Stewarding Jewish Environmental Education and Action in Southeast Michigan
You are not required to finish your work, yet neither are you permitted to desist from it.Pirkei Avot
Adamah Detroit lives out Adamah’s global mission at a local scale: connecting people and planet in Detroit by enriching Jewish communities with nature-connected environmental education, stewardship, and action. We inspire and empower Jewish youth, teens, families, leaders, and institutions through programs interweaving Jewish tradition and sustainability, building inclusive communities, and cultivating hope for a better future.
Adamah Detroit provides unique and critical resources, coaching, support, partnership, and programming to over 40 local Jewish organizations working to integrate environmental values into Jewish life and cultivating the next generation of Jewish environmental leaders.
Our programs include lay-leadership capacity building and leadership development through the Seal of Sustainability and the Jewish Climate Leadership Coalition regional communities of practice, Jewish Outdoor Food and Farming Education for children and families, Jewish teen environmental leadership programming, and convening impactful community-wide events.
Our Shomrei Adamah (Guardians of the Earth) initiative builds community and connection through rich dialogue about Judaism, Jewish identity, and the climate crisis. Following an initial dialogue session, participants are encouraged to work together to create a climate action initiative for their Jewish organization. The Shomrei Adamah program can help to develop and strengthen your organization’s Green Team, cultivate connection and engagement for groups of lay-leaders, educators, and/or staff, and provide engaging and activating content for your teen programming!
This program is run in partnership with Michigan Interfaith Power and Light. To learn more, reach out to Julia Cunnien (firstname.lastname@example.org) who can tailor the program to best support your organization.
Nature Chuggim (electives) is a new Jewish environmental education series available to Hebrew and Religious School partners in the Metro-Detroit community, designed for K-5th grade students. Our nature programs connect students to the earth through experiential learning, fostering a deep connection to the earth and Jewish identity. Our activities and programs are integrated with the Jewish calendar, and evolve with the seasons, so children can explore and learn from nature in new and exciting ways all throughout the year.
To bring Nature Chuggim to your organization, please contact Carly Silverman, Education and Program Manager.
Jewish Environmental Education and Stewardship
Adamah Detroit integrates Jewish outdoor experiences, environmental education, and earth stewardship into Jewish life in Detroit through collaborations with synagogues, congregations, camps, and other youth-serving organizations. Additionally, Adamah Detroit coordinates environmental stewardship programming in partnership with local Jewish organizations and local environmental organizations.
To coordinate an environmental education and action event with your community, reach out to Ari Cohen, Program Coordinator.
Seal of Sustainability
Adamah Detroit supports a network of more than 40 Jewish institutions – representing over 43,000 people – integrating sustainability education and action into their institutions. Seal membership has grown to represent Detroit’s extensive, rich, and diverse array of Jewish institutions and this cohort of institutions is the foundation for Adamah Detroit’s partnership-based work. Sustainability initiatives impact culture, inspire and energize community members, and make a meaningful collective environmental impact. Adamah Detroit staff provide coaching, consultation, training, and technical support to sustainability initiatives and programs with Seal Site partners. Projects include recycling and composting efforts, gardening programs, educational initiatives, habitat restoration, power and water saving measures, and climate impact investments. Seal of Sustainability partners can apply for mini-grants to expand the impact of their sustainability initiatives.
We are grateful to our partners and collaborators. Together, we are building vibrant Jewish community, cultivating Jewish environmental leadership and making a meaningful collective environmental impact through our sustainability initiatives:
Adat Shalom Synagogue | BBYO | Beth Israel Congregation | Clover Hill Park Cemetery | Congregation B’nai Moshe | Congregation Beth Ahm | Congregation Shaarey Zedek |Congregation Shir Tikvah | Congregation T’chiyah | Detroit Jews for Justice | Dor Hadash | Farber Hebrew Day School – Yeshivat Akiva | Frankel Jewish Academy | Habonim Dror Camp Tavor | Hillel Day School | Hillel of Metro Detroit | Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue | JARC | Jewish Family Service of Metro Detroit | Jewish Ferndale | Jewish Senior Life | Metro Food Rescue| Michigan Hillel | Repair the World: Detroit | Tamarack Camps | Temple Beth El | Temple Emanu-El | Temple Israel | Temple Kol Ami | Temple Shir Shalom | The Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan Detroit | The Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit | Young Israel of Southfield | Yad Ezra
To learn more about joining the Seal of Sustainability in Metro Detroit email Julia Cunnien, Program Manager.
