A Ten-Month Fellowship Program


Kivvun (“Direction”) is a ten-month fellowship program launching in September 2024, developed by the Institute for Jewish Spirituality for 20 Jewish lay leaders seeking to:

  • Live and lead with greater calm, clarity, resilience, and wisdom
  • Develop and deepen consistent Jewish spiritual practice
  • Grow experientially in a supportive, intimate community of fellow-travelers
  • Apply these practices and resources in their leadership and lives


Kivvun provides a unique opportunity in the field of adult Jewish learning: deep, continuous in-person and virtual Jewish study and practice over 10 months in an intimate and supportive community, led by brilliant teachers of Torah, prayer, meditation, character, and embodied awareness.

Kivvun helps participants integrate these practices into their daily lives and apply them to their work, relationships, leadership, and social action. These practices help develop and sustain the inner resources to meet challenges such as stress, fear, loss and grief, and to live with greater joy, courage, presence and gratitude.  The community of practice provides participants with a supportive container to cultivate thriving Jewish communities of depth and meaning.  


Kivvun graduates have provided exceptional leadership throughout the Jewish community and especially at the Institute for Jewish Spirituality (IJS). Many participants have gone on to serve on the IJS Board of Directors and in other leadership capacities within the IJS community.

Kivvun was created by the Institute for Jewish Spirituality (IJS) to educate, inspire, and nourish those who can bring spiritual, emotional, and intellectual vigor and vision to Jewish life. Since 1999, IJS has pioneered retreat-based educational experiences for thousands of rabbis, cantors, educators, and lay leaders and learners.

The Kivvun application process gives future participants a chance to reflect on their own spiritual strengths and challenges, and on expectations for ways that this program might help them take their next steps personally and in their roles as Jewish leaders.

Important Dates for Kivvun:

Apr 17, 2024

Participants in Kivvun must be nominated no later than April 17, 2024 (click here for the nomination form).

May 17, 2024

IJS will select nominees to submit applications no later than May 17.

Jun 14, 2024

Successful applicants will be notified by June 14.


Sept 11, 2024

Kivvun opening retreat September 11-15.


Program Details

Kivvun is a ten-month program framed by two retreats; in the interim period between retreats, participants will engage in weekly text study and spiritual practice, and monthly individual sessions by Zoom with one of the core faculty members. The elements of the program are as follows:

Virtual Orientation

A period of virtual orientation and preparation in September, prior to the opening retreat.

Two In-Person Retreats

Two five-day in-person retreats in beautiful settings with private rooms and kosher meals:

  • Wednesday-Sunday, Sept. 11-15, 2024 at Pearlstone Retreat Center
  • Wednesday-Sunday, June 18-22, 2025, at Trinity Retreat Center

Study and Practice Support

Supported Jewish study and practice between retreats, developed and led by IJS’s world-class faculty.

Chevruta Study

Curriculum and ongoing support for weekly chevruta study.

Weekly Live Sessions

Weekly live whole cohort learning via Zoom (sessions recorded).

Individual Guidance

Monthly individual guidance session with a faculty member.

September 11-15 Opening Retreat:

The theme of this retreat is the Jewish spiritual journey, focusing in particular on the primary task of developing da’at (awareness) through Jewish mindfulness practice. Participants will prepare through readings in spiritual autobiography and personal journaling. On retreat, mindfulness meditation will be introduced as a foundational awareness practice, framed in Jewish terms and grounded in traditional Jewish language. Participants will also become familiar with some basic Hasidic texts and the theological perspectives they provide as a pathway for understanding the practice of mindfulness meditation as a resource for deeper Jewish practice.

Two In-Person Retreats

  • The opening retreat will take place at the Pearlstone Retreat and Conference Center in Reisterstown, MD from Wednesday to Sunday, September 11-15, 2024
  • The concluding retreat from Wednesday to Sunday, June 18-22, 2025, at Trinity Retreat Center in West Cornwall CT

Both facilities are kosher, under the supervision of local mashgichim.

Here’s What Kivvun Participants Have Told Us About How This Program Transformed Their Lives

Kivvun was the most important personal development program I have done in my life. It transformed me, deepened my connection to myself and my loved ones, and provided me with a community of incredible friends and fellow-travelers. Beyond that, the mindfulness practices I developed in Kivvun have profoundly impacted my approach to philanthropy and Jewish communal life. I cannot recommend it highly enough.”

Dorian Goldman

Trustee, Joyce and Irving Goldman Family Foundation

“Jewish leaders need mindfulness practices. The organizations and communities we lead are strengthened when we practice and model calm, connected, grounded, and mindful leadership. Kivvun was and remains the most transformative leadership program I’ve ever participated in. It has helped make me a stronger member of my family and community, and a far wiser Jewish leader.”

