About us

Tevel, shortened from Tevel b’Tzedek, is dedicated to tackling extreme poverty at its source-in subsistence farming villages, where more than half of the populations in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia reside. Because of population growth and environmental devastation the great majority of these villages cannot produce enough food to feed their population let alone generate surplus for obtaining crucial health services and education.  Most of those residing in urban slums in the Global South have recently migrated from these villages.

Since our inception, Tevel has impacted over 50,000 people in rural communities across Nepal, Haiti, Burundi, and Zambia. Additionally, we've hosted approximately 1,500 young adults in our service-learning programs, from Israel, England, the United States, Australia, Nepal and Burundi. Tevel mobilizes youth, women, and smallholder farmers to strengthen communities, enabling them to transition from subsistence farming, which can no longer sustain even their basic needs, to new livelihoods through small-scale commercial farming, owned and run by the villagers. 


Born from the aspiration to combat global poverty through Jewish values, Tevel, founded by journalist and rabbi Micha Odenheimer, emerged in 2007 with a service-learning program in Nepal, engaging young Israelis in immersive service learning experiences alongside local NGOs. Following the 2015 earthquake in Nepal Tevel refined its focus to village development, targeting the root causes of poverty in South Asia, with a particular emphasis on the challenges confronting subsistence farming communities.

Over the years, Tevel has positively impacted over 50,000 individuals in Nepal, Haiti, Burundi, and Zambia. The organization’s commitment centers on transitioning communities from subsistence farming to sustainable livelihoods, especially through small-scale commercial agriculture. Tevel collaborates with local institutions, mobilizing youth, empowering women, and supporting smallholder farmers to enhance community and systemic resilience. Today, Tevel continues transformative work in rural Zambian communities, applying a comprehensive approach to alleviate poverty and drive meaningful change.

Though originally inspired by Jewish teachings, Tevel is non-sectarian with employees, beneficiaries and volunteers coming from many different religious backgrounds. Tevel does not engage in missionary work of any kind.


Over the past decade, Tevel has:

Worked with over fifteen hundred young people through our pioneering service-learning and volunteering programs in Nepal, Zambia, Haiti and Burundi.
Inspired and trained more than eight hundred new village agro-entrepreneurs, seventy percent of whom are women.
Guided and supported thousands of farmers in producing small-scale horticulture projects.
Brought hundreds of thousands of dollars in new income annually to thousands of poor and marginalized rural villagers – with income continuing to grow years later.
Created more than one hundred and twenty village savings groups.
Empowered some three thousand women to begin participating in communal life.
Started a commercial honey industry in a remote village in Nepal, now numbering hundreds of hives, creating new incentives to preserve community forests.
Reached more than ten thousand young people, involving them in youth movements, supporting them with scholarships, and training them for community leadership.
Helped construct hundreds of toilets in villages that previously had no sanitation.
Together with partners such as the Joint Distribution Committee and Magen David Adom in Nepal and Israaid in Haiti, helped tens of thousands of earthquake victims with temporary housing, home rebuilding, creating schools in post-earthquake refugee camps, and training more than one hundred village health workers in psycho-social support skills.



Rabbi Micha Odenheimer

Founding Director
Rabbi, writer, journalist, social activist, founder and director of Tevel b’Tzedek “As a society, it’s essential that we know not who has to lead us, but where we want to get to in accordance with our moral vision”. ​ Born in 1958 in Berkeley California, Micha Odenheimer has been a writer, journalist, Jewish teacher and social activist in Israel since making aliyah 31 years ago. ​ Micha was awarded a BA in Religion from Yale University Cum Laude in 1980, and was ordained as a Rabbi by Rabbi Moshe Feinstein of blessed memory in 1984. Micha was also a close student of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. Micha’s life and interests include fields rarely seen in combination. He has reported from Ethiopia, Haiti, Somalia, Nepal, India, Myanmar, Indonesia, Thailand, Bangladesh and Iraq, often during times of crisis. As a rabbi he has written dozens of essays on Judaism the Torah, and social justice, and has reported on trends in Judaism and the Jewish world. Micha has a special interest in Jewish mysticism and Hasidism. ​ In 1994 Micha founded the Israel Association for Ethiopian Jews, a watchdog and advocacy organization that aimed to change the way the Israeli government and other institutions absorbed Ethiopian Jews, particularly in the field of education, housing and employment. The Israel Association changed its name to Association of Ethiopian Jews in 2016. Micha is still a board member. In 2007, Micha founded Tevel b’Tzedek, whose goal is to connect Israel and the Jewish people to the challenge of healing poverty and environmental destruction on a global level and in Israel as well.

Ayala Odenheimer

Community Development Program Director

Twaambo Kapalangwe

Program Coordinator
Twaambo has many years of experience working in rural development and planning in Zambia. Twaambo comes with a BA in Demography with Development studies from the University of Zambia and is currently working toward a Master’s Degree in Economics and Finance University of Lusaka. Before joining Tevel, Twambo worked for four years in the government sector with various stakeholders and non-government agencies. She has experience in project planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. She is passionate about fighting poverty at the grassroots level and creating a positive impact on the lives of the rural poor in Zambia.

