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COEJL Committee

COEJL is guided by the COEJL Committee which brings together prominent Jewish environmentalists, including veteran leaders and cutting edge activists. The committee is part of the Equal Opportunity and Social Justice Task Force (EOSJ) of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA,) COEJL’s parent organization, and is chaired by Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb.


Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb, Rabbi, Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation (COEJL Committee Chair)

Fred Scherlinder Dobb has been Rabbi of Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation (www.adatshalom.net) in the Washington DC area since 1997, during which time the synagogue has more than doubled in size, built its 2002 EPA Energy Star Award building, and recently installed a 43kw solar array and a thriving organic garden. A long-time Jewish environmental educator and activist, Fred has been a lay-leader with the Coalition on the Environment Jewish Life for some fifteen years, and while on sabbatical in 2003-04 he joined the COEJL staff. Fred is currently the Chairperson of Greater Washington Interfaith Power and Light (www.gwipl.org) , and a co-Chair of Religious Witness for the Earth. He has written and spoken widely on the intersection of Judaism and ecology, though between synagogue and family commitments (Sara in first grade and Gili in pre-school) it remains an avocation. Fred received a Doctor of Ministry from Wesley Theological Seminary in 2009, having written on eco-theology and greening congregations; he serves on the Reconstructionist Movement Advisory Committee, and is a Past President of the Washington Board of Rabbis.

Nathan Arbitman, Head of Product Management, Dupont Photovoltaic Solutions

Nathan Arbitman is the head of Product Management for DuPont’s Photovoltaic Solutions business, which is the largest supplier of materials to photovoltaic module makers globally. Before joining DuPont, he worked for ten years in the environmental technology field, for both non-profit organizations (National Wildlife Federation, Sustainable Conservation, The Natural Step) and as a consultant to such companies as The Coca-Cola Company, Aveda Corporation, and GE Energy to help them identify new growth opportunities while reducing their environmental footprint. While in graduate school Nathan  also served as Vice President of his chapter of Net Impact, a community of over 30,000 changemakers who use their  careers to tackle the world’s toughest problems. Nathan earned an MBA in Marketing and an MS in Sustainable Design and Technology from the University of Michigan, and a BA in Political Science from Brown University.

David Bohm, Treasurer, Vice Chair, Jewish Council for Public Affairs

David Bohm is an experienced litigator working with health care, government, and business clientele at the law firm Danna McKitrick. He handles matters involving employment, trademark, copyright, trade secret, and complex contracts, and represents clients before various administrative agencies. He is skilled in mediation and arbitration techniques as an alternative to litigation. David has argued before the Supreme Court of Missouri, the Missouri Court of Appeals, and the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. He has assisted in briefing cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and other federal Circuit Courts of Appeal. Since joining the firm, he has drafted several bills, which have been enacted as state statutes, including the Mo. Religious Freedom Restoration Act and a law permitting social service agencies to act as guardians for disabled individuals. David received the Albert “Red” Villa Human Rights Award from the St. Louis Civil Rights Commission in 1992, the Jurisprudence Award from the Anti-Defamation League in 1994, and with his family, the 2008 Netzach Award from the St. Louis chapter of the American Jewish Committee.

Mark Brownstein,  Chief Counsel, Energy Program at Environmental Defense Fund

Mark Brownstein is Chief Counsel of the Energy Program at Environmental Defense Fund.  Mark specializes in utility-related issues, including transmission development, wholesale and retail electric market design, rate reform, and power plant siting and investment.  Mark leads EDF’s team on coal and natural gas and is an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA).  Prior to joining Environmental Defense Fund, Mark was Director of Enterprise Strategy for Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG), where he worked directly with PSEG’s senior leadership in crafting and implementing the corporation’s business strategy. Mark was also an active member of the US EPA’s Clean Air Act Advisory Committee and New Jersey’s Renewable Energy Task Force.  Aside from PSEG, Mark’s career includes time as an attorney in private environmental practice, a regulator with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, and an aide to then-Congressman Robert G. Torricelli (D–NJ).

Terry Gips, President, Sustainability Associates

Terry Gips is a widely published ecologist, agricultural economist, green business consultant, Natural Step facilitator, speaker and author with more than 25 years experience in global environmental leadership, government policy, sustainable development, business management and consulting.  He is the President of Sustainability Associates, which works with business, communities, government agencies, educational institutions and nonprofits to improve performance and strategic position, reduce costs, and achieve ecological soundness and social responsibility through leading edge sustainability thinking, eco-auditing, technical consulting, organizational learning, team building, public policy, strategic marketing, and capital formation.  He presently is President of the Alliance for Sustainability and a board member of Business for Social Responsibility–Upper Midwest, Jewish Community Relations Council of MN and Dakotas, and the Twin Cities American Jewish Committee, as well as many other environmental, governmental and Jewish organizations.

