Staff

 

Victor Weis

Victor Weis

Executive Director

Victor is an educator, environmentalist and Israel geography lover, an entrepreneur and manager, an inspiring and creative man who has brought his vision and imagination to his work at the Heschel Center.

He is a graduate of the 6th Fellowship Program of the Heschel Center, and The Mandel School for Educational Leadership, holds BA degree in geography and education and MA degree in health systems management.

Victor comes with a great deal of experience in instruction and management. He founded and directed the field of environmental protection in the IDF, including formulating the army’s environmental policy and approach to environmental management, which led to the “Environmental Protection Authority. He established the Military Command and Control Program regarding the environment, and represented the Defense Minister in Parliamentary committees and the Ministry of Environmental Protection.

He was among the initiators of the Minister of Environment’s Competitions for Environmental Protection for Military Units – “Nature Awareness Week”, The IDF and the Environment photo contest  and the establishment of the fund  to support environmental initiatives in the IDF.

Victor initiated, established and directed the field of environmental education in the IDF. He was a co- founder and manager of the field of geography and military heritage. He is a tour guide and a senior lecturer in education, sustainability and geography.

After 23 years of military service, he retired and went on a trip around the world with his family. Upon his return to Israel, he was appointed Executive Director of The Heschel Center for Sustainability in February 2016.

What is the Heschel Center for me?

It is an organization where thought and pioneering research weave the vision of the future in which we will want to raise our children, and fosters the leadership that will make the vision a reality. 

David Dunetz

Dr. David Dunetz

Head of Education Division and Climate Change project

David is Ori and Nir’s father and Shulie’s spouse. They live in Tel Aviv. He is an alumnus of the the 1st cohort of the Heschel Fellows Program.

David is the Head of Heschel’s Education Division since 2010, and served as CEO between the years 2014 and 2016.

He is a faculty member at the Kibbutzim College and enjoys walking on the beach whenever possible.

David is one of the founders of the Green Network - a leading educational organization promoting education for sustainability in Israel in cooperation with the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Education and the Heschel Center since 1998. He directed the Network for a decade.

He has a PhD in Education from Haifa University in environmental education and education for sustainability in critical theory. He has published several articles on education for sustainability as transformational education.. He has been teaching, advising and conducting practical research for several years now on local education practices, for example "HMM" – Hinuh Mekomi Mekayem - Local Sustainable Education and community educational change in the age of globalization, growing gaps in society and climate change.

 

What is the Heschel Center for me?

Home. Beloved people, a Beit Midrash for dreams, dialogues and exciting ideas which light the path to a different future.

Eli Fink

CFO 

Eli lives in Mazkeret Batya with his wife and four kids. He has been managing the funds of non-profit organizations for more than ten years.

In his position as CFO, he is responsible for budgets, cash flow, financial statements and more. 

What is the Heschel Center for me?

A place with good people. 

Jeremy Benstein

Dr. Jeremy Benstein 

Director of research and publications

Jeremy made aliyah from the United States more than thirty years ago, with the dream of making Israel a model society. This dream led him to join forces with Dr. Eilon Schwartz - the first executive director - and together they co-founded the Heschel Center for Sustainability. At present, he oversees the center for information, research, and publications at the Heschel Center.

He holds a B.A. in Linguistics from Harvard University, a Master's degree in Rabbinic Literature, and a PhD. in Environmental Anthropology from The Hebrew University in Jerusalem. 

He has conducted research on the topic of the environment as a focus for shared citizenship between Israeli Palestinians and Jewsin Israel. For 15 years he ran the Environmental Leadership Fellowship Program for of the Heschel Center, and during the last five years he also has been teaching Environmental Ethics at The Porter School of Environmental Studies at Tel Aviv University. He is particularly interested in the broad topic of sustainability from the perspective of the humanities and social sciences with an emphasis on values, culture and religion. He wrote the book The Way Into Judaism and the Environment published in 2006. He also edited two readers for the Heschel Center One Earth, Many Worlds and Sustainability - Vision, Values, Implementation.

Jeremy is the father of Noam and Yonah, married to Prof. Annabel Herzog, professor of political theory, who is the mother of Orian, Adam and Ariel, and together they also have (the cats) Lavell and Kevin, all living in their home in Zichron Yaakov, in Israel.

What is the Heschel Center for me?

It is a place of networking between people, ideas, and action, which both serves as a place for innovation and home for the agents of change.

Lia Ettinger

Dr. Lia Ettinger  

Academic director, Fellowship facilitator

Lia joined The Heschel Center shortly after its establishment and together with Dr. Jeremy Benstein developed and directed the Fellowship Program, which she has been running till today. Her main interests are currently developing pedagogies for socio-economic entrepreneurship, and systems thinking, as well as exploring links between the financial system and sustainability.

In addition to working at The Heschel Center, she is a Fellow at the Shaharit Institute for New Politics. She also teaches at the Mandel Institute for Educational Leadership and at the Porter School of Environmental Studies at Tel Aviv University where she teaches Introduction to Sustainability.

