We have compiled here a list of speakers that you may like to invite to your community events.  

EcoJudaism cannot give personal recommendations for these speakers although they do come highly recommended! If you are interested in connecting with them to participate in your community event, please be in direct contact to arrange along with honorarium (if any).  

Benita Matofska benita@benitamatofska.com 

Benita Matofska is a world-leading speaker, changemaker and climate change consultant  to some of the world’s most forward-thinking businesses. An award-winning social entrepreneur, she is renowned for her ability to inspire and captivate audiences worldwide with her knowledge, dynamism and insights on sustainability, social innovation and business transformation. Benita leads sustainability for business consultancy Futuretivity, who specialise in delivering climate innovation for the media industry. Benita is the author of Generation Share, a ground-breaking book, voted top isolation read for a positive future by Forbes, containing the world’s largest collection of  inspiring stories of the changemakers transforming society, the economy and protecting the planet. She previously created Global Sharing Week, a campaign addressing resource inequality reaching over 100 million people worldwide.

Benita is a seasoned public speaker and has spoken to audiences worldwide including: VF Corp International Marketing Summit, IKEA Global Home Furnishings Forum, AMEX Leadership Academy, European Outdoor Group Summit, BBC Climate Creatives, BBC Worklife, Channel 4 News, M&S Festival of the Future, Virgin Innovation Sessions, Publicis Sustainability Awareness, European Cities Marketing Summit, Global Women’s Forum, RSA Sharing Economy Talks, Global Entrepreneurship Congress, FT European Sharing Economy Summit, European Parliament, TEDxFrankfurt, UNESCO, the House of Commons, House of Lords and Number 10 Downing Street.


Jamie Peters, Friends of The Earth, jamie.peters@foe.co.uk

Jamie has over a decade of experience working on climate justice from communities in Glasgow to the United Nations climate talks. He has been with Friends of the Earth as a lead for their fracking campaign, as director and now as Special Projects Lead. Jamie led Friends of the Earth’s Fossil Free campaign.


Friends of the Earth Regional Speakers – contact your regional Friends of The Earth Office to book a representative.


Laura HendyWorld Jewish Relief Climate and Resilience Programmes Manager

WJR helps at-risk communities prepare for disasters as part of their commitment to mitigate against the impact of climate change, which poses a very real and dangerous threat to many poor communities around the world. They respond to both natural and man-made disasters when they occur, offering immediate relief and life-saving support. WJR helps communities to rebuild after a disaster, supporting them to build back better in terms of both infrastructure, especially homes, and with sustainable and climate-resilient livelihoods.


Naomi Verber, Head of Environmental Policy at United Synagogue & Dorot

Naomi joined the United Synagogue in October 2021 as their first Head of Environmental Policy and was asked to write and implement a strategy to improve the ecological impact both in United Synagogue communities and as an organisation, through the Dorot programme. Dorot works in collaboration with EcoJudaism to make impactful environmental change across our communities.


Anna LawtonCommonwealth Jewish Council 

CJC is devoted to helping Jewish communities throughout the Commonwealth to enhance the Jewish life of their members, live in safety and respect, and help them in their efforts to contribute to the wider society in which they live. Working through four regional hubs, they share decision making with the communities to connect and network, to share understanding, resources, programmes and ideas, and to celebrate each community’s unique and individual culture.


Joseph GitlerLeket Israel 

Joseph Gitler immigrated to Israel from New York in 2000 and soon became acquainted with the statistics of poverty in the State of Israel. These statistics included the understanding that poverty referred to even those who work for a living yet struggle to survive on a daily basis and still remain below the poverty line.

In 2003, Table to Table, the precursor to Leket Israel, was established with the goal of rescuing nutritious surplus food, preventing food waste and helping to eliminate the problem of food insecurity. The organization soon became Israel’s largest food and food distribution network.


