Jaime Shear – Sofer Stam and Artist

jaimie Shear – Sofer Stam

For twenty-six years, Torah scribe, artist and educator, Jamie Shear has been creating hand-written, Hebrew scrolls on parchment to the highest standards of Jewish law, tradition and aesthetics. He has completed ten Torah scrolls for Synagogues in Canada, US, Israel and Hong Kong.

Jamie also fuses the ancient craft of the quill with a unique perspective to create art that adorns, signifies and commemorates.  He adds beauty to classic texts like the Ketubah, illuminating them using an array of mediums and artistic techniques.  Jamie has a special affinity with the Hebrew calligraphy technique known as micrography, the art of creating elaborate designs using the quill to form images comprised of select texts. When Jamie is not creating, he is teaching about his craft and shares the Torah ideas behind his art to people coming into his workshop / gallery in the Cardo of the Old City of Jerusalem.

Originally from Montreal, Canada, since 2006, Jamie has been living in Jerusalem with his family.

Avichai Koch -Farmer/Agriculture

Avichai Koch – Organic Farmer
Avichai Koch lived and worked in the world of Hi Tech in Tel Aviv, until 2003. At that time, he and his wife decided to follow their Zionistic dreams and move to Moshav Tkuma in the northern Negev where they could be an active part in building the country and taking a stronger part in Israel’s developing history and agriculture.
Avichai started out by working for Kibutz Sa’ad in the farming business, where he worked from sunrise to sunset mainly on the carrots harvester, earning a third of his previous income. Nonetheless, he felt like the happiest person on earth. In his words, “God created us land workers and anything else is not natural…”
As Avichai’s farm is situated only 4 miles from the Gaza strip, it has suffered missile damage to his warehouses in the past. In spite of the difficulties he faces, he continues to farm and work the land. Avichai is also one of the few Jewish farmers in Isael that have decided to keep the mitzvah of Shmitta in full and not work the land for the entire year.
Today, Avichai has an organic farm where he grows organic vegetables in greenhouses for the local market. Avichai incorporates modern agricultural technology with organic farming methods to grow healthy produce without chemical and pesticide intervention.
Avichai lectures to groups around the world, and has presented to groups of all ages.
Suggested Talks and Discussion Topics:
  • Farming in Israel – Israeli Agri-Tech in the Real World
  • The Challenge and Blessing of Observing the Laws of Shemittah
  • Living, Working and Farming at the Edge of the Gaza Strip


Speaker and Activist Sagit Peretz Deri

Sagit Peretz Deri is an Israeli speaker and activist in the areas of Judaism, feminism, Israeli politics, Mizrachi culture and Sephardic Halachah. A real-estate lawyer by profession, she works to promote inclusion of Mizrachi representation, culture and tradition within the larger religious community in Israel, as we as for greater inclusion of women in traditional Jewish frameworks. She has spoken at numerous forums and educational institutions, including at Tel Aviv University and for Israel’s Ministry of Education.

Peretz-Deri has written for Ha’aretz, Mekor Rishon, and other Israeli newspapers and websites, and has appeared on Israeli television and radio (Channels 1, 2, 10, Army Radio, and others) to discuss Judaism, women, socio-economics and the ethnic gap in Israel. In 2014,  in an effort to bring a feminist and Mizrachi viewpoint to the traditional political class,  Sagit served as the founding Chairwoman of the Womens’ Forum of the Bayit Hayehudi political party. Sadly, she failed to find a receptive audience for her message of inclusion, and subsequently publicly left the party a year later.

In addition to her law degree, she also holds a Masters Degree in Advanced Talmud from Bar Ilan University.

International Rescue Coordinator Dov Maisel

Dov Maisel is the senior Vice-President of Operations for United Hatzalah/Untied Rescue volunteer emergency response organizations. He is an active Combat Medic and a Company Commander in the Israel Defense Forces (Res.) and specializes in a mass disaster, rescue and recovery training for both the civilian and military arenas. He is an innovator and inventor of medical technologies and devices implemented in Israel and Globally and is on the International Editorial Board of the Journal of Emergency Medical Services Magazine (JEMS).

In addition to his many fields of expertise, he leads Israeli rescue missions to disaster-struck countries such as Haiti and Nepal and has been spearheading international expansion by helping cities all over the world develop community-based emergency response programs based on the model of United Hatzalah.