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Our dedicated staff and board members represent a broad alliance of Jews from across the political and religious spectra who are dedicated to working toward a sustainable future.

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Staff, Board of Directors and Israeli Representatives

Rabbi Michael Cohen

Rabbi Michael Cohen, co-founder of the Green Zionist AllianceThe director of special projects and former executive director of Friends of the Arava Institute, Rabbi Michael Cohen is a founding faculty member of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies. He is also the vice president of global resource development for the Arava Power Company, which works to make solar power the main energy source for southern Israel and Jordan. Previously, Michael served as president of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association and as pulpit rabbi at the Israel Congregation of Manchester, Vt., where he remains the rabbi emeritus. Michael is a Vermont Public Radio commentator and the author of numerous articles. He also wrote a novella, "Einstein's Rabbi." For his role in co-founding Aytzim, Michael was named a Jewish Community Hero.

Dr. Orr Karassin

Dr. Orr Karassin of the Green Zionist AllianceDr. Orr Karassin holds a PhD in law from Bar Ilan University, an LLM magna cum laude from Tel Aviv University and an LLB from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She has held the position of visiting research fellow at the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science and she is currently a lecturer at Sapir College Law School in Sderot, where she is responsible for the law-and-environment program. Orr was awarded several prizes for her doctoral work, including the Rothschild Scholarship for early-career researchers, and the Wolf Foundation Prize for excelling doctoral students. For many years, Orr was one of the Aytzim representatives on the board of directors of Keren Kayemet L'Yisrael, where she heads the board's Students and Research Grants Committee. She is also the chairperson of the Sustainable Development Council of Kfar Saba. Orr was the first executive director of Life and Environment, the umbrella group for Israeli environmental organizations. She was appointed by the Israeli government to serve as a charter member of the National Committee for Environmental Quality. Additionally, Orr was among the founders of Green Course, Israel's largest environmental organization for students. Orr is the author of two books on environmental policy and has published widely on environmental policy and law both in academic and non-academic journals. She lives in Kvar Saba with her husband and their two young children.

David Krantz

David Krantz is a co-founder, president and chairperson of Aytzim. He serves on the board of directors of Interfaith Moral Action on Climate; on the board of directors of Arizona Interfaith Power & Light; and on the founding team of the Interfaith Oceans. David also is a National Science Foundation IGERT doctoral researcher and Wrigley fellow at Arizona State University's School of Sustainability. He previously served as a leadership fellow at the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, on the cabinet of the American Zionist Movement. and as a global-justice fellow at American Jewish World Service. Additionally, David is the editor of the Jewish Energy Guide, a co-founder of Jewcology, and the co-founder of Shomrei Breishit: Rabbis and Cantors for the Earth. He earned three master's degrees, including one in journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, and two through a Steinberg Fellowship at New York University, where he studied Judaism and environmental policy. David has spoken about Israeli, Jewish and interfaith environmentalism on four continents.

Susan Levine

Susan Levine is Aytzim's volunteer and intern coordinator. She enjoys being part of an international team working to green Israel. Susan holds a master's degree in education.

Netta Schmeidler

Netta Schmeidler is Aytzim's head Hebrew translator. She works as a product executive in the Israeli high-tech industry. Netta holds master's degrees from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and from the Tel Aviv University. She lives in Herzliya with her husband and two children.

Dr. Richard H. Schwartz

The project manager of Aytzim's Green Zionist Alliance Israel Environmental Forum, Dr. Richard H. Schwartz is also the president of the Society of Ethical and Religious Vegetarians, the president emeritus of the Jewish Vegetarians of North America and a professor emeritus of mathematics at the City University of New York's College of Staten Island. Richard is also the author of several books, including "Judaism and Global Survival" and "Judaism and Vegetarianism." His work inspired the documentary film, "A Sacred Duty: Applying Jewish Values to Heal the World."

Dr. Alon Tal

Dr. Alon Tal, co-founder of the Green Zionist AllianceDr. Alon Tal has degrees in political science from the University of North Carolina and law from Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He completed his doctoral studies at Harvard University, where he served as an adjunct faculty member from 1989 to 1998. He also has taught environmental law at Tel Aviv University, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and University of Otago in New Zealand. In 1990 Alon founded Adam Teva v'Din – the Israel Union for Environmental Defense, a public-interest advocacy group which is now Israel's second largest environmental organization. In 1996 he founded the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, where he served as director, and more recently as director of research. Alon has worked as a consultant to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and as an assistant to the attorney general of Israel. A founding board member of Friends of the Earth, Middle East, Alon served as chairman of Life and Environment, Israel's umbrella group for environmental organizations, from 1999 to 2004, and for almost 20 years he served as one of the Aytzim representatives on the board of directors of Keren Kayemet L'Yisrael. In 2005 Alon was awarded the Charles Bronfman Prize and in 1997 he won the Henry Ford European Conservation Award. In 2008 he co-founded Israel's Green Movement Party and today he serves as its chairman. Considered by many to be the leading environmentalist in Israeli history, Alon is a co-founder of Aytzim.

Rabbi Rain Zohav

Rabbi Rain Zohav is the director of Jews of the Earth. A lifelong activist with a history of organizing around issues of racial, economic and environmental justice, Rain answered the call for clergy to support the water protectors at Standing Rock. She also has taught two series of classes on the topic of “Social Action Education as Spiritual Practice.”


Aytzim Presidents & Chairpersons

Rabbi Michael Cohen


Noam Dolgin


David Krantz



Aytzim Administrators & Executive Directors

Alison Hill


Hal Klopper


Noam Dolgin



Aytzim Co-Founders

* Primary co-founder

Mara Baylis

Joseph Kruger

Stacey Berkowitz Popovsky

Alison Laichter

Dr. Mark Chernaik

Rabbi Nina Mandel

Rabbi Michael M. Cohen *

Beth Meshel

Dr. Devra Davis

Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg

Noam Dolgin

Rabbi Aaron Philmus

Barry Elman

Dr. James Schauer

Nicole Hakimi

Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb

Tara B. Harned

Dr. Jonathan Schorsch

Alison Hill

Dr. Eilon Schwartz *

Steve Jacobson

Dr. Alon Tal *

Aliza Kline

Adam Werbach

Mark Koffman

Tara Wolfson

David Krantz

Stefanie Zelkind


Former Members of Aytzim's Board of Directors

Eli Bass

Danielle Luttenberg Meitiv

Rabbi Howard Cohen

Carole Maurel

Moriah Cohen

Liore Milgrom-Gartner (née Milgrom-Elcott)

Noam Dolgin

Dr. Daniel Orenstein

Rabbi Matthew Earne

Sybil Sanchez

Lauren Freedman Whittlesey

Jonah Schein

Lisa Friedman

Ariana Silverman

Dr. Mirele Goldsmith

Hadar Susskind

Ami Greener

Rabbi Lawrence Troster

Hal Klopper

Lee Wallach

Rabbi Amy Levin

Rebecca Weaver

Nancy Lipsey

Dr. Daniel Ziskin



Rabbi Lawrence Troster, z"l

Before his passing in 2019, Rabbi Lawrence Troster was the coordinator of Shomrei Breishit: Rabbis and Cantors for the Earth, and was one of the leading Jewish eco-theologians and religious environmental leaders in the United States. He was the rabbinic scholar-in-residence of GreenFaith, the N.J.-based interfaith environmental coalition, and the former creator and director of the GreenFaith’s Fellowship program. He also was a member of Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project Leadership Corps, the rabbi-in-residence at the Iona Spirituality at Iona College, the rabbinic adviser for Hazon, and a rabbinic fellow for the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life. He published numerous articles and  lectured widely on eco-theology, bio-ethics, and Judaism and modern science. He authored of "Mekor Hayyim: A Source Book on Water and Judaism," and he is also the author of the chapter on Jewish environment ethics in "The Observant Life: The Wisdom of Conservative Judaism for Contemporary Jews."

Learn more about Rabbi Lawrence Troster by clicking here.



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