WAIPL Steering Committee
Dr. Barak Gale
Barak is a long-time Jewish environmental activist who has a particular passion for climate and wilderness issues. He currently serves as the chair of the Washington Wilderness Coalition board. He was an active volunteer with the Coalition on the Environment & Jewish Life (COEJL), organized Tu B’Shevat seders (New Year for the Trees),and worked with rabbinic assemblies in developing resolutions. He currently serves on COEJL’s speakers bureau. Barak lives in Index, WA with his partner of 25 years, where he owns and operates a bed and breakfast called Wild Lily, and where he never tires of exploring the Cascades. He attends Congregation Beth Am and Eitz Or in Seattle when in town. He provides periodic eye care for low income patients at the Optometric Center of Seattle, in the basement of New Hope Baptist Church.
The Rev. Fletcher Davis
As a young adult, Fletcher wondered whom to thank for the wonder of Creation and the joys of life. The answer he discovered led him to convert from atheism to the Christian faith. Educated (undergraduate and graduate) at Harvard, Fletcher earned a theology degree in Berkeley and became an Episcopal priest. He served congregations for 39 years before retiring in 2000. Long devoted to God’s self-disclosure in nature, Fletcher has led outdoor adventures, taught classes and offered many sermons and retreats on caring for the Earth. He chaired the California Governor’s Advisory Committee on Immigration and helped resettle thousands of refugees, which sparked his interest in interfaith dialogue. Now celebrating his 50th year as a priest, Fletcher continues to share the good news. Among his many activities, he and his wife Elizabeth especially enjoy leading the public on nature walks in the state park near their home on Whidbey Island.
Semra Ozdemir is a native of Turkey and emigrated to the United States in 2007. She graduated from Fatih University in Istanbul, Turkey with a major in public relations and advertising. Semra is very interested in climate and energy, which led her to run programs at the university on climate change. She currently studies at Bellevue College and plans to transfer to the University of Washington to pursue a second degree in psychology. Semra is a practicing Muslim and a member of the Acacia Foundation, whose mission is to promote cross–cultural dialogue by emphasizing universal values. Through the Acacia Foundation, Semra accompanied a 2010 cultural exchange tour to Turkey for Seattle religious, academic, and civic leaders, including Earth Ministry/Washington Interfaith Power & Light’s Jessie Dye.