Michael Popper MA (Cantab) CEng MCIBSE MEI, Director at P3r Engineers Ltd mike.popper@p3r-engineers.co.uk

Michael is experienced in a wide range of building sectors: education (primary, secondary and higher), ecclesiastical, culture (museums, galleries and performance spaces), residential (private houses, apartment buildings, student residences) and commercial (offices and retail). He has worked on numerous Grade 1 and Grade 2 listed buildings and has collaborated on many projects which have received RIBA and Civic Trust Awards. He has written on low energy design in museum buildings and has been a visiting tutor at the University of Cambridge Department of Architecture and Kent University. He is Sustainability Advisor on the Watford Shaping Panel and The Southwark Diocesan Advisory Committee.

Topics include:

    • Basics of saving energy in existing buildings
    • Principles of low energy design in new buildings and extensions
    • Understanding heating controls and how to optimise them


Akiva Gersh, The Vegan Rabbi . Please email akivagersh@yahoo.com

Akiva has been working in the field of Jewish and Israeli Education for over 20 years. Originally from New York, he moved to Israel in 2004 and from 2007-2020 taught Jewish History and Modern Israel at the Alexander Muss High School in Israel. Akiva teaches extensively about the connection between Judaism, animal welfare and veganism and shares many of these teachings on his “Vegan Rabbi” pages on Facebook and Instagram. Akiva holds a BA in Religious Studies from Brown University, an MA in Jewish Education from Yeshiva University and rabbinic ordination from Yeshivat Sulam Yaakov in Jerusalem.


Mark Jacobs, Managing Director at Seed Madagascar mark@seedmadagascar.org

Mark, a qualified research ecologist, first went to Madagascar in 1998, leading a team of biologists to study the flora and fauna of the southeast. On return to the UK, Mark started to work with SEED developing Project Lokaro. He then became Managing Director and has worked since with the board of trustees to ensure the smooth running of all aspects of the organisation.


Daniel Leon, RIBA – Founder & Director, Square Feet

Daniel set up Square Feet in 2004 to do things differently. Prior to setting up SFA, Daniel studied in Liverpool and Seattle, worked in Manchester and Sydney, and in London for Levitt Bernstein and Buschow Henley – working on projects such as regeneration and housing in Dublin and Leeds, arts projects such as St Luke’s Old Street for the London Symphony Orchestra, and buildings for the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Daniel was a RIBA Councillor from 2014-17, still sits on their Library Committee (responsible for outreach, the drawings collection and exhibitions), and is a RIBA Conservation Registrant. He has been part of judging committees for RIBA Stirling Prize, sits on Design Review Panel and Jewish Heritage UK’s Caseworker Panel, and a guest critic at Westminster School of Architecture.


Anne Luder, Garden Designer www.anneluder.co.uk

Anne worked as a garden designer for over twenty-five years, designing both public and private gardens and specialising in allergy-free and challenging gardens where possible re-using existing plants and materials. She also spent four years in charge of propagation at a nursery in Essex where many of the staff had learning disabilities. Anne also lectured at Capel Manor College, where she specialised in therapeutic horticulture for severe physical disabilities. She is passionate about conservation, native and bible plants. Since retiring she has become a professional horticultural speaker and a Trustee of the JJBS with responsibility for landscaping their Woodland Cemetery, which she has been involved in since it was first mooted.


Emma WeleminskyOLAM – emma@olamtogether.org. Please also liaise directly with Emma if you would like the following speakers at your events: 

