F. Nigel Hepper, Botanical Adventurer, Author, and Assistant Keeper of the Herbarium at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew   

F, Nigel Hepper, a world authority on plants of Bible lands, has made numerous visits to Israel and the surrounding countries, advising local botanists, lecturing and photographing. He helped establish the biblical garden at St. George's Cathedral in Jerusalem and was the Principal Scientific Officer and c. Among the other books on botany are, Bible Plants at Kew, the Baker Encyclopedia of Bible Plants and Pharaoh's Flowers.
Lytton John Musselman, Mary Payne Hogan Professor of Botany

For more than two decades, parasitic angiosperms have been my major research interest. Current work involves projects in Africa to understand the breeding systems of witch weeds, a group of root parasites that are major constraints in food production in sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, I have been working on the systematics and evolution of the genus Cuscuta on a world wide basis. Hydnoraceae, a bizarre family of subterranean root parasites, is also one of my research interests. The ethnobotany of Middle East plants, especially Bible plants, has resulted in two volumes published in Dutch. Lastly, my students and I, along with Dr. Rebecca Bray, have been investigating systematics and evolution of the genus Isoetes, a poorly known aquatic fern ally. Extensive collections throughout the Southeast during the past year have resulted in our having the largest collection of quillworts possibly anywhere in the country. We have just started a study of the molecular systematics of these plants.
Shirley Pinchev Sidell, M.F.A.

Avid expert gardener Shirley Pinchev Sidell is called a visionary by those who know her. Combined with her Master of Fine Arts in Photography, Shirley's passion is her garden and taking photographs of flowers and plants from world famous gardens, such as Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen, Denmark, and Monet's garden at Giverny, France. This website is an illustration of her skill, talent and her desire to share and learn with other gardeners. Individuals from any geographic area can help develop their own plans, projects, theme gardens, and programs using these online extensive resources. Shirley not only has helped create a marvelous Biblical garden at her temple, but also expanded her growing and sharing horizons around the world. The Congregation B’nai Shalom synagogue is located on an eight acre hilltop in Walnut Creek, CA. It sounded like a dream when Shirley announced her vision to the world to help "build a Bible garden in every home, church, synagogue, or temple..." using the Internet. Traveling throughout the world, and studying Bible gardens, Shirley has obtained a wealth of knowledge on Bible plants and Bible gardens. Next on Shirley’s horizon will be her lecture series with audiences ranging from experts to novices. This website is the result of her experience with Bible plants, photography, gardening and computer skills.

James A. "Jim" Duke, Ph.D.

Born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1929, James A. "Jim" Duke graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1961 as a Phi Beta Kappa with a Ph.D. in Botany. From 1963 to 1965, Dr. Duke worked as an ecologist with the USDA in Beltsville, Maryland. At the end of that period he joined Battelle Columbus Laboratories (1965-71) for ecological and ethnobotanical studies in Panama and Colombia. Dr. Duke gained considerably experience in tropical ecology during his residency in Panama that lasted from 1966 to 1968. Dr. Duke continues to devote a considerable amount of his time to the print media remaining a contributor or editorial adviser to popular scientific and health-oriented journals and periodicals. They include: Alternative Medicine Digest, American Health and Business of Herbs.

Vincenzina Krymow, M.S.W.

Vincenzina writes for local and regional publications and journals and her work appears on the Mary's Gardens home page and the Marian Library Mary's page. Her love of Mary and roses was nurtured by her mother and her love of gardening and by her father. She lives in Centerville, Ohio, with her husband, Jo.

Books by Vincenzina include: Healing Plants of the Bible: History, Lore and Meditations, Hardcover. St. Anthony Messenger Press, 2002; Mary's Flowers: Gardens, Legends and Meditations, Second Edition, Softcover. Tau Publishing, 2010.
Dr. Edward Bez

President of Focus on the Bible Ministries, Inc., Dr. Ed Bez is a recognized Scholar, oft-quoted authority on Biblical and Christian Literacy in America, holding two advanced degrees in Systematics and Church History. He is an international speaker whose wit and humor are hallmarks of his insightful treatment of biblical texts. Substance is never sacrificed for style. His ministry challenges believers to read, think, reflect and to articulate intelligently the truth.

Ed’s statement: I have three life passions, biblical literacy, biblical archaeology and the geo-physical world of the lands of the Bible. I believe them to be important issues for not only myself but also for the entire world of Christendom. I am committed to studying and understanding the contextual backgrounds (economic, natural, religious, agricultural, political, social and the natural world) of the biblical narratives. It has been archaeology and geo-physical sciences which has helped to open my understanding about so many previously obscure or difficult passages from the Bible

Rabbi Gordon Freeman, Ph.D.

Rabbi Freeman has co-authored, authored, and co-edited three books. He has written numerous articles on the Jewish political tradition and liturgy, including: “Israelite Society In Transition” which is included in Etz Hayim. He has been an officer of the Rabbinical Assembly, an international organization of Conservative Rabbis, and has held several leadership positions in that organization.

Rabbi Freeman has been a Lecturer in the Department of Political Science at UC Berkeley and has taught at the University of Judaism and the Graduate Theological Union. He is an associate of the Center for Jewish Communal Studies and the Jerusalem Center for Public Policy.

He came to Congregation B’nai Shalom after serving as a chaplain in the U.S. Air Force, stationed in Mississippi and Ankara, Turkey. Rabbi Freeman has served in a number of leadership roles with the Rabbinical Assembly — as the Chair of the Publications Committee, on the Executive Board, and as an officer. He currently is secretary of Masorti Olami, the international organization of the Conservative Movement. Dr. Freeman’s academic interests are in political theory, specifically covenant theory, and the policy issues associated with the formation of political and social relationships among people. He earned his Ph.D. while he was a full time rabbi at B’nai Shalom

Meet our Board of Directors


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Our website, brings together people from around the world who have an interest in the research and growing of Bible gardens. Many of us have known each other for many years via the Internet and many of us have just met. The original idea for this website was first realized by Shirley Sidell, who is a gardener from Seattle, Washington.  Shirley had been gardening for as long as she can remember and is know for her volunteer efforts at B'nai Shalom Synagogue where she designed and spearheaded the first Biblical Garden in Contra Costa County.

Her vision was a website where botanists, experts, advanced gardeners, and the newcomer could all come together and share resources and knowlege, learn how to design a Bible Garden, and provide a source for the information on this interesting subject.

Becky Nivolo, Propagation and Seed Expert

Becky is a graduate of the Diablo Valley College Department of Horticulture, Pleasant Hill, California.
She has been responsible for propagating hundreds of plants for the Bnai Shalom Biblical Garden in Walnut Creek, California.
Becky has also single handedly gathered, sorted and sent more than 5,000 packets of our seeds, to people who have requested them, from our website. Our seeds have been distributed to all states in the US as well as England, France, Italy, Australia and Israel.
Her expertise and enthusiasm is an important part of the educational outreach program for