Evonne Marzouk: Executive Director Emeritus
Evonne Marzouk is the founder and Executive Director of Canfei Nesharim. Evonne has spoken worldwide on the Torah-environment connection, and also currently leads “Maayan Olam,” a Torah-environment committee serving three synagogues in Silver Spring, MD, where she lives with her husband and son. In addition, Evonne has worked for ten years in the Office of International Affairs at EPA.
In 2002, Evonne served on EPA’s policy coordination team for the World Summit on Sustainable Development, which she attended as a member of the U.S. delegation. Evonne coordinated outreach to congregations in EPA’s Energy Star for Congregations program in 2000, and she served as the Legislative Assistant for the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life in 1998-99. She has also worked in EPA’s Office of Children’s Health Protection, and the Water Division of EPA’s Regional Office in San Francisco, where she worked on projects involving outreach to Indian tribes.
As part of her work with Canfei Nesharim, Evonne has coordinated Torah learning sessions, camping Shabbatons, Tu b’Shevat seders, fundraisers, and activities to reduce the environmental impact of synagogues. She has served on the executive board of Shomrei Adamah, the local Jewish environmental group in Washington, DC, where she acted as an advocate for engaging the Orthodox community in environmental protection. She has also given numerous speeches and presentations on the importance of protecting the environment from a Torah perspective. In 2003, she received an “Unsung Hero Award” from EPA for her work with Canfei Nesharim. In 2009, she was selected as one of The New York Jewish Week’s “36 under 36.”
Ora Sheinson: President and Board Chair
Ora Sheinson is a founding board member of Canfei Nesharim, an environmental litigation associate at Patton Boggs, LLP, an international law firm, and the mother of four children. Ora has pursued the intersection of environmental activism and Halacha from her days in University at Stern College, where she actively lectured on the relationship between Halacha and the Environment. She advanced her knowledge of the public health implications of environmental contamination during her studies for her BA in biology at Stern College, and published several papers on the topic. While in Columbia Law School, Ora published a paper in the Columbia Journal of Environmental Law, discussing the laws of Harchakat Nezkin and how those laws relate to modern American environmental and property laws.
She continues to lecture in communities across the east coast on Tu Bishvat and other environmental issues, and has been quoted in several Jewish newspapers. After graduating Columbia, she worked in New York City for several AM 100 law firms, and has settled in the Environmental department at Patton Boggs in Newark, NJ.
Ora continues to expend significant time working to extend the resources and reach of Canfei Nesharim. She currently resides in Hillside, NJ and is raising four wonderful children with her husband, Baruch.
Rabbi Yosef Blau: Chair of Rabbinic Advisory Board
Rabbi Blau has been the spiritual guidance counselor at Yeshiva University’s Rabbinical School since 1977. He is also the spiritual guidance counselor for students at the University’s undergraduate schools and colleges for men.
Rabbi Blau has served as national president of Yavneh, the National Religious Jewish Students Association, and as a member of that organization’s National Advisory Board.
Dr. Shlomo Shinnar: Chair of Professional Advisory Board
Shlomo Shinnar MD PhD is Professor of Neurology, Pediatrics and Epidemiology and Population Health as well as the Hyman Climenko Professor of Neuroscience Research and Director of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Management Center Montefiore Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He is well known for his research on childhood seizures as well as autism and has served in a variety of roles in national professional organizations.
He has also been active in the local Jewish community, having served in the past as Gabbai and president of the Young Israel of New Rochelle. Professor Shinnar has a long standing interest in the environment and serves on both the Scientific Advisory Board and the Board of Directors of Canfei Nesharim.
Dr. Daniel Weber: Chair of Science and Advisory Board
Professionally, Daniel is a fish neurobehavioral toxicologist. In that capacity, he conducts studies that evaluate the behavioral effects of toxic chemicals that act primarily on the nervous system, including the brain. Over the years he has studied the effects of lead, mercury and other metals, as well as stormwater effluents in urban streams. The focus of the research is to both understand why chemicals have specific effects and provide a framework (legal, medical, etc.) for establishing methods to minimize these effects. Their research center is also actively creating science modules for middle school students which allow them to actually study live animals, a practice becoming more rare in schools today in favor of “virtual” science experiences. To date they have created and tested over 10 such modules and have trained over 60 teachers. Fortunately, Daniel does more than laboratory work and has been active in community outreach work involving enhancing environmental awareness. He has talked to lay groups ranging from churches to business groups on topics as diverse as global climate change and the state of the North American Great Lakes.
Jewishly, Daniel has been very active in the community. Having taught religious school, he has since extended that role through involvement in organizations that promote Jewish learning at various age levels, including day school, college and adult.
Ann Wimpfheimer, Director
Ann Wimpfheimer is a clincal psychologist in private practice in NYC where she treats individuals, couples and families. She has worked as a mental health consultant to various community Early Childhood Programs, working with teachers and parents.