Lia has a PhD degree in Biology from The Hebrew University. Her doctoral dissertation and post-doctoral research at UC Berkeley and The Hebrew University  deals with  evolution and the philosophy of biology. She is a graduate of the Mandel Institute for Educational Leadership where she developed the model of "communities of thought" as part of the Branco Weiss Institute schools around the country.

Lia began to explore sustainability aspects of life on her own about thirty years ago, and since then she has been working on accessibility to knowledge, and connections between science- society economics and culture.

Born in Jerusalem, she is the mother of Tamar and Tal and Michael’s partner.

What is the Heschel Center for me?

It is a nursery of ideas and people that work together and separately, to make the big transition which is essential for sustainability.

Shachar Kahanovich

Director of the Center for Sustainability Studies

Shachar Kananovich

Shachar is married to Tamar who is an educator engaged in art and environment. He has a BA degree from Kibbutzim College in Science Education. Shachar specializes in Education for Democracy and Education for Sustainability. He holds an MA degree in Environmental Studies from Tel Aviv University.

He has extensive experience in training, teaching, and guiding projects that promote sustainability. Previously, he coordinated the process of implementing sustainability values at the Kibbutzim College.

 

 

He is currently the director of the Center for Sustainability Studies at the Heschel Center and teaches sustainability at the Kibbutzim College of Education.

What is the Heschel Center for me?

It is an inspiring place that connects "the blessed unrest" with the vision of society, making it a good place to live.

Ran Raviv

Director of the Center for Local Sustainability

Ran Raviv

 

Ran is a member of the urban kibbutz Tamuz in Beit Shemesh. He is married to Einat and they have three children.

Ran directed "Nivcheret" (NBHA)- Noar Bone Hevra Aheret- Youth  Builds a Different Society, which is a nationwide educational program, in elementary schools from all sectors. The program trained teachers to deal with issues related to economics and social co- existence in different classes from different sectors.

He also managed the food cooperatives of the NGO "Community Advocacy" and the Community Association of the urban kibbutz Tamuz.

Upon realizing that social organizations lack networking, he developed the sustainability program for the nationwide network of intentional communities.

Based on that experience of promoting sustainability in marginalized populations, he established the Local Sustainability Centers initiative, as a partnership between the Ministry of Environment and The Heschel Center.

Ran joined the Local Centers for Sustainability at the Heschel Center due to  his experience with local centers.

What is the Heschel Center for me?

It is a place where dreams can become part of your work plan, and you can find good partners for it.

 

 Yoav Egozi

Director of the Heschel Fellows Program

Yoav Egozi

Yoav is an activist that deals with environment, education and community from different aspects. He is one of the founders of the transition movement in Israel, and a member of the International Transition movement. Yoav takes interest in people, communities; urbanism and ways to infuse change, and promotes these agenda in various capacities like researching urban sustainability in the Jerusalem institute for Israel research.

He is a permaculture planner and teacher, worked in earth building and took part in establishing "Hava Va'adam", an ecological farm in Modi'in, and taught in "Meitar: a home for a dialogue-based education" in Beit Oren. He holds a B.A. in Democratic Education, a teaching certificate of environmental studies, and a M.A. in Environmental Studies from Tel Aviv University. During his Masters studies he wrote about the Transition Initiative in Israel and served as a member of the lab for environment and community planning in Tel Aviv University. He lives in Yehud with his family where he is developing a community agriculture garden.

What is the Heschel Center for me?

It’s the lighthouse of sustainability in Israel. The center spreads hope and is a meeting place for caring people.

Meira Hanson

Evaluation Coordinator

Meira Hanson

Meira initially moved to Jerusalem as a student, where she decided to stay because she believes that cities are the right place to start  a change for sustainability.

She is a researcher, writer, editor and lecturer, with  20 years of experience in the field of sustainability. She has special interest in projects that create knowledge relevant to community work, as well as those projects which demand original thinking about the social aspects of sustainability and the creation of a joint dialogue with the field of health promotion.

She graduated the 6th Fellowship Program of The Heschel Center and holds a BA degree in political science from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a Master's degree from the University of Keele in UK in the same field.

She is a former researcher and coordinator of publications at “Transportation-  Today and Tomorrow”, a member of the Israeli Worldwatch team, and the coordinator in Israel of the European project on public engagement in research and research involved in the society, which operated under the auspices of The Heschel Center. Within these frameworks and others she wrote reports on transportation policy and consumers’ protection in public transport. She edited a booklet on sustainable local economy and has written chapters for a variety of publications. 

At the Heschel Center Meira writes requests for donations and grants. She is also responsible for program evaluation, and of research programs which include collaborations with academia. In addition, she has been teaching for over ten years, a course on Environment and Sustainability to master degree students at the  Health Department  of  Public Health at The Hebrew University. 

What is the Heschel Center for me? 

It is the place that connects the theory and practice of sustainability: an incubator of ideas that allows and promotes synergies between people, in order to make ideas a reality.

Tamara Sharon Ross

Resource Development and Marketing Director

Tamara Sharon Ross

Tamara Sharon Ross is the Director of Resource Development and Marketing at the Heschel Center for Sustainability.