  • Danielle Abraham, Volcani International Partnerships. Everything to do with Israel, agriculture, climate change and sharing its knowledge and innovations around the world. For example: How Israel can be / should be / is a leading actor for climate change action, including the expertise it has to contribute, the innovations it has / is developing, the projects it is initiating around the world. 
  • Rabbi Yonatan NerilInterfaith Centre for Sustainable Development. ICSD’s work, Religious and Jewish approaches to sustainability. 
  • Dr. Tomer Malchi, Cultivaid. International Agricultural Development, knowledge and technology Transfer, Ethiopia, Africa, capacity building. 
  • Prof. Uri Mingelgrin is the Chairman of the Board of Volcani International Partnerships. He is also active as an emeritus scientist at the Volcani Center, Institute of Soils, Water and Environmental Sciences. In this capacity, he has chaired and is a member of a number of important committees that deal with environmental issues. For example, Prof. Mingelgrin chaired the joint government-private sector committee that determined the methodology, later adopted by the Israeli government, for formulating environmental laws and regulations. Since 2007 Prof. Mingelgrin has also served as an environmental consultant, specializing in environmental issues, in particular as related to soil and water pollution and remediation. Between 1994 and 1999 he served as the Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Environment and for over two years (2005-2007) as the Director of Scientific Affairs of the Volcani Center. Prior to this position, Prof. Uri Mingelgrin served as a researcher in the Institute of Soils, water and environmental sciences of the Volcani Center. 
  • Rabbi Micha Odenheimer, Tevel B’Tzedek. Tevel B’Tzedek’s work in Nepal, his personal story, climate justice 
  • Rabbi Yedidya Sinclair, Independent (formerly of Energiya Global). Focuses on his work in clean tech. In addition, he is a rabbi (originally from the UK), served as Hazon’s Senior Rabbinic scholar, translated Rav Kook’s book on the shmitta year into English, and has taught extensively about Judaism and climate change. 
  • Tali Gottlieb, fundraising strategist and Chief Strategy Officer at Altruicity. She has experience in in multiple sectors, including government, religious institutions, social welfare, agricultural research and development, and international development.


Mia Hasenson-Gross / Prof. Geraldine Van Bueren – Rene Cassin 


Jonathan Fenton, Ethical Investments Expert. Please email andrea@ecojudaism.org.uk


Michael Lomotey, Ba’al Tefillah at Kehillah North London m.n.lomotey@soton.ac.uk

Michael Lomotey (he/him) is a Ghanaian/British researcher with a background in human rights and sustainability. He is currently undertaking Doctoral Research which centres on unpacking antiblackness within environmentalism. Michael looks for climate change and ecological solutions that are emancipatory, equitable, inclusive and therefore more efficient. He uses antiblackness as a theoretical ontological framework through which to uncover truths in environmental discourses. He’s an active member of Kehillah North London and honoured to be part of their team of trained Ba’ale Tefillot.


David Chapot, COO of Volcani International Partnerships dchapot@vipartnerships.org

David Chapot is the COO of Volcani International Partnerships: an Israeli non-profit organisation on a mission to tackle global hunger with Israeli expertise. They have recently launched a new initiative called “ReGrow Israel”, which is focused on working with the farming communities devastated in the October 7th attacks to help rehabilitate and build back even better than before. Deeply committed to sustainability, David is a member of the EcoJudaism Environment Leadership Training & Education Course. An accomplished speaker, he has lectured in post-graduate courses, presented original peer-reviewed research at academic conferences and been interviewed on BBC News and BBC Radio London. David is a graduate of the University of Manchester and King’s College London. He lives in London with his wife and son. He is fluent in French and English.


Deena J. Kestenbaum, Horticulturalist, Eco-therapist, Nature and Wildlife Tutor deenajoy@btopenworld.com

Having graduated from Capel Manor, Deena established a Chelsea Award Winning garden design company. She moved from private commissions which included researching and building London’s sole Biblical Garden, to focus on the close relationship between horticulture and well being. Deena worked with the St. Mungo’s ‘Putting Down Roots’ project where gardening was one of the ways to rehabilitate formerly homeless clients. From there she moved to Mind, honing her expertise in social and therapeutic horticulture with additional studies at Thrive. Teaching City & Guilds Practical Horticulture and running Eco-Therapy programmes for people with severe and enduring mental health diagnosis, Deena experienced how the interaction with the natural world can ameliorate profound distress.

Deena’s expertise encompasses an expansive knowledge of mechanisms of the natural world ranging from the interactive micro-organisms that underpin our living world, the evolution of plants and people, the remarkable world of fungi, nitrogen cycles as well as encompassing the practical and theoretical ability to create composting bins, planting orchards, creating meadows, permaculture and wildlife habitats. Deena is the horticulturalist advising on the local initiative entitled The Pollinator Pathway Project, gives webinar talks on the practical aspects of gardening and is a freelance consultant on neighbourhood horticulture projects.

Whilst maintaining her own allotment, Deena runs planting sessions on plots designated for local primary school children enthusing them with the wonder and awe of the natural world.