Rabbi Jacob Fine, Director
Jacob Fine founded Abundance Farm and serves as its Director. For the past 15 years Jacob has worked and taught in the field of Jewish environmental and agricultural education and he teaches widely on issues related to Judaism, ecology and food justice. He has served as a rabbi and educator for a number of leading Jewish environmental organizations including the Teva Learning Alliance, Adamah, Hazon and, most recently, the Jewish Farm School, where he served as the Director of Programs (2011-2013) and now serves on its Board of Directors. A Wexner Graduate Fellow and former Rabbi and Assistant Director at Hillel at the University of Washington (2007-2011), Jacob was ordained as a rabbi from the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in Los Angeles where he also received a M.A. in Rabbinic Studies. Jacob is also a graduate of Vassar College where he received a B.A. in environmental studies and religion.
Larry is interested in the intersection of food and religious cultures, and has taught courses on this subject at Mount Holyoke, where he is a professor of Jewish Studies and Religion. He is also facilitates the Food Studies program at Mount Holyoke. More personally, he's convinced that informal and experiential education are critical for the rejuvenation of Jewish education at all levels. He's certain that Abundance Farm will prove to be an exceptional example of this approach, enriching each of its participating communities in truly important ways.
Kristin Rotas is the mother of two beautiful children who currently attend the Lander-Grinspoon Academy. She is a graduate of Clark University where she earned a BA in Psychology, and she is a graduate of Simon’s College where she earned a MA in Teaching. Kristin has 7 years of teaching experience both in the United States and overseas. Kristin has lived and taught in Harare, Zimbabwe and in Budapest, Hungary. Currently, Kristin is writing a job readiness curriculum for unemployed adults, as well as conducting research for an NYU study of the Tools Of The Mind Curriculum. She is thrilled to be a part of the Abundance Farm Leadership Team.
Danielle Pedelaborde is currently an educational consultant and coach. She holds a masters degree in Multicultural Education from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and is a seasoned classroom teacher, tutor, administrator, and facilitator. Her passion for social justice informs her practice as an educator and as a community member and led her to work with a variety of disenfranchised student groups throughout her career. This includes supporting pregnant and parenting students to complete high school, working with GLBT youth to create safe schools, training school personnel in dating violence intervention and supporting students with behavioral and cognitive disabilities. Her first job out of college, coordinating Boston City Hospital’s food pantry, taught her much about food insecurity and has made her passionate about the issue. She brings her creativity in events planning and her love of playing to her role on the fund raising committee. She looks forward to the point when the farm will need less fund raising and she can put back on her educator hat to think about the power of the outdoor classroom being created as we grow together. She is a former Survival Center volunteer and the parent of an LGA student.
Gillian Murray Kendall
Gillian Murray Kendall has been a member of Congregation B’nai Israel for over 25 years. She has served on various committees, is on the Board, has acted as Secretary and is now Vice President of the synagogue. For her day job, Gillian is a professor of English literature and language at Smith College, where she specializes in Renaissance literature and teaches Shakespeare, 17th Poetry—and the modern post-apocalyptic novel. In June of 2014, her own post-apocalyptic novel, The Garden of Darkness, will be published. Gillian likes all gardens, dark and light, and has an inordinate fondness for farms.
Sara Weinberger is Professor Emerita of Social Work at Western New England University. Since leaving her job in 2012, she has become active in a variety of social justice activities, including the CBI Tikkun Olam Committee, and other local organizations. She has a strong interest in food justice and writes a monthly column for The Daily Hampshire Gazette that focuses on human rights.
Jennifer is from Brooklyn, New York and is proud of her Italian-Jewish heritage. She is married to Brian Hoffman, MD and has a wonderful daughter, Elizabeth, 5 years old. Most people who meet Jennifer would instantly notice her Brooklyn accent as well as her bubbly, and welcoming personality. Professionally, Jennifer has worked within the healthcare community for over 17 years specializing in diagnostic imaging of the cardiovascular system as well as managing vascular laboratories. Jennifer has encountered many different types of people while working in the hospital setting. Most of her patients were poor, uneducated people who needed someone to listen and someone to help. Currently, Jennifer is very active in Congregation B’nai Israel and volunteers at the Northampton Survival Center; and has grown passionate about feeding the hungry and disadvantaged. This year Jennifer began to take Graduate courses in Public Health at the University of Massachusetts so she can have the educational backbone needed to help further her goals to make sure no one is hungry in her community.
Abundance Farm is an emerging Jewish food justice farm and outdoor classroom located in Northampton, Massachusetts. Abundance Farm is a unique collaboration between Congregation B’nai Israel, Lander Grinspoon Academy and the Northampton Survival Center to support local food security and to create a unique, outdoor learning environment. Abundance Farm will be a beautiful urban oasis where people of all ages, faiths and backgrounds are drawn for nourishment, community and learning.