Our Educational Team
Mike Kaplin was born in England and is a graduate of The London College of Furniture (Design/Craft). He is certified in Permaculture and Organic Agriculture and has many years of experience in teaching, building, welding and carpentry. A member of Lotan since 1986, Mike is the manager and initiator of Lotan's "Ecological Projects" that grew into the Center for Creative Ecology. His work was recently documented by France's ARTE Televisoin Global Magazine program [VIEW]. When Mike is not working, he can be found with his wife Gwen and three boys, playing with mud or bird watching.
Alex Cicelsky grew up in New York State and has a BSc in Soil and Water Sciences and Environmental Quality in Agriculture from the Hebrew University Faculty of Agriculture. Alex is a founding member of Lotan. The research for his MSc in Environmental Studies from the joint Arava Institute and Ben Gurion University program showed how significant savings in energy use can be realized in the extreme southern Arava desert climate by adhereing to a specific design criteria [PDF]. Alex supervises the research interns at the Center for Creative Ecology and works on various planning and development projects in the EcoCampus Neighborhood and on the kibbutz. He has a musical family of four children and two of them joined him to sing with the Eilot region's Ranot Vocal Ensemble.
Leah Zigmond grew up in Pittsburgh, PA and has been a Lotan resident since 1999. Leah holds a BA in Biology from Chatham University, MS in Environmental Science and Management from Duquesne University and is working on her Doctorate in Jewish Education at Hebrew College. Although her main job is overseeing educational programming at the Center for Creative Ecology, Leah also oversees the organic gardens which she infuses with community values [PDF]. Her background in both market gardening and agricultural research fuel her passions for sustainable irrigation practices and community-supported agriculture. When she is not in the garden (or in her office), Leah enjoys baking, hiking, and reading with her husband and two kids.
Mark Millstone Naveh was born in England and grew up in Australia. He graduated from the University of Sydney with a BS in ecology, followed by Honors in marine ecology at the James Cook University of North Queensland, and an MS in Education for Sustainability from South Bank University in London. Mark arrived in 1989 and has served as General Secretary of the kibbutz. Mark is a member of the Global Ecovilllage Network's Gaia Education curriculum team. When not training teachers, Mark enjoys listening to music, cooking, walking in nature, and just hanging out with his wife and three kids.
Yisrael Piperberg was born in Israel and has been living at Lotan since 2004. Yisrael holds a permaculture design certificate and brings much experience in organic agriculture, irrigation, electricity, and just general handy-work. Yisrael teaches practical and theoretical classes in organic agriculture and permaculture. When he is not busy at work Yisrael enjoys swimming, meditation and yoga.
Rabbi Daniel Burstyn has made his home as a member of Kibbutz Lotan since 1990. He holds a Master's Degree in Jewish Studies through Boston's Hebrew College, where his research focus was on Judaism and the Environment, and was ordained through ALEPH, the Alliance for Jewish Renewal. He also holds a certificate in Permaculture. On the kibbutz, Daniel has worked in the kitchen, early childhood daycare, and landscaping. He does his toranuyot (rotational work) milking the cows. He spent much of the last decade as editor of the news magazine of the Eilot Regional Council. Daniel is married to Eliza and father to Amalia and Reuven.
Numerous members of Kibbutz Lotan engage with students in formal lessons and workshops: community administrators, artists, farmers, therapists, dancers, cheese makers and others who add a special flavor to the Lotan social and educational experience.
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