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Netiya Leadership 2017-10-20T17:43:32+00:00

Netiya’s Staff

Devorah Brous
Devorah BrousFounding Executive Director
Devorah Brous is the Founding Executive Director of Netiya. She is a community organizer with two Masters degrees in Development Studies and Israel Studies from Hebrew University and has been trained extensively in facilitation, mediation, and nonviolent communication. She immigrated to Israel and lived there for 15 years, where she organized on the front lines as the founder of Bustan (orchard), an award-winning Jewish/Bedouin environmental justice NGO. Since moving to LA in 2008, she became a UC Master Gardener, a Food Preserver, a certified composter, and a permaculture designer. Devorah is passionate about fermenting and canning homegrown food; aquaponics; and wildcrafting medicine for family and friends. She speaks Hebrew and Arabic and believes in the power of the land to bring us all together. She lives with her husband Laurence Weber; their two little wizards, Sela and Zeke; and seven happy hens.
Erin Harris
Erin HarrisDevelopment Coordinator
Erin Mahoney Harris is a certified UCCE Master Gardener and the author of agritourism guidebook Visit California Farms. In researching the book, she spent over two years visiting small farms throughout the state with her two kids, West and Avery; this ignited her passion not only for growing and preparing healthy, seasonal food for her family and friends, but for empowering young people with the enthusiasm, skills and work ethic required to be successful gardeners or farmers.

Over the past five years, Erin has been a docent and parent volunteer for the edible gardening program at Grant Elementary School in Santa Monica. There she provides hands-on weekly lessons to kindergarten through 5th grade students and theirteachers. She has also worked as a Garden Teacher for the Palos Verdes School Gardens organization and currently acts as the Garden Lead for the Lawndale School District, preparing and presenting weekly garden lessons to students ranging from in age from preschool to 5th grade.

Nickie DeTolve
Nickie DeTolveCommunications Director
Nickie grew up in a small town (678) in Michigan where they grew their own food. Each year her little community of three households would plant a 2-acre garden and tend to it until fall harvest. After the crops had been pulled, they would spend days canning and preserving corn, green beans, zucchini, pumpkins, strawberries, raspberries, rhubarb and more.

Nickie is thrilled to take charge and dig in with Netiya for the upcoming Symposium November 5th, 2017. She will be spearheading the programming and organization of the event, while working closely with the team, volunteers and board members to make it an even more powerful experience than last year (if that is possible)! Feel free to reach out to her and say hello!

Sara Haston
Sara HastonUrban Farm Educator
Sara Haston is a passionate educator who is dedicated to empowering her community with holistic skills to live more sustainable lives. She holds a Master’s degree in Integrative Health Studies, a certification in herbal medicine, and has professional experience as a vegetable farmer, community garden coordinator, and cooking instructor for kids. She’s single, lives in Silverlake and is looking for a good Jewish man to work in the garden with.

Netiya’s Executive Board

Rabbi Adam M. AllenbergBoard Member
Rabbi Allenberg is the Assistant Director of Recruitment and Admission for the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. He has been personally exploring and teaching about Judaism and its relationship to the environment for ​over a decade and currently serves on the Board of Netiya, an interfaith just food organization committed to strengthening food quality and food security in Los Angeles; and has served on Hazon’s Food Advisory Council; and ​the Executive Board of Hazon’s Jewish Food Conference, a multi-generational and multi-denominational gathering of rabbis and farmers, journalists and activists​.​ He and his family are slowly reclaiming traditional food preparation techniques such as pickling, soap making, baking with wild yeasts and brewing beers and meads.​
Joel BakerBoard Member
Joel is the retired Executive Director of the Pacific Southwest Region of United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism serving from 2000-2012. Mr. Baker’s background experience includes executive positions in B’nai B’rith International, Jewish Community Centers, the University of Judaism, camping, and private consulting in fundraising, strategic planning and Board Development. He presently serves as President of the Far West Youth Foundation and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Conservative Foundation. He is a graduate of Grinnell College in Iowa and has a Master’s Degree in Group Dynamics and Social Work Administration from Case-Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. He lives in Calabasas, CA with his wife Shelley, a pharmacist. They have two sons, Daniel and Benjamin. Joel and his family are members of Temple Aliyah in Woodland Hills, CA.
Lisa FriedmanBoard Member
Lisa has been a leader in Netiya since it’s inception. She is the founder and director of the Lisa and Maury Friedman Foundation. Fueled by Lisa’s passion for the environment, Judaism and Israel, the foundation’s current focus is on school and community gardens and farms, which Lisa considers an ideal tool for teaching community environmental education and peaceful cooperation. This is reflected in all of the organizations she works with, both in the U.S. and Israel.
Lisa Lainer-FaganBoard Member
Lisa is a San Fernando Valley native, has been active in local Jewish life for many years. She is currently very involved at Abraham Joshua Heschel Day School where she has led many projects including chairing four Mitzvah Days and more recently starting a Community Supported Agriculture program at the school.
Mary MacVeanBoard Member
Mary is a journalist who has been writing about food for more than two decades. She was a board member of one of the first CSA projects in the United States, and has taught cooking classes to people of all ages. Her parents grew up on farms, giving her a lifelong appreciation for the effort it takes to get good food.
Alan PaulBoard Member
Alan is President and Managing Partner of Giant Angstrom Partners, where he provides consulting, training, and project design services for university, K-14, and NGO clients (especially faith-based organizations). His work includes : proposal development for university institutes and centers; startup business planning for NGOs; board retreats for government and NGOs; policy analysis for state government; regional economic development planning; and executive education for government and military agencies.
Jessica RitzBoard Member
Jessica is a freelance writer and journalist in Los Angeles covering a range of topics including food, design, architecture, and travel. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, Sunset, Tablet, KCET, the Jewish Journal, Angeleno, and Los Angeles Magazine. Jessica was previously an architectural historic preservation consultant for many years, and she also sat on the board of directors of LACER Afterschool Programs based in Hollywood. She holds an M.A. in Urban Planning from U.C.L.A. and a B.A. in Art History and American studies from Wesleyan University in Connecticut.
Zak ZaidmanBoard Member
Zak is an entrepreneur, visionary, marketing/branding expert and senior strategist for Every1Team, Boombang, Metabrand, Snack it Forward, and Kopali. From strategic planning to market analysis, from business set up to raising capital, from product formulation and development to sourcing, supply chain and outsourced operations, Zak has the expertise and relationships critical to insure success.