People of Eden Village

Founding Director

Yoni2Yoni Stadlin, Camp Director –
Yoni is a passionate and talented educator, activist and community builder, founded Eden Village Camp in 2008 with his wife, Vivian Lehrer Stadlin. In 2010, the Jewish Week recognized Yoni and Vivian as two of the “36 under 36” (the 36 most influential Jewish leaders under the age of 36). Yoni holds an M.A. in Informal Jewish Education from the Jewish Theological Seminary, and directed the 92nd Street Y’s science and nature day camp for two years, where he garnered rave reviews from campers, parents and staff. He is a veteran educator for the Teva Learning Center, the country’s leading Jewish environmental education program. Yoni has taught Judaism and environmental justice internationally with the American Jewish World Service, taught environmental science from an educational sailboat on which he lived, co-organized earthquake relief trips to India and Turkey, and led Birthright Israel trips. In 1999 and 2006, Yoni spent several months living aloft in ancient redwood trees that were slated to be cut, as an environmental protection initiative. Today, those trees are alive and well. Yoni has a natural gift for sharing his vision, leading raucous song sessions and connecting with people of all ages.


Our Staff 

simone-300x201Simone Lindenbaum ZivAssistant Director –
Simone is totally thrilled to be working at Eden Village. After graduating from McGill University, Simone worked for a sustainability non-profit in the Philadelphia area. Simone has grown up in camp and in community; she spent 13 years learning and educating with Habonim Dror. She’s worked in synagogues, community centers and after-school programs to facilitate creative Jewish experiential learning. Most recently, her spiritual and environmental practice has been shaped through living in community at Findhorn Ecovillage in Scotland, participating in the ADAMAH farming fellowship, and working as a Jewish environmental educator with the TEVA Learning Alliance. Simone can be found hanging out in the forest, singing loudly, putting on shows, rap battling, crafting and playing the 4 chords she knows on guitar again and again.

BethBeth Lebenson PraverDirector of Parent Engagement & Development –
Beth is the proud parent of three Eden Village campers and joined the full-time Eden Village staff in 2015 after a full Summer on the Camper Care team. She brings an eclectic professional background as a mental health professional, educator, and professional writer. She’s worked at the Israeli Consulate in New York, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, Bi-Cultural Day School, Bedford Correctional Facility for Women, and two New York Times regional newspapers. Beth is certified as a Social Worker, and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Jewish and Near Eastern Studies from Washington University in St. Louis and a Master’s Degree in Forensic Psychology from the John Jay School of Criminal Justice.

AndrewAndrew Gurwitz ZivAssociate Director –
Andrew has led camp’s operations, visioning, and strategy since camp’s first summer. He has helped shape almost every aspect of our organization, including as the lead architect of our sustainability and food initiatives. He brings a wealth of camp, non-profit, operational, and start-up experience, including helping launch the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village in Rwanda, co-founding a technology start-up, and consulting for several new businesses and non-profits. He graduated from the University of California Berkeley.

AmandaAmanda Playford, Office Manager –
Amanda studied early childhood education and psychology at SUNY New Paltz. Her learning led her to a more spiritual and healthy lifestyle, with newfound appreciation for the little things in life… the same values that brought her to Eden Village Camp. She enjoys yoga and meditation, and is an animal lover and ASPCA supporter. She grew up in nearby Cold Spring and has hiked many of the trails this area has to offer. She is excited to spread Eden Village’s mission and be part of this community.

JoshJosh Jacobs, Director of Camper Magic –
Josh worked at Eden Village for five summers before joining the full-year team in 2017. Prior to Eden Village, he worked as the assistant director of the Congregational School at Park Avenue Synagogue in Manhattan, his most successful lesson being, “Which is more Jewish, this recycling bin or this siddur?” Josh earned master’s degrees in Jewish education and modern Jewish studies and a certificate in Israel education from the Jewish Theological Seminary. He led programs in Ghana, Uganda, Mexico and Nicaragua for the American Jewish World Service, and in the U.S. for Bend The Arc. Josh grew up in and worked as the technical and tiyul (camping trip) director at Habonim Dror’s Camp Galil. He also served three terms on the faculty for the Foundation for Jewish Camp’s Cornerstone Fellowship. Josh used to be a stand-up comedian and still hopes to be a professional baseball player.