Elana Silver

Director of Development
Born in New York, Elana and her family made aliya in 2005 to fulfill their Zionist dream. Elana joined the Tevel team in March 2022, before that she was Associate Director at Shatil where she worked on a wide range of social justice issues. Elana graduated Summa Cum Laude from Baruch University with a Master’s in Public Administration and has worked in the field of social justice and human rights for 15 years.



David Miron Wapner


Zaki Djemal

Zaki Djemal was born in London and raised in Jerusalem. He is currently a full-time undergraduate student at Harvard (In fact, rumor has it that he is the oldest junior on campus!) studying behavioral economics and behavioral ethics. In between classes, Zaki is involved with two startups, and is active in various Israel related causes—these include organizing the inaugural Harvard Israel Conference in 2011, and planning the Harvard College Israel Trek scheduled to take place this upcoming spring. A certified beekeeper, Zaki also serves as the “Mama bee” (secretary) for the Harvard Undergraduate Beekeeper Club. This past summer, he was a Fellow at the Program for Research in Markets and Organizations at the Harvard Business School, where, together with a team of behavioral economists he conducted research on ethical behavior, cooperation and altruism. Previously, he was Regional Director for IsraAID in North America. In this role, he was responsible for the organization’s partnerships with donors, foundations, and private sector stakeholders in the US and in Canada. Before that Zaki served as the Logistics Officer of the IsraAID/Tevel Relief Mission to earthquake ravaged Haiti; was the project manager of the Israel in Africa conference with Irish rock star Bob Geldof; and worked as a consultant to Auburn Theological Seminary’s Prophets/Profits for Peace initiative – a multimillion-dollar investment fund for Israeli/Palestinian joint business ventures. He is an alumnus of Tevel Betzedek’s long-term service learning program in Nepal and is a proud member of the ROI community. Zaki is a regular contributor in English and in Hebrew to Israeli written and broadcast press. His articles have appeared in Ha’aretz, Yisrael Hayom, Ynet, Israel’s Channel 2 News, the Times of Israel and the Harvard Crimson. His experience as a journalist is the product of three years of service in the Israeli Army radio station, Galei Tzahal, as vice editor of the daily morning news program and field reporter during the January 2009 Gaza War.

Tamara Edell Gottstein

Tevel is deeply respectful of building upon the strengths of local communities while helping them shape sustainable and healthy lives in their villages. A mother, Doula (childbirth assistant) and Artist/Craftswoman. She has a MA in Community Leadership and Philanthropy Studies form Hebrew University and works for the Rochlin Foundation in grants allocations along with micromanagement of evidence-based nursing grants and the Regenerative Community project (transforming old age nursing homes from medical institutional settings into caring communities). Tamara serves on the board of Tevel b’Tzedek and Yedid- Israel’s primary poverty and community empowerment organization.

Betsy Melamed

Tevel opens opportunities to women and teenagers in community life that they never knew existed.

Naomi Schacter

Naomi is the Director of International Relations at the National Library of Israel. Naomi grew up in New York City and graduated from Barnard College with a degree in psychology and art history. She moved to Israel in 1983 and continued her studies with an MA in Public Policy from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Naomi writes regularly on social change issues for various publications, including the Public Policy Journal of Hebrew University, Conversations (published by the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals), the Times of Israel and Haaretz. She is also involved in a range of peace-related projects. Formerly, Naomi was the Associate Director of Shatil, an initiative of the New Israel Fund, since 1999. Shatil leads efforts in Israel to build a democratic, just and shared society. Naomi was responsible for supervising project development, monitoring all programs and supervising the fundraising and promotional efforts for the organization. The many projects she has initiated include a leadership program for Ethiopian women, an empowerment program for Bedouin women, a project promoting the housing rights of the Arab community in Israel’s mixed cities, a public health coalition in Israel’s northern region and the Everett social justice fellowship program. Prior to working at Shatil, Naomi established and directed Media Connections, a Jerusalem-based company which provided marketing services for Israeli companies. Among its many activities, Media Connections focused on distribution of Israeli films and the production and distribution of a wide range of Jewish books and videos for children. Naomi lives in Jerusalem with her husband and five children.

Saul Singer

Co-author of Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle (2009). The book was an international bestseller and has been translated into 25 languages. Saul has spoken at conferences around the world about what makes countries innovative and the power of entrepreneurship to tackle global challenges. He is an adjunct senior fellow at the Israel Democracy Institute and on the board of Tevel b’Tzedek.

Mark Weissman

Mark Weissman is one of Tidhar construction group shareholders, he joined Tidhar as a Director in 2005 after a professional career on Wall Street as one of the first traders in the foreign financial derivatives market. He was born in 1961, has an MBA in Business Administration, is married and has three children. Mark is an avid Zionist, who sees his role in Tidhar first as a mission and an opportunity to take part in building the country. He loves golf, nature tours, cycling and reading.
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