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.
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.
To achieve this dream we decided to start small. In 2006, with the help of a mini-grant from Hazon's New York Jewish Environmental Bike Ride, Nati Passow and Simcha Schwartz began working as staff members, and we partnered with the Teva Learning Center for their anuual Seminar.
In 2007 we grew in size to two programs and the first ever edition of a 16-month calendar for sale on our website. In 2008 we officially became fiscally sponsored by Hazon.
Today we are running a number of programs for and with Hillel, Kayam Farm, Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, Teva Learning Center, Eden Village Camp, and many more. Our hope for the future is to grow at a steady rate while producing excellent programs consisting of land-based education steeped in Jewish tradition.
For a full list of the Jewish Farm Schools partners click here.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Ari Witkin is a rabbinical student, educator, and community builder who is passionate about helping organizations and communities achieve their goals. From 2012 - 2014 he spearheaded the creation
of the Sustainability Apprenticeship program at the Pearlstone Center in Reisterstown, MD. Ari has extensive experience as an educator, organizer, and non-profit professional. He has led
service trips with JFS and the Jewish Funds for Justice and previously served as the lead staff for both the Greater Homewood Interfaith Alliance and the Baltimore Interfaith Coalition.
Ari can be reached at email@example.com
Repair the World Fellow
Bridget Flynn, a Long Island native, graduated from the University at Albany, majoring in English and minoring in Sociology and Women's Studies. At Albany, she was an active member of the co-ed
community service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega and editor of the Circle K community service club newsletter. Bridget oversees the Philly Farm Crew.
Bridget can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Repair the World Fellow
This past year, Sarah served as a corps member with City Year Los Angeles. Sarah studied Community and Environmental Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. During college, she worked
on a farm and facilitated ropes course workshops. Sarah believes that access to healthy food is a human right and that attacking food justice issues is a tangible way to fight wealth disparity.
She's also hitchhiked across the Albania-Macedonia border.
Sarah can be reached at email@example.com.
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 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 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 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