Rabbi Yonatan Neril, Founder and Executive Director
A native of California, Yonatan completed an M.A. and B.A. from Stanford University with a focus on global environmental issues, and received rabbinical ordination in Israel. He has spoken internationally on religion and the environment, and organized three interfaith environmental conferences in Jerusalem in which religious leaders of several faiths spoke. He is the lead author and general editor of two publications on Jewish environmental ethics including Uplifting People and Planet: 18 Essential Jewish Teachings on the Environment. Yonatan also co-authored ICSD’s Report on Faith and Ecology Courses in North American Seminaries and a separate Report on Faith and Ecology Teaching in Holy Land Seminaries and was a Dorot and PresenTense Fellow. He lives with his wife, Shana and their two children in Jerusalem.
Benji Elson, Program Manager
Hailing from a small town in New Jersey, Benji gained a deep appreciation for the environment while working in the organic fields of Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu in Israel. Through working with Israel’s ambulance corp , treating Arabs and Jews alike, he saw the potential of peoples with differences working together. Benji earned a B.A. in Psychology and Jewish Studies from Touro University and worked as a Behavioral Therapist in Los Angeles, CA. Benji also spent several years working as an Environmental Educator for the TEVA Learning Center in Connecticut teaching Jewish environmentalism. He also served as the Lead Editor of Touro University’s Journal of Experimental Psychology. Prior to joining the team of ICSD, Benji founded KEVA, a team-building and leadership program that utilizes encounters with nature to develop personal self-awareness and responsibility. He currently lives in Jerusalem seeking to build a sustainable and spiritually conscious future.
Marcos completed a B.A. in architecture and urbanism at the Iberoamericana University in Mexico City, and an M.A. in environmental studies at Tel Aviv University, with a focus on arid lands. He founded and co-directed the Urban Environmental Collective (Colectivo Urbano Ambiental), an international platform of professionals who aim to promote, coordinate, implement and operate environmental systems through urban planning and architecture. He also founded Global Woods, a company dedicated to the commercialization of certified wood, from Forest Stewardship Council, LEED and Global Relief organizations. Prior to that he worked as a project manager for CAPA Lab, a think tank focused on generating sustainable urban development proposals for the area of the peninsula of Baja California Sur, Mexico. In addition, he taught seminars on urban projects at the Iberoamericana University. He lives with his wife and two children in Jerusalem, and likes studying Torah, exploring ecosystems through trail running, and practicing chi kung.
Henry Mapwesera, Web Programmer
Malawian by nationality, Henry earned a Master of Science in Fisheries from Junagadh Agricultural University (India) and a Bachelor of Science in Fisheries and Aquatic Science (Honours) from University of Namibia. He also obtained a Diploma in Agriculture and Natural Resources Management from Natural Resources College (Malawi), and a Diploma in Web Programming. He lives in Malawi. He has worked with ICSD since 2013.
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