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Josh’s Book Launch: Eternal Questions

Rabbi Josh Feigelson’s book launch and conversation with Abigail Pogrebin took place on Wednesday, October 26, 2022. The recording of the event is now available below. Feel free to share with friends and family who may be interested. We hope you find this to be a meaningful discussion.

Josh’s book, Eternal Questions, is now available for purchase.

Rabbi Josh Feigelson is the President and CEO of IJS. He received ordination from Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School in 2005, and served for six years as the Hillel Rabbi at Northwestern University, where he also earned a PhD in Religious Studies. In 2011, Josh helped found and served as Executive Director of Ask Big Questions, an initiative of Hillel International, which won the inaugural Lippman-Kanfer Prize for Applied Jewish Wisdom. Most recently he served as Dean of Students at the University of Chicago Divinity School. Eternal Questions is his first book.

Abigail Pogrebin is the author of three books, including My Jewish Year: 18 Holidays; One Wondering Jew, which was a finalist for the 2018 National Jewish Book Award. She was an Emmy-nominated producer for Mike Wallace at 60 Minutes, and before that produced for Bill Moyers at PBS. She has moderated conversations at The Streicker Center, The JCC in Manhattan, UJA Federation, and the Shalom Hartman Institute. She served as President of Central Synagogue from 2015-18, and was Director of Jewish Outreach for Michael Bloomberg’s 2020 presidential campaign. She served as President of Central Synagogue from 2015-18, and is a member of IJS’s Advisory Council. To learn more about Abigail Pogrebin, please visit her website.

Introducing IJS’s First Faculty Fellow: Kohenet Keshira haLev Fife

IJS is delighted to announce that Kohenet Keshira haLev Fife has joined its faculty as a Faculty Fellow. The fellowship, which runs from 2022-24, is the first of its kind at the Institute. It is designed to identify and nurture exceptional spiritual leaders who can contribute new skills and perspective to IJS’s teaching and programs, while also developing greater expertise in Jewish mindfulness, IJS pedagogy, and core practices.

As a Faculty Fellow, Keshira will bring her Kohenet training, Earth-based spirituality, and unique warmth and wisdom to a host of IJS programs, including a week-long daily sit intensive in February 2023. Additionally, Keshira will join Program Director Rabbi Marc Margolius and a diverse set of consultants in redesigning and teaching Awareness in Action: Cultivating Character through Mindfulness and Middot this year.

Keshira will also continue to lead IJS’s affinity group work with Jews of color, in partnership with Yoshi Silverstein of Mitsui Collective, and work with IJS faculty in staff in making all of our offerings more accessible and inclusive of Jews with historically marginalized identities. As part of the fellowship experience, Keshira will also be participating in IJS’s landmark Clergy Leadership Program, an 18 month cohort-based professional development program, as well as its upcoming training in Spiritual Direction.

“As someone who has grown through participating in IJS programs, and who has great admiration for the IJS team, I am especially excited by the invitation to weave my lived experience and background into some of IJS’ programs,” says Keshira. “In the spirit of tikkun middot, and finding a balanced way, the opportunity to contribute to a host of IJS’ offerings, while simultaneously deepening my own practice, already has me dreaming about what blessings might unfold from this new partnership. I pray that all of our work together will make mindfulness and integrated Jewish practice even more accessible to the Jewish world and beyond.”

Beyond IJS, Keshira sprinkles sparkles, disrupts expectations, and offers blessings wherever she goes. She serves as Oreget Kehilah (Executive Director) of the Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute, Founding Kohenet of Kesher Pittsburgh and Program Director of the ALEPH Kesher Fellowship and also enjoys working with Keshet and Beloved Builders. Additionally, she delights in serving as a davennatrix (shlichat tzibbur), life spiral ceremony/ritual creatrix, teacher, facilitator, liturgist and songstress. Her work in these realms is informed by her lived experience as a queer, bi-racial, Jewish Woman, her belief that Book, Body and Earth are equal sources of wisdom, and the quandries she encounters as a scholar of the Orphan Wisdom School. Keshira received Kohenet smicha in 2017 and earned her BS 2000 and MS 2001 at Carnegie Mellon University. (After many years of traveling and living in Australia, she and her beloved once again make their home on Osage and Haudenosaunee land, also called Pittsburgh, PA.) You can learn more about Keshira at her website, www.keshirahalev.com.

A Conversation with Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg

We are grateful to Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg for speaking with us about Repentance and Repair! Please enjoy the conversation recording below.

Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg is an award-winning author and serves as Scholar in Residence at the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW). She was named by Newsweek as a “rabbi to watch,” as a “faith leader to watch” by the Center for American Progress, has been a Washington Post Sunday crossword clue (83 Down) and called a “wunderkind of Jewish feminism” by Publishers Weekly. She has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Salon, Time, and many other publications. She is the author of eight books; her newest is On Repentance and Repair: Making Amends in an Unapologetic World.

