Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz
Founder & CEO
Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz is the Founder & CEO of Shamayim V’Aretz and the author of Jewish Ethics & Social Justice: A Guide for the 21st Century now available on Amazon. His second book Epistemic Development in Talmud Study is now availalbe on Amazon also. Currently Rav Shmuly serves as the Founder and President of Uri L’Tzedek. He completed a Masters at Harvard University in Leadership and Psychology, a second Masters degree in Jewish Philosophy at Yeshiva University, and has completed a Doctorate at Columbia University in Moral Development and Epistemology. Shmuly was ordained as a Rabbi by Yeshivat Chovevei Torah (YCT Rabbinical School) in New York as a Wexner Graduate Fellow. Shmuly also received a second rabbinic ordination from Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, the Chief Rabbi of Efrat and a third rabbinic ordination from Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo of Jerusalem. As a global social justice educator, Shmuly has volunteered, taught, and staffed missions on five continents including Israel, Ghana, India, France, Thailand, El Salvador, Britain, Senegal, Germany, Switzerland, Ukraine, Argentina, South Africa and Haiti. In 2012, Newsweek rated Rav Shmuly one of the top 50 rabbis in America and in 2013! In 2008, the Jewish Week recognized Shmuly as one of “36 under 36” (one of 36 of the most influential Jewish leaders under the age of 36). Shmuly, his wife Shoshana, and baby Amiella live in Scottsdale, Arizona where he serves as the Executive Director of the Valley Beit Midrash.
Mayim Bialik, Ph.D.
Founding Member & Senior Leadership Consultant
Mayim Hoya Bialik is best known for her lead role in the 1990's NBC sitcom Blossom, as well as for her portrayal of the young Bette Midler in "Beaches." She has also appeared in Woody Allen's "Don't Drink the Water" and HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Bialik was born to first-generation American teachers and documentary filmmakers and was raised in Los Angeles, attending both public and religious school. Bialik has guest starred on some of the most beloved TV shows of the 1980s and 1990s including MacGyver, The Facts of Life, and Webster. She has appeared numerous times on The Tonight Show, the Arsenio Hall Show, and on Conan O'Brien and Jon Stewart's early forays into late-night.
Bialik received her B.S. in Neuroscience and Hebrew and Jewish Studies from UCLA in 2000 and earned a Ph.D. in Neuroscience in 2007 from UCLA, specializing in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in adolescents with Prader-Willi syndrome. She is the celebrity spokesperson for the Holistic Moms Network, a national non-profit organization dedicated to supporting holistic and green parenting and living.
When Matisyahu emerged in 2004 with his debut album, Shake Off the Dust...Arise, his musical persona seemed to some a novelty. Here was a Hasidic Jew -- dressed in a black suit with a broad-brimmed black hat worn over a yarmulke, and sporting a full, untrimmed beard -- who nevertheless performed toasting raps about the glories of traditional Judaism over reggae beats in a dancehall style directly from Jamaica. Moreover, he punctuated his performances with stage diving. It may have seemed like a joke at first, but Matisyahu was serious about his craft, and his diverse style soon garnered Grammy nominations, gold record certifications, and a broad audience.
Known for blending traditional Jewish themes with reggae, rock and hip hop beatboxing sounds, Matisyahu's single "King Without a Crown" was a Top 40 hit in the United States. In 2006 he was named as Top Reggae Artist by Billboard.
Tikkun Olam, a concept of repairing the world, has guided the choices of Lisa Karlan. With a background in public health and nursing, Lisa volunteered with Operation Crossroads Africa after college, providing primary heath care in Ivory Coast. Next, Lisa spent the following 20 years coordinating the recovery of organs and tissue for transplantation and founded, Karlan Memorial Tissue Bank, the first non profit multiple tissue bank in California, and a tribute to her parents, who died during Lisa's 20's. A few years ago, Lisa adopted a plant-based dietary lifestyle and experienced such dramatic changes that this compelled her to learn more about plant-based nutrition from experts across the country. Lisa is now a Heath Coach and Food for Life Instructor, certified by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Lisa believes that if she knew then, what she now knows, her parents might still be alive. Lisa's understanding is that most chronic disease: obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and some autoimmune diseases are food borne illnesses. Lisa is repairing the world by teaching others how to prevent, reverse and stabilize chronic disease through dietary choices, while simultaneously creating a humane world for animals knowing that this will also have a positive impact on our environment and the Earth.
Board Member & Chair of Educational Initiatives
Yossi Quint is currently a student at Princeton University. Prior to attending Princeton, Yossi spent two years in the Old City of Jerusalem studying Jewish texts. A vegan since the age of twelve, Yossi has experienced the ins and outs of being a vegan in the Orthodox community.