Ann is a founder of and volunteer for Dorot, is involved in many Jewish community groups, and serves on the Board of the Davidson School of Education of the JTS. A long time supportor of environmental organizations and causes, here and in Israel, Ann is excited to work with Canfei Nesharim to continue working towards greater environmental awareness and action in the Jewish community.
Canfei Nesharim is proud to have an elite rabbinic advisory board, made up of rabbanim from across the Orthodox spectrum, who keep us anchored in Torah and halacha as we pursue our work.
If you are an Orthodox rabbi who is interested in serving on our advisory board, please email us for more information.
Rabbi Mordechai Becher:
Rabbi Mordechai Becher, originally from Australia, is a Senior Lecturer for the Gateways Organization. He has lectured in Israel, England, South Africa, Canada and Russia and served as a chaplain in the Israeli Defense Force. Rabbi Becher is the co-author of After the Return, a guide for the newly religious. He has also developed Judaica websites and software. Rabbi Becher received his ordination from the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. He resides in Passaic, N.J. with his wife and children.
Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum:
Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum, founder and director of the Azamra Institute, was ordained in 1988 by Rabbi Meir Bransdorfer of Jerusalem’s Orthodox Council. Born in Britain in 1949, he has studied at Cambridge University, Harvard and Columbia. In 1980 Rabbi Greenbaum moved to Israel with his wife and family and settled in Jerusalem. He is the author of over twenty books on the teachings of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov and a well-known teacher of Jewish spirituality and healing.
Rabbi Barry Kornblau:
Rabbi Barry Kornblau has been rabbi of the Young Israel of Hollis Hills-Windsor Park, in Bayside, Queens, NY since 2003. Since 2005, he has also served as Director of Committees and Operations at the national offices of the Rabbinical Council of America in Manhattan, NY. He is also a member of the Va’ad Harabonim of Queens. Between receiving a B.A. in music theory and composition from Yale University in 1988 and ordination from the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary at Yeshiva University in 2001, he worked for many years on Wall Street as a fixed income analyst, primarily at Goldman Sachs & Co. He also studied at Yeshivat Har Etzion in Alon Shvut, Israel.Rabbi Kornblau is married to Dina, a pediatric neurologist who practices in the Bronx, NY. Together, they are blessed with five children, including a set of twin girls.
Rabbi Lee Jay Lowenstein:
Rabbi Michael Skobac:
Rabbi Michael Skobac was educated at Northwestern University and Yeshiva University. He has been involved in informal Jewish education and outreach work since 1975. Rabbi Skobac was the founding director of Kiruv, the campus outreach arm of the Rabbinical Council of America, and has worked as a campus professional with Hillel groups in Philadelphia, New York and Toronto. He has specialized in counter-missionary work since 1983, establishing the New York branch of Jews for Judaism and serving as a consultant to the New York Jewish Community Relations Council Task Force on Missionaries and Cults.
Canfei Nesharim is committed to educating our members about the latest scientific understanding of environmental concerns, and to suggest actions which are consistent with the best ways to have an impact on the environment from a scientific perspective. The following scientists have volunteered their time to help us. If you would like to be a part of Canfei Nesharim’s Science Advisory Board, please send your CV to Dr. Daniel Weber.
Dr. Daniel Weber, Science and Technology Advisory Board Chair
Daniel Weber examines the relationship of toxic environmental contaminants to the changes in behavior and neural development in fishes. He has a PhD (Ethology, Physiology) and is associate Scientist and Manager, Neurobehavioral Toxicology Facility of the Children’s Environmental Health Institute and Great Lakes WATER Institute, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Past research has involved studying the effects of lead on social and feeding activities, as well as locomotor behaviors in freshwater species of fish. Current research focuses on the effects of mercury compounds and specific insecticides on the embryonic development of neural paths that either control reflex behavior or learning as models of human environmental health. Additionally, Dr. Weber works with state and federal natural resource managers to evaluate the effect of urban storm water runoff on the reproductive success of native fish species with the goal of developing guidelines for managing urban and urbanizing watersheds.
Dr. Mark Altabet
Dr. Altabel is a Professor in the Department of Estuarine and Ocean Sciences of the School for Marine Science and Technology at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth. Dr. Altabet’s major research interest is understanding the major biogeochemical cycles of ocean systems. While focusing on how nitrogen, a key nutrient in oceans, cycles through the biological and chemical components of the marine environment, Dr. Altabet also analyzes these interactions in terms of global climate change, changes in the atmospheric content of carbon dioxide, and the effects on eutrophication of coastal habitats.
Dr. Steve Brenner
Dr. Steve Brenner’s research focus is on the modelling of oceanic-atmospheric interactions. Previous to his joint appointment at Bar Ilan University and Israel Oceanographic and Limnologiocal Research, Dr. Brenner has held positions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northeastern University and Scripps Oceanographic Institute. In an advisory capacity, Dr. Brenner is on the Advisory Committee for Lake Kinneret, the Israel National Committee to Study the Impact of Atmospheric and Climatic changes, as well as various UNESCO working groups. Besides being a highly published scientist, Dr. Brenner is a reviewer for 16 geophysical and oceanographic journals.
