Alison Fornes has found joy and inspiration in her relationship with the Common Fire community. She is a teacher, an artist, a “Buddhitarian” who is active in her local UU congregation and the co-director of Bent on Change, an organization whose mission is to extend the benefits of yoga and mindfulness practices to low-income and underserved communities. Right now she is thinking in systems and conspiring to maximize the power of local communities.
Jeff Golden is originally from Idaho, but found himself in the Hudson Valley in 2001 and never left. He’s the co-founder of the Common Fire Foundation and helped establish the Tivoli Housing Co-op where he and Kavitha lived for nearly 4 years (and where daughter Samiha was born). He loves dancing til the wee hours, rock climbing, mountain biking, and going on adventures with Samiha and Kavitha. In a previous lifetime he lived in San Francisco where he taught high school and founded Odyssey Internet Treks (www.worldtrek.org & www.ustrek.org).
Jessica Simkovic has been in the non-profit world for over a decade as a consultant and organizer. She currently works as a mother, multimedia designer, birth doula, and astrologer, and can also be found outside learning how to farm, concocting in the kitchen, and figuring out how to sing and play guitar at the same time. Jessica lives in the Beacon CoHousing project with her partner Yaakov and their gorgeous daughter, Nahara.
Kavitha Rao is the co-founder of Common Fire which helps to create accessible and sustainable intentional communities as a means of cultural transformation. She is a mother, a yoga teacher, a facilitator, and an organizer. She has worked with grassroots organizations around the world and is humbled by the immense commitment and vision she has witnessed from people unwilling to accept that the violence, injustice, and poverty that may surround them is the only way things have to be. All her work, whether with Common Fire or partners like Be Present and the Center for Whole Communities, are explorations for how we can live the just and sustainable futures we all deserve NOW and in solidarity with all peoples on the planet.
Marla Teyolia is a mother, green entrepreneur, front yard gardener and emerging kale farmer. Her newest venture, Marla’s Kale Kitchen, combines her love of food and agriculture with a commitment to sustainability. This business aims to minimize the miles between farm and table by incrementally growing all produce used in her specialty kale products as well as by building a cooperative commercial raw food kitchen in her backyard. Marla loves living across the street from the Beacon CoHousing Community with the loves of her life: her husband, Will Power, and amazing wonder twins, Sophia Moon and Omar-Sol.
Yaakov Weintraub’s current life is focused on his family and his community. He lives in Beacon CoHousing with his beautiful partner Jessica, and his delicious daughter Nahara. His journeying in this lifetime has brought him to dance professionally in NYC with the Erick Hawkins Dance Company, to study martial arts for many years, including Tai Chi Chuan (his current movement love), and Nihon Goshin Aikido, where he was awarded the rank of Sho-Dan, as well as exploring music by playing the flute and piano. He has a strong techie side, and holds a degree in EE from Columbia University and runs his own business providing educational services in advanced programming techniques. He also has a strong spiritual side, grounded and flavored by his love for Judaism, and enriched by his love for Meher Baba.