Zelig’s vision for a thriving, earth-based Jewish tradition developed out of a lifetime of nature connection, Jewish leadership, and commitment to environmental advocacy. Zelig invokes mentorship, facilitation, and ceremonial tools to guide an annual cycle of land-based festivals, nature-based rites of passage, and mentorship for emerging leaders.
Zelig received rabbinic ordination from ALEPH, Alliance for Jewish Renewal, supported by the Wexner Graduate Fellowship, and was previously ordained Maggid by Rabbi Zalman Schacter-Shalomi ztz”l. He holds a Masters in Jewish Studies from the Graduate Theological Union. He previously worked as an environmental lawyer protecting food and farms and has long guided groups into the wilderness.
Flora directs the Wilderness Torah’s community programs. Prior to this, she launched and managed our International Training Institute, which trained over 100 educators over the last two years, and served as Logistics Manager for festivals, youth programs, and community offerings, where she managed the inner workings of each village-building experience.
Flora previously was Farm Manager for the Regenerative Design Institute, overseeing a 17-acre educational farm and its substantial volunteer program, and completed the Eco Israel program at Chava V’Adam. Flora holds a BA from the University of Colorado. She has completed holistic nutrition training at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in 2010 and permaculture teacher training in 2011. Flora is the creator of nutritional permaculture, a new branch of the movement, and has taught in Israel and the United States.
Simcha SchwartzDevelopment Director
Simcha Schwartz is a passionate Jewish leader and co-collaborator with over 20 years of experience in Jewish education and community building. After participating in Wilderness Torah’s programs since 2010, and playing a key role on the board of directors, he is now joining as Wilderness Torah’s Director of Development, bridging his many layers of expertise and wisdom in development.
Prior to his role at Wilderness Torah, Simcha co-founded and directed the Jewish Farm School for 6 years. He has also worked and and directed programs for Hazon Inc, American Jewish World Service, Teva Learning Center, Wilderness Torah and Eden Village Camp. Simcha is an ordained clergy by The Chaplaincy Institute, and for the past several years he was employed as Chaplain and Director & Founder of Camp Heart for Vitas Healthcare.
Halley BassMarketing Manager
Halley has been in various communications roles over the past ten years. Currently, she wears many hats in the field of marketing and business, including social media content creator, graphic designer, branding consultant, and business coach for solo entrepreneurs. She has worked on campaigns for large corporations like Adobe, HP, and Sony, as well as supported smaller Jewish non-profits in the Bay Area, like Jewish Studio Project, Urban Adamah, and Moishe House.
What she loves about marketing is that it’s all about engaging with people and solving problems. It’s about finding a common language that resonates with customers, so that it’s easier to make exchanges where everyone benefits! When not doing marketing and business, Halley studies Energy Medicine at the Academy of Intuition Medicine in Sausalito, California. She is an avid spiritual seeker, and loves exploring new ways of understanding life.
Daniel SchoenYouth Programs Manager
Daniel (aka DanDan) is transitioning into the role of Youth Programs Manager this summer with the intention to support youth and families coming together as a regenerative, earth-based Jewish community.
Daniel joins the staff team after three years as a B’naiture Lead Mentor and many years building the Wilderness Torah community with his cultural creativity. He brings years of nature-connection, youth mentoring, and community facilitation to his new role. DanDan holds a BA in Nature & Culture from UC Davis and has also been a Stepping Stones mentor, Forest School Teacher, and Weaving Earth Immersion participant. He resides at Oakland’s Canticle Farm — a community practicing at the intersection of faith-based, earth-based, and social-justice-based nonviolent activism.
Ariella Bea PowersFestivals Manager
Ariella comes to the position with a passion for creating sacred spaces for prayer and devotion. Growing up in the Sierra Foothills, she spent her young life exploring the natural world.
She graduated from UC Berkeley in 2013 with a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies, focusing on Art and Social Change. She co-founded a community center in 2016, is a CA certified counselor and life coach, a professional personal organizer and an altar maker.
In her recent return to Judaism, Ariella has been inspired by the interconnectedness of Torah, earth-based practices, the cycles of the Hebrew calendar and the Sefirot. Ariella is committed to gender justice & radical inclusion, she is rejuvenated by community empowerment and devoted to being a good ancestor.
Sofia MarbachDevelopment Associate
Sofia comes to Wilderness Torah with a personal commitment to make our global community’s relationship to land an equitable and nourishing one.
Sofia holds a BA in International Studies with a concentration in Environment & Development and Latin American Studies from the University of San Francisco. Before joining Wilderness Torah, Sofia worked as a language teacher, a Fellow and Farm Hand at Urban Adamah, and in support roles at the University of San Francisco, Columbia Center for the Arts, and the Pachamama Alliance. She is thrilled to be learning and working with Wilderness Torah to grow sustainable and loving community.
Malka HoffmanLogistics Coordinator
Malka is a community organizer, place maker, permaculture educator, and multi-disciplinary designer. Her work is driven by the understanding that the collective liberation of all peoples is not mutually exclusive to the regeneration of our planet. She is most inspired by organizing gatherings that focus on the intersection of environmental justice and creative expression.
Outside of her role with Wilderness Torah, she serves as the Events Coordinator at PLACE for Sustainable Living in Oakland, as well as a Co-Producer of the Northern California Permaculture Convergence.
Malka holds a BA from the University of Vermont in Environmental Studies and Art with a concentration in Community, Culture, and Justice. She feels most joyful when basking in the sun, taking her cats on hikes, making art, and deepening her relationships with spirit, plants and community.
Ben RosenthalRegistrar and Tech Support
Ben spent five years at Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in Connecticut before migrating to the Bay to continue living and working in the same community. After completing his Bachelor’s in Organizational Communication at Ithaca College, Ben worked on faith-based and sustainability projects for the DC Government, started participating in and organizing Hazon Bike Rides, and found his way to the communities of Teva, Isabella Freedman, and Adamah.
Since completing his MBA in 2013, Ben has returned to his passions of technology, efficiency, and helping people, and his business of coaching Mac users.
Becca HeislerYouth Programs Coordinator
Becca is Wilderness Torah’s Youth Programs Coordinator and Lead B’hootz Mentor. Born and raised in the Chicago area, she’s been playing in the dirt and playing with Jewish identity her whole life. A passionate leader and learner, Becca has spent the past six years working with Jewish organizations, outdoor programs, and in the JOFEE field (Jewish Outdoor Food/Farming and Environmental Education), where she put her energy into leading backpacking trips, kabbalat shabbat services, bike tours, rosh chodesh circles, backcountry leadership trainings, and Jewish text studies. She is deeply passionate about creative Jewish ritual, social justice, the Hebrew calendar, and reveling in the divine.
Becca graduated from Tufts University with a BA in Environmental Studies and a BS in Mathematics. She participated in the Urban Adamah Fellowship in 2016, and the JOFEE Fellowship in 2017-2018.