but her favourite vegetables are beets and cauliflower.
After graduating from York University with a B.A. in Psychology, Mira Ellis participated in the Adamah Jewish farming fellowship in Connecticut in 2018. They are a justice-oriented Queer Jewish community organizer, a previous resident at Moishe House Toronto, and co-founder of Eshel Toronto. Prior to joining the Shoresh team, they worked and learned at Jewish day camps and Synagogue children’s programs throughout the city, and are passionate about accessible, inclusive, and fun Jewish education. When they’re not exploring the ravine systems with children, Mira Ellis can be found growing plants, studying Torah, organizing liberatory community events, or dreaming about mycelium.
Program and Event Coordinator
Rachel is an enthusiastic Educator and Advocate, with a passion for Art, Food, Cycling & Gardens. She holds a M.Ed. in Social Justice Education from the University of Toronto, where she focused her work on exploring othered communities, identity formation & childhood autonomy. Rachel’s background is in both youth engagement and arts education, where she has many amazing opportunities to build her skills, including intensive art education internships & time working both with Jewish day camps and Conservative synagogues in the GTA. Along with her work with Shoresh Rachel is also a Family Mediator working with diverse Families across Ontario. Rachel has never met a vegetable she dislikes, but her favourite are Cucumbers and Tomatoes.