IMG_3722Aliza HeerenDirector of Teen Programming–
Aliza has been helping develop Eden Village’s teen programs since summer 2017, both at camp and on the road. She studied environmental studies, social justice and social policy and passionately believes engaging young people in learning to take care of and respect the earth can create ripples of change. Because you asked, her current favorite plant is the bald cypress tree as they support each other through their root systems and essentially live in community. Not so different from a bald cypress herself, Aliza thrives when living in Jewish community and spending time outside and in the sun. Her current favorite late night snack: dark chocolate peanut butter cups (the Trader Joe’s kind, of course).

20181031_105608 (1)Chelsea Taxman, Farm Director –
Chelsea describes herself as a “typical Capricorn”, probably because she’s always looking for purpose and intention. Chelsea loves herbs. She is trained in herbalism, permaculture, ayurvedic cooking, farming and urban farming, humane education, Raja yoga, nonviolent-communication, teaching kids and adults, and so much more. She has lived mostly in Omaha, Nebraska, but happens to have deep roots to places near and far, and ancestry leading to the Ba’al Shem Tov. Chelsea believes in magic, the beauty of most every living thing, and lives her everyday life asking herself and others “How can I help?”

JacoJacob Koseb Kose, Assistant Farm Director –
A New York City boy born Jacob Reuben Kose but known as Cosmo Kose in-utero, Jacob is the left-handed only child of two psychotherapists. He studied storytelling at Cornell, then showed up at the Ithaca Farmers Market the day after graduating college to see if anyone could use help nourishing soil and feeding people–and six years later he just can’t stop. Jacob’s farmed in Italy, India, and the U.S, and both farmed and taught farming with agricultural organizations (The Stone Barns Center and the Urban Farm at Randalls Island) and Jewish organizations (Camp Ramah in the Berkshires, Kivunim). As a person who cares deeply about how we co-exist—with our land and with each other—Jacob is humbled to continue growing with the Eden Village farmily.

BrittanyBrittany Dufresne, Communications Director –
Brittany is originally from outside Burlington, Vermont and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management from SUNY Plattsburgh. Most recently, Brittany was Program Manager at XploreAsia, a TESOL training and job placement agency in Thailand, where she oversaw program logistics and participant enrollment following her own experience teaching ESL in Uthai Thani. In her spare time, Brittany enjoys looking after her worm farm, scouring thrift stores for great baskets, and learning about homesteading. Brittany is thrilled to bring her range of skills and interests to Eden Village and a community that values education, sustainability and tikkun olam.

Bobby Bauer, Facilities Manager –
Bobby hails from the Hudson Valley and currently lives in Mahopac with his wife and children. Bobby holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration, with a specialization in Management and a minor in Philosophy. Bobby’s varied career has led him to work as a manager and team leader for a phone company giant, a construction estimator, a real estate appraiser, a carpenter, a landscaper – and even a semi-pro drummer!  This wide range of experiences help grounds and energizes him to build up and beautify Eden Village Camp all year long!

IMG_20150506_142233Tom Hidas, Executive Chef –
Tom’s love affair with food began at a young age and was nurtured by his mother’s cooking. Shortly after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania,  Tom began working in restaurants across the country, finally settling in Amherst, Massachusetts. In Amherst, he opened his own restaurant specializing in Asian noodles, cultivating relationships with local farmers to integrate seasonal specialties into the menu. At Eden Village, Tom has been able to put into practice a lifetime of knowledge to create one of the most dynamic institutional kitchens in the country.

Philly, Certified Comfort Dog 
Philly is a 6-year-old Australian Border Collie and is entering his third summer as the Eden Village Camp dog. Philly is a Certified Comfort Dog, and works in tandem with his handler, Beth, who is our Director of Parent Engagement. After the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, where Beth’s husband Shaul Praver was the town Rabbi, the Camp Bow Wow organization gifted Philly to the Praver’s so he could work with children and families in need of extra emotional support. Philly has worked in schools and synagogues in and around Fairfield County ever since, and is currently happily working with the children of Eden Village as well. Campers needing an extra hug, lick or wag cand find their way to Philly and Beth everyday during camp Schmooze.