Jewish Climate Leadership Coalition
Powered by Adamah, the Jewish Climate Leadership Coalition is a network of Jewish community organizations that recognize the existential threat and moral urgency of climate change and are committed to taking action. The Adamah Detroit team is working to build upon the powerful foundation of the Seal of Sustainability program and work with staff, clergy, and lay leaders to support Detroit Seal of Sustainability sites in joining the Coalition and focusing their sustainability efforts on climate impact.
Jewish Youth Climate Movement
Adamah Detroit supports and works to expand the impact of the JYCM in Southeast Michigan. The Jewish Youth Climate Movement is a Gen Z-led movement integrating Jewish identity and leadership development with community building and climate stewardship. JYCM supports and empowers the next generation of Jewish youth to be leaders in the work to build a sustainable and equitable world for all.
Adamah Detroit cultivates vibrant Jewish life in Detroit through integrating Jewish outdoor experiences, environmental education, and earth stewardship into collaborative community events and programs. Our community events, including the Michigan Jewish Food Festival, celebrate Jewish traditions, community, and climate action via opportunities for connection, environmental education, stewardship, and action. With our community partners, we help identify opportunities for deepened Jewish identity development, community building, and environmental connection through the coordination of immersive experiences and events.
Detroit Advisory Council
Rabbi Ari Witkin is the director of leadership development at the Jewish Federation of Metro Detroit. He holds a MS in Nonprofit Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania and was ordained at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College where he was a Wexner Fellow. Fun Adamah fact, Ari and his Liz Traison met at Pearlstone where he worked, when she was working for Hazon. Basically the merger before the merger.
Rabbi Blair Nosanwisch is passionate about building loving and nourishing communities through care, prayer, Torah, and food. She was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2021, joining the Adat Shalom team that same year, and bringing with her an emphasis on spiritual care.
Hi, I’m pleased to be a part of the group and look forward to meeting everyone. I have a garden on the east side of Detroit (Marjorie Street Garden) and also take care of a the formerly orphaned B’nai David Cemetery. I’m originally from Chicago but have been a proud Michigander for over 25 years. .
Recognized twice by Crain’s Detroit Business, first as one of Metro Detroit’s Most Influential Women and more recently as a Notable Woman in Nonprofits, Jodee has led significant organizational growth and transformation as a professional and volunteer at some of Detroit’s finest institutions, including COO of New Detroit, Executive VP of Programs at the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation, Director of The Jewish Fund, and Program Officer at The Skillman Foundation. Jodee is a past President of the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue and Co-Founder SukkahxDetroit. Jodee has a J.D. from Wayne State University and practiced nonprofit and corporate law at Bodman PLC.
Involved in Jewish education and engagement for over 40 years. My Masters Degree is in Library Science. I took a hiatus 12 year from Jewish communal work to go into the travel business. I was a travel writer for five years.
Karla Goldman is Sol Drachler Professor of Social Work and Professor of Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan where she directs the Jewish Communal Leadership Program. She is a historian of American Jewish communities and author of “Beyond the Synagogue Gallery: Finding a Place for Women in American Judaism (Harvard University Press).
Marni is the development director for the National Ramah Commission. Prior to joining the National Ramah Commission, Marni spent 15 years at Hillel Day School of Metropolitan Detroit, most recently as the director of annual giving. She is passionate about the importance of Jewish education and Jewish camping and works hard to ensure these opportunities are available to the community. She holds a BSBA in Finance and an MBA.
Real estate and building management professional employed by Newmark. Responsible for managing the Max M. Fisher Federation Building and supporting my counterparts at Camp Tamarack, the Jewish Community Center and several other properties affiliated with JFMD.