Dr. Devra Davis
Devra Lee Davis, PhD, MPH, director of the Center for Environmental Oncology at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, is a renowned environmental health expert, professor of epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health and visiting professor at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz School of Public Policy and Management. Dr. Davis was designated a National Book Award Finalist for her book, “When Smoke Ran Like Water”, part of which centers around a deadly air pollution episode in her hometown of Donora, PA. In addition to her academic appointments, Dr. Davis has held multiple advisory roles in national and international agencies, including the World Health Organization, and has received numerous awards pertaining to her work in environmental health. Dr. Davis holds a BS in physiological psychology and a MA in sociology from the University of Pittsburgh. She completed her doctorate in science studies at the University of Chicago followed by a master’s degree in public health from the Johns Hopkins University as a senior National Cancer Institute post-doctoral fellow. She is the author of over 170 scientific publications and the editor of 11 books.
Dr. David Goldblatt
With advanced degrees from Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies as well as the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Dr. Goldblatt has focused his research interests on energy and transportation issues. Dr. Goldblatt has made innovative contributions to ecological modernization of consumption, sustainable energy consumption, and risk communication. Additionally, he has conducted studies on energy efficiency, designed procedures to promote and market conservation services, and advanced the design and use of energy accounting software and the information/knowledge approach for energy conservation. As a transportation policy analyst for the Natural Resources Defense Council in the mid-90s, Dr. Goldblatt spearheaded a study on emissions and energy use characteristics of heavy-duty hybrid electric vehicles and provided advocacy and analysis in support of California’s 1998 Zero and Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle sales mandate. Dr. Goldblatt is currently a Risk Policy Fellow in the Science and Policy Program of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, in which capacity he is working at the US Department of Agriculture’s Office of Public Health Science in its Risk Assessment Division.
Dr. Frank Lieberman
Frank Lieberman is a neurooncologist at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute whose clinical and research activities focus on the treatment of central nervous system tumors and the neurologic complications of cancer. Dr. Lieberman leads a clinical trials program which is attempting to apply the molecular genetic insights of the past decade to develop molecularly targeted drug therapies for patients with malignant gliomas. In collaboration with Drs. Gary Marsh and Nurten Esman, Dr. Lieberman is a member of the team investigating the incidence of malignant brain tumors in a population of jet engine plant workers, the largest occupational exposure study of brain tumors conducted to date. Dr. Lieberman has a longstanding interest in the Torah perspectives on bioethical questions, including the halachic aspects of experimental cancer treatments, and end of life decision making, and is a member of the bioethics committee for the Cancer Center’s affiliated hospital. Dr. Lieberman serves as vice-chair for the Institutional Review Board of the University of Pittsburgh and as a member of the Environmental Committee of the United Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh.
Dr. Mitchell Small
Dr. Mitchell Small is a Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, as well as of Engineering and Public Policy, at Carnegie Mellon University. Dr. Smalls’ research interests include mathematical modeling of environmental quality, human exposures modeling, human risk perception and decision making, indoor air pollution, modeling acid rain and climate change, groundwater and soil pollution monitoring, site remediation, and drinking water quality. In addition to publishing nearly 100 scientific papers, Dr. Small has edited several books on risk analysis and environmental pollution monitoring. Dr. Small has served as a scientific advisor on many professional panels for the US Environmental Protection Agency, US Geological Survey, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and the US Army Corps of Engineers.
Dr. Clifford P Weisel
Clifford P Weisel, Ph.D. is a professor in the Exposure Science Division of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Medicine of the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School/University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and holds appointments on the graduate faculty of Rutgers University and the UMDNJ School of Public Health. He is the Deputy Director of the Exposure Science Division of the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute and Director of the Doctoral Degree Program in Exposure Assessment offered jointly by UMDNJ and Rutgers University. Dr. Weisel has directed research to understand multi-route exposures, develop and apply biomarkers of exposure and has conducted large exposure field projects. He has examined the relationship among indoor, outdoor and personal exposure to air pollutants; documented the importance of inhalation and dermal exposure to contaminants, such as disinfection by products, in drinking water to their risk in tap water; and the role of on air pollution and on asthma and other respiratory and on cardiovascular diseases. He is current studying exposures within aircraft cabins and is a co-investigator in the National Children Study, a large nationwide study planned for the next twenty years to examine how the environment affects the health of children as they grow to adults. He is the past president of the International Society of Exposure Science and has served on numerous international and national advisory committees, workshops and advisory review panels for EPA, NIEHS, state governmental, environmental group and private industry. He has been an associate editor of the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology since 1995. Dr. Weisel has authored or co-authored more than 80 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters.