Netiya Leadership 2018-05-09T19:43:29+00:00

Netiya’s Staff

Devorah Brous

Devorah Brous is a mama, an urban farmer and educator, and the founding Executive Director of Netiya. She is a seasoned community organizer for 25 years with two Masters degrees in Development Studies and Israel Studies from Hebrew University and has been trained extensively in conflict transformation, facilitation, and non-violent communication. Devorah immigrated to Israel and organized on the front lines as the Founding Executive Director of Bustan (orchard), an award-winning Jewish/Bedouin civil rights and environmental justice NGO.

Founding Executive Director

She is a UC Master Gardener, a certified composter, and a bio-intensive farmer with a certificate in Permaculture design. She is passionate about fermenting and canning homegrown food; aquaponics; and wildcrafting herbal medicine for family and friends. Devorah leads monthly newMOON and FULLmoon women’s circles and believes in the power of the land to grow equity and health, and to bring us all together.

Erin Harris

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.

Development Coordinator

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.

Netiya’s Executive Board

Rabbi Adam M. Allenberg

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 .

Board Member

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.​

Lisa Friedman

Lisa has been a leader in Netiya since it’s inception. She is the founder and director of the Lisa and Maury Friedman Foundation.

Board Member

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-Fagan

Lisa is a San Fernando Valley native, has been active in local Jewish life for many years.

Board Member

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.

Alan Paul

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).

Board Member

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 Ritz

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.

Board Member

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.

Chloe Ames

Chloe Ames is a CivicSpark Fellow with Climate Resolve, an environmental non-profit based in Downtown LA. At Climate Resolve, Chloe works on local climate mitigation and adaptation initiatives that support equitable transit oriented development and regional coalition building. Hailing from Huntington Beach, Chloe graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in 2017 with a B.A. in environmental policy.
Before joining CivicSpark, Chloe held positions at U.S. Environmental Protection Agency serving the Office of Environmental Education, the Missouri Sierra Club and Three Squares Inc. She has also completed independent research on sustainable agriculture in Southern Europe and served as the president of her university’s environmental justice organization. Chloe is especially interested in food and environmental equity issues, so she is very excited to promote food justice and share her passion with Netiya! 

Michal Helman

Michal Helman is an avid explorer with a lifelong passion for social and environmental justice through education and inclusivity. After having received her bachelor’s degree at the University of Michigan in Philosophy and Environmental Science, Michal went on to complete her masters in International Conservation and Development at the University of Montana’s College of Forestry and Conservation.

While Michal began her commitment to education by teaching at the collegiate level, she quickly realized the importance of starting young and refocused her energy towards elementary education in Detroit. Michal currently lives and works in the Inland Empire on the statewide Disadvantaged Communities Involvement Program that seeks to actively integrate and advocate for under-served communities in regional water management planning. Michal is excited to be a part of the burgeoning work that Netiya is facilitating and the formation of the Growing Grit curriculum.


Maansi is a recent UC Berkeley graduate in urban studies and resource conservation. She is originally from the Los Angeles region, and is excited to be back and working with the city of Santa Monica, where she is an AmeriCorps volunteer for the Office of Sustainability.

Maansi works on projects to increase energy efficiency and build resilience in neighborhoods. She is also excited to be able to combine her love for teaching with her passion for sustainability and food justice through her work with Netiya on the Growing Grit fellowship and other urban gardening initiatives.

Michaela Koski

Michaela Koski is a Junior attending Palisades Charter High School. She is a girl scout with a passion for environmental issues and has earned her Silver Award on educating people on the dangers of plastic pollution. For her Gold Award project, she is focusing on reducing food waste in her community and promoting the benefits of composting. For this project, she is creating a cookbook with food waste tips, recipes, and art projects.
Last year she attended the Slow Foods Nation Conference in Denver, Colorado and is returning this year to write about and expand her knowledge on this issue. She so excited to work with, learn from, and present her curriculum with Netiya.

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