Rabbi Steve Gutow, President and CEO, Jewish Council for Public Affairs

Rabbi Steve Gutow is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the public policy and community relations coordinating agency of the American Jewish community. In this position, Steve has mobilized the Jewish community and advocated that the government end the genocide in Darfur, reform immigration policy, support Israel, protect individual rights, maintain and enhance anti-poverty programs, and create a sustainable environment.  Steve has also worked diligently to foster a stronger bond among the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths.  For his leadership, Steve has been named among the 20 most influential American rabbis (Newsweek, 2009 and 2010) and in 2007 to the Forward 50 (The Forward, 2007.) Steve is COEJL’s immediate past co-chair.

Rachel Gutter, Director of the Center for Green Schools, U.S. Green Building Council

Rachel Gutter is the Director of the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council. Rachel came to USGBC in 2007 to oversee the launch of LEED for Schools, a version of USGBC’s popular green building certification program that facilitates the design, construction and operations of high-performance, green schools. Later that year, Rachel spearheaded the launch of the National Green Schools Campaign to engage students and teachers, parents and school superintendents, elected officials and other policy makers in a national conversation about the relationship between high-performance educational facilities and high-performing students. Today, Rachel is widely regarded as one of the nation’s foremost experts on the topic of green schools. More than 100 major media outlets have sought Rachel’s perspective, including the Washington Post, the New York Times, USA Today and CNN. In 2011 she was honored as an eco-heroine in Martha Stewart’s Whole Living Magazine. Rachel has six years of teaching experience, as well as professional experience in the fields of green building consulting and interior architecture. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Tufts University.

Lois Schiffer, Environmental Attorney

Lois Schiffer has extensive experience in environmental law through her work for the federal government, in private practice, and for non-profit organizations. She is currently General Counsel at NOAA, and was previously General Counsel at the National Capital Planning Commission. From 1993-2001, she served as Assistant Attorney General for the U. S. Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, with responsibility for litigation across the country in a wide range of environmental cases. For twenty-five she has been an adjunct professor of environmental law at Georgetown. She has been on the Board, and now on the Governance Committee, of COEJL for a number of years, and has served on a number of other non-profit boards.  She has received the Charles Fahy Distinguished Adjunct Professor Award, and the Edmund J. Randolph Award for outstanding service at the Department of Justice.

Ari Wallach, Founder, Synthesis Corp.

Ari Wallach is the founder and managing partner of Synthesis Corp.  Synthesis Corp. works with governments, NGOs, foundations and select corporate clients to provide turnkey solutions that drive top-line growth through sustainable social impact.  Synthesis Corp. recently worked with the United States Department of State on the creation of a cutting-edge web 2.0 platform called OpinionSpace. Current clients include CNN, Friendfactor.org and a start-up foundation.  Ari is the co-founder of 2008’s The Great Schlep, which had over 25 million views online and started a national conversation about race during the 2008 presidential campaign.  Ari is also the founder of INFORUM – one of the nation’s largest non-partisan public affairs forums for young people.  His work experience runs the gamut from the Democratic National Committee to the United States Institute of Peace and from Deepak Chopra to sustainability related projects for the State of Israel.


Former COEJL Committee Memebers

Rabbi David Saperstein, Ambassador At Large for International Religious Freedom, former Director and Counsel, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

Rabbi David Saperstein is a rabbi, lawyer, and American Jewish leader. He served as the director and legal counsel at the Union for Reform Judaism’s Religious Action Center for 35 years. Newsweek has called him the most influential rabbi in America.  Long involved in environmental issues, David was a founding board member of the National Religious Partnership on the Environment and COEJL. As an attorney, he taught First Amendment church-state law and Jewish Law at Georgetown Law School for 30 years. In 1999, Rabbi Saperstein was elected as the first Chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (created by an act of Congress) and in 2009 was appointed to the first White House Advisory Council on Faith Based and Neighborhoods Partnerships, where he served on the taskforce on environmental issues. Today, Rabbi Saperstein is the Ambassador-At-Large for International Religious Freedom, the first non-Christian to ever have been appointed to the position.

Rachel Jacoby Rosenfield, Associate Director, American Jewish World Service

Rachel Jacoby Rosenfield is associate director of community engagement at American Jewish World Service. She is also the co-founder and former director of the Jewish Greening Fellowship, an initiative of the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, which aims to cultivate environmental change leadership among Jewish communal professionals, reduce the environmental impacts of Jewish organizations in the New York area, and generate meaningful responses to global climate change while strengthening Jewish life.  Rachel has served as an educator, organizer and advocate in the field of Jewish service-learning in for more than a decade.  Rachel formerly served as director for program development and Jewish life at the Riverdale Y where she developed innovative programming including an agency and community-wide greening initiative. She is a graduate of the Muehlstein Fellowship for Jewish Professional Leadership, a Mentor for GreenFaith’s Certification Program for Houses of Worship, and Chair of the GreenFaith Initiative at the Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel of Riverdale.