Mission

The Jewish Farm School is dedicated to teaching about contemporary food and environmental issues through innovative trainings and skill-based Jewish agricultural education.  

 

We train Jewish farmers, educators, and food justice activists, as well as inspire and support Jewish agricultural education experiences for the broader Jewish community. 

 

We are driven by traditions of using food and agriculture as tools for social justice and spiritual mindfulness. Through our programs, we address the injustices embedded in today’s mainstream food systems and work to create greater access to sustainably grown foods, produced from a consciousness of both ecological and social well being.

History

We ran our first program in 2006, sprouting out of a shared vision by our founders to develop educational programming that would foster opportunities for Jews to reconnect with the processes of working the land and growing food. Their vision consisted of establishing a school that would enroll students seeking alternative modes of education. In doing so, the learning would entail farming, animal husbandry, natural building and Jewish learning as well as achieve the necessary requirements for accreditation.


Since 2006, Jewish Farm School has run over fifty different programs, reaching over 7,500 children, college students, and adults. For three years JFS was named by Slingshot as one of the 50 most innovative organizations in North America, and our programs are a catalyst for lifelong learning and engagement in Jewish, environmental, and social justice-related issues.

 

Since 2013, JFS has been focusing our programs in the Philadelphia area that connect the local Jewish community with the vibrant urban agriculture and food justice movements. Click here to learn more about our current offerings.

   

The Staff

Nati Passow

Co-Founder & Executive Director

 

Nati Passow has been a leader in the field of Jewish environmental education for over 10 years, was selected to the Jewish Week's "36 Under 36," and was a recipient of the Joshua Venture Group Fellowship for Jewish Social Entrepreneurs.  Under his direction, JFS was named by Slingshot as one of the most innovative Jewish organizations in North America for three years. Prior to forming Jewish Farm School, Nati ran an award-winning garden construction program for the Urban Nutrition Initiative in Philadelphia and led service–learning trips in the developing world for American Jewish World Service. Nati has studied sustainable building design and natural building and is a certified Permaculture designer, and holds a B.A. in Religion and Environmental Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. 

 

Nati can be reached at nati@jewishfarmschool.org

 Jenny Horn

Communications Wizard

 

Jenny Horn is a public health enthusiast, passionate wordsmith and a strong believer in the ability of good food to nourish the soul and foster community. She is a graduate of Brandeis University with a B.A. in Health, Science, Society and Policy, where she could be spotted around campus with her sketchbook, notebook, laptop, multiple pens and pencils and books on the history of agriculture in Wisconsin for some light reading. After school she spent a year in Washington, DC driving locally-sourced groceries across the city in a box truck and organizing trainings in holistic medicine and nutrition. She is an inquisitive extrovert and can be found sampling pickled veggies at various farmer’s markets and trying out yoga classes from West Philly to Dilworth Park. 

 

Jenny can be reached at jenny@jewishfarmschool.org

Liora Lebowitz

Program Coordinator & 
JOFEE Fellow

 

Liora Lebowitz hails from Boston, MA where she grew up attending nature day camp and Jewish day school. After a brief rejection of nature-related activities in her teen years, she has reconnected with the Jewish Eco world through her work at Eden Village Camp and as a member of the 2015 Fall cohort of TEVA. Liora is excited to be the JOFEE Fellow for Jewish Farm School in her new favorite city of Philadelphia. She hopes to learn even more about food, farming, and how to keep the squirrels our of her garden.

 

Liora can be reached at liora@jewishfarmschool.org

The Board

Rob Auritt

 

Robert Auritt has nearly 20 years of experience as a business attorney practicing at the intersection of the entertainment, media, and technology industries. Rob is currently Vice President and Deputy General Counsel to Comcast Spectacor, an industry leading hospitality firm with expertise across a wide range of disciplines, including professional sports, entertainment, venue management, food services and ticketing. Rob is a graduate of Brooklyn Law School and holds a bachelor of arts in Religion from Temple University. He is a past president and an active member of Kol Tzedek synagogue in West Philadelphia and lives with his wife and two children in the Bella Vista section of South Philadelphia. 

 

Lila Corwin Berman


Lila is an Associate Professor of History at Temple University. She holds the Murray Friedman Chair of American Jewish History and directs the Feinstein Center for American Jewish History. The Feinstein Center fosters innovative research into the American Jewish experience and serves as a convener of public scholarship conversations and experiences. Berman is author of Metropolitan Jews: Politics, Race, and Religion in Postwar Detroit (University of Chicago, 2015) and Speaking of Jews: Rabbis, Intellectuals, and the Creation of an American Public Identity (California, 2009). 


Michael Bomze

 

Michael is a math teacher, traveler, hummus enthusiast and contributor to the Jewish Exponent's Philacatessen blog. A firm believer in local food systems, he is a regular at the Clark Park and Headhouse Farmers Markets, and considers ethical and local food sourcing to be as important as taste when selecting where to dine. 


He has spent all of his life in Philadelphia, with the exception of the four years he spent working towards and receiving his bachelor's degree in math and secondary education at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. Most recently, he received a masters' degree in education leadership from Villanova. 


Bryant Simon 

 

Bryant is a professor of history at Temple University. He is the author most recently of Everything But the Coffee: Learning About America from Starbucks (2009). His research and scholarship has earned awards and honors from the Fulbright Commission, Humboldt Foundation, Urban History Association, Organization of American Historians, and the Smithsonian Institution. 


Bryant's recent work focuses on food and society. Currently, he is putting together a collection of documents about food and the American history with Professor James Giesen, for Wiley. In addition, he is working on broad ranging study of one of the worst industrial accidents in the recent American past. In 1991, a factory in Hamlet, North Carolina that had never been inspected blew up, killing twenty-five people who were trapped inside behind locked doors. Simon’s book will explore this story, but even more the high and often deliberately hidden costs of cheap government, cheap food, and cheap labor in United States and around the rest of the world.

 

Carly Zimmerman

Board Chair


Carly is the CEO of Challah for Hunger, a Philadelphia based non-profit with an international impact that inspires young people to “bake a difference” through challah baking, advocacy and philanthropy. Carly holds a M.A. in Jewish Professional Studies from the Spertus Institute of Jewish Learning and Leadership and a B.A. in History and Political Science from the University of Pittsburgh. She lives and works in Philadelphia with her husband Michael, where she spends most free time outside on a bike or a walk with her two dogs. She is excited to support Jewish Farm School's growth!