Yossi is in charge of the campus fellowship as well as a past intern. He is also the chair of Shamayim V'Aretz's national retreat, which he believes to be the first ever Jewish vegan retreat in this country.
Don Goldman is Executive Director and CEO of Jewish Family Services of Greater Kansas City. He spent much of his career in the business world first as a telecom executive and later an Internet entrepreneur. He switched to the non-profit sector about 7 years ago following a 5-year stint as a stay-at-home dad. He has a BA from the Johns Hopkins University in Political Economy and an MBA from the University of Chicago. His interest in veganism started when in the same week his vegetarian son bought him a copy of Eating Animals, by Jonathan Safran Foer and he saw Forks over Knives, a movie that emphasizes the health benefits of veganism, but also deals with the underlying moral issues of the death of the family farm. He became a vegan the following week and began to learn more about the sources of food in modern society.
Rabbi Jonathan Klein
Rabbi Jonathan Klein proudly serves as the Executive Director at CLUE-LA. Since rabbinical school at Hebrew Union College, Jonathan has served congregations in Flagstaff, Arizona and Rye, served three years directing Reform Movement's College Department, then eight years as the Director of USC Hillel and a year at Progressive Jewish Alliance; he has been with CLUE-LA since 2009. An animal rights activist, he recently founded a multi-faith-based response to animal cruelty, Faith Action For Animals.
Professor Aaron Gross
Aaron S. Gross founded the nonprofit advocacy and consulting organization Farm Forward in 2006 and serves as a professor of Jewish studies in the Theology and Religious Studies Department at the University of San Diego. He holds graduate degrees from Harvard Divinity School and the University of California, Santa Barbara's Department of Religious Studies. Gross co-chairs the Steering Committee of the American Academy of Religion's Animals and Religion Consultation, serves on the Humane Society of the United States's Faith Advisory Council, and collaborated heavily with Jonathan Safran Foer on Foer’s book Eating Animals. Gross’s new edited volume, Animals and the Human Imagination: A Companion to Animal Studies (Columbia University Press, 2012), provides what Nobel laureate J. M. Coetzee calls "a richly intelligent mapping of the field" of animal studies and proves "accessible—even engrossing—to the ordinary educated reader."
Rabbis & Community Leaders
Rabbi Alison Abrams
Rabbi Penina Alexander, New Jewish Community High School
Rabbi Will Berkovitz
Rabbi Yisroel Bernath, Chabad, Concordia University
Rabbi Robyn Fryer Bodzin, Israel Center of Conservative Judaism
David Bookbinder, Student, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah
Joshua Boydstun, Student, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College
Rabbi Rick Brody
Rabbi Sharon Brous
Rabbi Mychal Copeland
Rabbi Boris Dolin, Associate Rabbi at Temple Beth Israel in Eugene, OR
Rabbi Adam Frank, Rabbi of Congregation Moreshet Yisrael in Jerusalem
Rabbi Stephen Lewis Fuchs, World Union for Progressive Judaism, President
Reb Yonassan Gershom
Rabbi Yitz Greenberg
Rabbi Jonathan Klein, Executive Director, CLUE-LA
Sandra Lawson, Rabbinical student, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College
Rabbi Aaron Levy
Rabbi Robin Nafshi, Rabbi of Temple Beth Jacob, Concord, NH
Rabbi Hillel Norry
Rabbi Alexandria Shuval-Weiner
Rabbi Daniel Sperber
Rabbi Michelle Robinson
Rabbi David Rosen, Former Chief Rabbi of Ireland, Director of the AJC's Department of Interreligious Affairs
Richard H.Schwartz, Ph.D, President, Jewish Vegetarians of North America
Rabbi Adam Stein
Rabbi David Wolpe
Rabbi Lina Zerbarini
Jamie Arfin “Oy Vegan!”
Suzanne Barnard, Director, Jewish Vegetarian Society
Jeffrey Cohan, The Beet-Eating Heeb
Dr. Aaron Gross
Dr. Roberta Kalechofsky
Noam Mohr, Vice President, Jewish Vegetarians of North America
Esther Oakley, ABC Vegan
Matthue Roth, co-founder, G-dcast.com
Matthew Readdick, Orange County Hillel, UC Irvine
Paul Shapiro, The Humane Society of the United States
Dr. Heather Shenkman
Wilhelmina Waldman, ASPCA
Eli Winkelman, Founder, Challah for Hunger
Yossi Wolfson, Ginger - the Vegetarian Community Center, Israel
The Shamayim V'Aretz Institute, a community of Jewish vegans, is working to create a paradigm shift in how the Jewish community views veganism.
Shamayim V'Aretz programing includes animal welfare, environmental, and health veganism.
The Institute works specifically to promote veganism within the Jewish community.