Richard Schwartz: “To be a presence that can possibly bring some healing [is] an incredible gift.”

Our recent Evening of Gratitude was a valuable opportunity to recognize Jewish spiritual leaders of all kinds and their incredible impact on the people and communities they serve. We are so grateful for all they bring to our world, and so proud to be part of their stories.

In one of the evening’s spotlights, IJS alum Cantor Richard Schwartz shared how pastoral care, mindfulness practice, and Jewish tradition have intertwined in his life-long journey towards personal peace and intentionality. Richard has brought this mindset to his current work in chaplaincy at Stanford Health Care. In reflecting on his role, Richard shared the following:

 

“To be a presence that can possibly bring some healing [is] an incredible gift.”

We hope you are inspired by Richard’s story and will consider a gift to support our work.

Alison Kur: “Spirituality is about nurturing my soul and giving my soul to others”

Hundreds of IJS supporters joined us on Tuesday, June 7, 2022 for our Evening of Gratitude, honoring and thanking Jewish spiritual leaders. We are eager to share one of the highlights of the celebration, and we hope that you will consider making a donation to support our work.

Alison Kur, Executive Director of Jewish Living at Temple Beth Elohim in Wellesley, MA, was one of the evening’s featured leaders. She spoke about the warm mutual support fostered by her IJS community, providing emotional sustenance in a difficult year. She also emphasized the critical importance of spiritual practice in allowing congregants to know and be known by one another:

“Spirituality is about nurturing my soul and giving my soul to others”

 

Learn more about Alison’s story:

Purim and the Pursuit of Wisdom

As we are witnessing in real time on a grand scale, the impulse to pursue happiness can lead to horrible, disastrous consequences if it isn’t coupled with wisdom.

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A Conversation with Rabbi Irving “Yitz” Greenberg

We are grateful to Rabbi Irving "Yitz" Greenberg for sharing his wisdom with us. Please enjoy the conversation recording below. Rabbi Irving "Yitz" Greenberg is one of the most influential Jewish thinkers and institution-builders of our time. Currently...

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A Reflection on Jewish Mindfulness and Habits of the Heart

It often feels these days that we’re living through a Great Unraveling. Institutions, those deposits of trust that enable things to be—or at least seem to be—settled, are coming apart. News media, public health, elections, representative government, the weather, the forests, the shoreline, truth, language itself: In so many places, things I took to be more or less stable are revealing themselves to be far shakier than I could have imagined.

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How Spiritual Practices Impacted my Bearing Witness Outside the Glynn County, GA Courthouse

On Thursday November 18, 2021 I traveled to Brunswick, GA along with eleven other Jewish clergy to bear witness and offer support to the Black pastors, the community and family members gathering at the Glynn County courthouse during the trial for the killing of Ahmaud Arbery. Local rabbi and IJS Hevraya (alumni) member Rachael Bregman invited Jewish clergy to join her in Brunswick to bring spiritual comfort, solidarity, and to support the local community.

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Resilient Writers Fellowship Feature Articles

I will pour out My spirit on all flesh Your children shall prophesy Your old shall dream dreams And your youth shall see visions. These words from the prophet Joel (made even more famous by Debbie Friedman) are a perfect introduction to the essays in the...

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To Prevent a Crisis of Clergy Burnout, Help Them Cultivate Their Inner Lives

In a recent piece, Rabbi Lewis Kamrass, President of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), warned of the real possibility of an exodus of rabbis from congregational life, due to the extreme additional emotional and professional burdens imposed upon them by the pandemic. To address the root causes of burnout, Jewish clergy themselves need spiritual practices and resources to help them navigate periods of “full catastrophe living” with grace, resilience, and wisdom.

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A Conversation with Dr. Lisa Miller

We are grateful to Dr. Lisa Miller for joining us on Tuesday, October 5, 2021 for a special evening.In conversation with Rabbi Josh Feigelson, Dr. Miller shared her insights and research on the new science of spirituality. Lisa Miller, PhD, is a professor...

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An Evening of Music with Joey Weisenberg

We are grateful to Joey Weisenberg for joining us on Tuesday, July 20, 2021 for a special evening. In conversation with Rabbi Josh Feigelson, Joey shared his music and insights. Joey Weisenberg is a virtuosic multi-instrumental musician, composer and...

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Omer 5781: Seven Weeks of Exploration

From Passover through Shavuot, IJS invited its community to count the Omer with us. Each week, we shared an email with an exploration of that week’s particular middah, prepared by IJS faculty. Throughout the Omer, IJS’s free daily offerings helped us focus...

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A Theological Discussion with Dr. Michael Fishbane

We are delighted to share a recording of a special evening with Dr. Michael Fishbane in conversation with Rabbi Nancy Flam. This live public event sponsored by IJS, took place on Wednesday, May 12, 2021. Dr. Michael Fishbane discusses his recently...

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