Rachel Jacobson is a cross-sector collaborator with 15 years of experience in the climate adaptation, resilience, and environmental fields. As Acting Director at the American Society of Adaptation Professionals (ASAP), she stewards a social impact network of 1,000 individuals and 45+ organizations to advance effective climate adaptation practice, build cohesion across the field of climate change adaptation, and increase the resilience of communities, ecosystems, and economies across North America. Rachel previously worked with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and with the White House Council on Environmental Quality to enact the climate adaptation goals of the Obama administration. She has also consulted with private sector companies on ESG training and staff development and conducted research and planning efforts in coastal watersheds across the U.S. Rachel is an active participant in Jewish communal life in her current home of Ann Arbor and in the communities she previously lived: Seattle, Washington DC, and Boston. She has served as an Interfaith Sanctuary Coalition volunteer coordinator, taught Jewish text classes for people of all ages, regularly serves as a Shabbat and High Holiday prayer leader, and welcomes people from all backgrounds into her home for Shabbat and holiday meals alongside her spouse and children.
Rebecca Starr is the Director of Regional Programs for the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, where she also oversees all program development, management, and partnerships in the Midwest region. In this role she manages strategy and organizational synergies throughout North American regional hubs. Raised on a sheep farm in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Rebecca is a proud product of the University of Michigan where she earned undergraduate degrees in education and Judaic studies as well as a master’s degree in social work and a certificate in Jewish communal service. Rebecca channeled her love for fitness into certifications as a personal trainer and indoor cycling instructor. She serves on the board of Camp Ramah in Canada and is a member of the steering committee of Adamah Detroit. Rebecca is married to Rabbi Aaron Starr and they are the proud parents of two sons.
Ryan has served in homeless and human service agencies in Metro Detroit for more than 15 years. He joined South Oakland Shelter (SOS) as CEO in 2010, assuming the role at Lighthouse in 2019 as the two organizations merged. Ryan and his team have expanded Lighthouse’s scope of services to encompass emergency shelter and food distribution; financial assistance; affordable housing and community development; supportive service solutions; and crowdfunding technologies that have contributed to thousands of displaced people getting back on their feet and finding a renewed sense of purpose. He has focused Lighthouse on meeting the critical and escalating emergency and longer-term needs of the working poor, homeless, and otherwise impoverished members of our community who face immense systemic challenges against the backdrop of a pandemic and hyperinflation.
Sam Stolper is an assistant professor at the University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability, where he teaches and does research on environmental economics, policy, and justice. His research spans several topics, including transportation, energy efficiency, renewable power, air quality, water affordability, and carbon neutrality. He currently serves on Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s Council on Climate Solutions.
Zach Berg is a Co-owner and operator at Mongers’ Provisions’. He has grown up in the food industry starting with kosher catering. Zach eventually received his BA in Hospitality Business before receiving a Culinary Arts Certificate from the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley. He is lucky to live with his wife Rabbi Megan Brudney and their son Dov Berg.
Upcoming Detroit Events
Explore events in the Metro Detroit area and some of our national programs that may be of interest to our local audience
Kehillah (Community) Canoe Adventure
June 25, 2023
Come paddle on the Huron River in the Proud Lake Recreation Area, with Heavner Canoes. We look forward to a fun-filled day where we will enjoy the scenery and sounds…
Teva (Nature) Tot Shabbat
July 8, 2023
Join us for a special Teva (Nature) Tot Shabbat program! We are gathering at Heritage Park in Farmington Hills in partnership with JFamily for this program, which is geared towards…
Chaverim (Friends) on the Farm
August 18, 2023
Come meet the animals at Maybury Farm; horses, donkeys, pigs, sheep, goats, chickens, cows, alpacas, and more! Explore Jewish values through our connection to the animals that provide our food…
Ari cultivated a passion for the environment at The University of Michigan where he studied environmental sciences. Ari enjoys growing a summer garden and exploring Michigan’s outdoors. Ari supports a wide array of programming in Detroit.
Manager Detroit Seal of Sustainability
Julia engages a network of Jewish institutions in the Metro Detroit area to weave sustainability into their programming. In her free time she enjoys reading, yoga, biking, and convincing all her friends to come to Shabbat dinner!
Education and Program Manager
Carly is the Education and Program Manager, working to develop and facilitate immersive outdoor experiences, environmental education and stewardship programming in Detroit. When not at work, Carly likes to rock climb and play the banjo!
Director, Adamah Detroit
For the past 15 years, Amit has supported collaborative teams committed to youth leadership and community development. Amit has a MSW from the University of Michigan and loves spending time outside with family and friends.
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