Rodef Shalom Biblical Botanical Garden

Founders & Staff


Our Founders

Irene and Walter Jacob founded the Rodef Shalom Biblical Garden as a labor of love. For decades their hard work and dedication kept the garden thriving.


Irene and Walter Jacob

With a vision of creating a garden around a theme of ancient Near East flora, of blessed memory Irene Jacob, along with her husband Walter Jacob, established the Biblical Botanical Garden and led it for twenty-six years. Irene possessed a strong background in the history of gardening with an emphasis on the ancient Near East. She was the former Education Coordinator of Phipps Conservatory and the founder of its docent program. Educated in Great Britain, Israel, and the United States, she taught economic botany at Chatham College and lectured extensively; she received various awards, including the Vita Cultural Award. She is the author or co-author of several books.


Our Staff


Dr. Walter Jacob
Director Emeritus, co-founder


Helena Nichols


Marian Finegold
Tour Coordinator and Scheduler

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Volunteers: The Garden is staffed almost entirely by volunteers, including hostesses, hosts, docents, and gardeners. Our docents have led hundreds of tours through the years and answer thousands of questions during each season. Every summer the docents learn about the new plants that make up our special exhibits. Hostesses and hosts make our guests feel welcome. Others have helped with the physical maintenance of the Gardens.

For more information on volunteer opportunities, click here.