Previously, she had been the director for Israel Engaged Campus at Hillel International in Washington, DC, where she directed a pilot program focused on Israel engagement and education, a partnership with The Jewish Agency for Israel and part of Hinenu, the Israel Engagement and Education department at Hillel International.

Tamara also served as the deputy director of the Jewish Agency Israel Fellows program, which she has been a part of for six years.

Tamara earned a Masters Degree in Applied Economics from the Johns Hopkins University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Bachelors of Science in Economics from Tel Aviv University. 

What is the Heschel Center for me?

A warm place with kind, smart, and honest people. 

Leticia Blankledar

Leticia Blankledar

Accounting

Native of Uruguay, Leticia is the mother of Noga and Gil. She is married to Eyal and they have a dog, Rasta.

She lives in the center of Tel Aviv. She is very connected to local action and sustainable living.

She studied Industrial Engineering and Management at Management and Business Institute.

In the last 15 years, she has acquired extensive experience in building and managing businesses in the food sector. Leticia loves people and culture, She enjoys the environment, music, cinema and meditation. She has been practicing Tai Chi for ten years.

What is the Heschel Center for me?

It is home, and an optimistic place  with blessed action for a better world.

  Yael Oron  

Operations and course coordinator

Yael Oron

Yael lives in Tel Aviv. She studied design, art and business coaching.

She has worked in event planning, landscape design, interior design and home styling.

From a conceptual and aesthetic point of view she prefers to use whatever is at hand in her projects: "Furniture from Grandma" as she calls it. She renovates whatever furniture she can find on the streets and restores it after carefully planning.

Her projects include studying the painting techniques which sustain an eclectic, creative, personalized and empowering result.

What is the Heschel Center for me?

It’s a place with inspiring people where  I can find people who possess  similar personal and professional values to mine.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Founding Director

Dr. Eilon Schwartz                               

 

Dr. Eilon Schwartz founded the Heschel Center along with Dr. Jeremy Benstein in 1994 and served as Director until 2012. He is currently the head of Shaharit: Creating Common Cause, a think-tank he established with the aim of generating a new vision for Israeli society. Eilon is also a faculty member of the Melton Centre for Jewish Education at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he teaches advanced degree courses in Judaism and environmental education, environmental policy and ethics, education for cultural criticism, science and religious education, and others. Eilon has published both academic and popular articles on related issues, and lectures widely on the Israeli environment. His book Living in the World: Human Nature, Ecological Thought and Education after Darwin was published by SUNY Press.

Former Director

Dr. Orli Ronen                              

 orlironen@gmail.com 

Dr. Orli Ronen joined the Heschel Center in 1998 as Deputy Director and became CEO at 2012. In 2006 Orli establishid the Center for Local Sustainabilty through a European Community grant. The Center become one of the key drivers in Israel for Urban Sustainability. The Center's development work include: Urban Sustainability Index, Guide for Sustainable Negiborhoods, Capacity Building Frameworks, Climate Mitigation and Adaptation frameworks and actions, community building frameworks and actions, establsihment of a network of Local Hubs for sustainabilty across the country.Now days, Orli is the head of The Urban Innovation and Sustainability Lab, in Porter School for Environmental and Social Studies,  at Tel Aviv University. The lab is a cooperation between the Porter school and Tel Aviv Municipality. The lab enables graduate students to work directly with policy actors in local authorities, helping them use environmental data to devise new sustainability programs and policies for their local area.

Former Director

Dr. David Dunetz         

Head of Heschel's Education Division and Climate Change project manager

Dr. David Dunetz joined the Heschel Center as a fellow in 1999. Since then, Dunetz took a central part of the Heschel staff. He was Heschel's CEO between 2014-2016. 

David is Ori and Nir’s father and Shulie’s spouse. They live in Rosh Pina. He graduated the 1st Fellowship Program.

He often stays in Tel Aviv due to his many duties at the Heschel Center and as a faculty member at the Kibbutzim College. When in Tel Aviv he enjoys walking on the beach whenever possible.

David is one of the founders of the Green Network - a leading educational organization promoting education for sustainability in Israel in cooperation with the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Education and the Heschel Center since 1998. He directed the Network for a decade.

He has a PhD in Education from Haifa University in environmental education and education for sustainability in critical theory. He has published several articles on education for sustainability as transformational education.. He has been teaching, advising and conducting practical research for several years now on local education practices, for example "HMM" – Hinuh Mekomi Mekayem - Local Sustainable Education and community educational change in the age of globalization, growing gaps in society and climate change.

David is the Head of Heschel’s Education Division since 2010, and served as CEO between the years 2014 and 2016.

What is the Heschel Center for me?

Home. Beloved people, a Beit Midrash for dreams, dialogues and exciting ideas which light the path to a different future.

The Heschel Center

The Heschel Center for Sustainability works to promote a sustainable Israel: a just and cohesive society, a robust and democratic economy, and a healthy and productive environment for all its residents, now and in the future.