Monte Dube

Former Board Chair, American Jewish World Service

“IJS has changed my life. The Jewish wisdom I studied at IJS has deepened my prayer, my meditation and my mindset. Even more essentially, because of IJS I have changed the way I speak to myself, which has changed everything.”

Aliza Kline

Founder & CEO, OneTable, New York

Outline of the Year of Study/Practice

— UNIT 1 —
Preparation for a New Year of Practice

— UNIT 2 —
Meditation as a Jewish Mindfulness Practice

— UNIT 3 —
Tikkun Middot (Applied Meditation) as Jewish Mindfulness Practice

— UNIT 4 —
Speech/Prayer as a Jewish Mindfulness Practice

— UNIT 5 —
Torah Study as a Jewish Mindfulness Practice

To apply for the Kivvun fellowship program please have your nomination form submitted no later than April 17, 2024.



Includes tuition and retreats, travel excluded. Limited subsidies are available.


The program will be directed by Rabbi Marc Margolius, IJS Vice President of Faculty & Program, and taught by IJS President and CEO Rabbi Dr. Josh Feigelson, Rabbi Sam Feinsmith, Kohenet Keshira haLev Fife, Rabbi Miriam Margles, and Rebecca Schisler.

Rabbi Dr. Josh Feigelson

IJS President & CEO

Josh was appointed Executive Director of IJS in January 2020 and became President & CEO in April 2022. 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. Josh has also been a consultant and Senior Fellow at The iCenter for Israel Education. Most recently he served as Dean of Students at the University of Chicago Divinity School. Josh is a Wexner Graduate Fellow and was the founding co-chair of the Wexner Fellowship Alumni Committee. He is the author of Eternal Questions: Reflections, Conversations, and Jewish Mindfulness Practices for the Weekly Torah Portion (Ben Yehuda Press, 2022). Josh lives with his wife Natalie and their three sons in Skokie, IL.

Rabbi Sam Feinsmith

IJS Senior Core Faculty

As Senior Core Faculty at the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, Rabbi Sam Feinsmith directs the Clergy Leadership Program and teaches on the faculty of a variety of other programs. He has been immersed in Jewish contemplative living, learning, and teaching for over twenty years, conducting Jewish meditation workshops, programs, and retreats for children, teens, Jewish educators, and community leaders. He’s passionate about practicing and teaching meditation and making the spiritual teachings of Hasidism available to all. Sam lives on the land of the Council of the Three Fires – the Potowatami, Ojibwe, and Odawa tribes – currently known as Evanston, IL.

Kohenet Keshira haLev Fife

IJS Faculty Fellow

Kohenet Keshira haLev Fife sprinkles sparkles, disrupts expectations, and offers blessings wherever she goes. She serves as Founding Kohenet of Kesher Pittsburgh, Program Director for Beloved Garden, inaugural Faculty Fellow with the Institute for Jewish Spirituality and also enjoys working with the Jewish Learning Collaborative. Additionally, she delights in serving as a 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 person, her belief that Book, Body and Earth are equal sources of wisdom, the quandaries she has encountered as a scholar of the Orphan Wisdom School, and her deep commitment to a thriving, liberatory Jewish future. 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, in 2018, she and her beloved returned home to Osage and Haudenosaunee land, also called Pittsburgh, PA.

Rabbi Miriam Margles

IJS Senior Core Faculty

Miriam has a long and rich association with IJS, having taught on various retreats and programs over the years. She joins the Institute as a Senior Core Faculty after over a decade as the rabbi of the Danforth Jewish Circle in Toronto. She is a graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, an alumna of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship and the Jerusalem Fellows at the Mandel Leadership Institute. Miriam as a founding faculty member at the Romemu Yeshiva, serving as a fellow with the Rising Song Institute, co-founding the award-winning educational program engaging with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Encounter, and recording her original Jewish music with the Hadar Rising Song ensemble.

Rabbi Marc Margolius

IJS Vice President of Faculty & Program

Rabbi Marc Margolius directs the faculty and overall programming for IJS, and oversees programming for lay leaders and alumni of the Hevraya, the alumni of our Clergy Leadership Program. He hosts IJS’s online daily mindfulness meditation sessions and teaches Awareness in Action: Cultivating Character through Mindfulness and Middot, our online program in tikkun middot practice, integrating Jewish mindfulness with attention to core middot, character traits.

Previously, Marc served as rabbi at West End Synagogue in Manhattan and Congregation Beth Am Israel in Penn Valley, PA, where he pioneered a Shabbat-centered model of congregational engagement. He developed and led the Legacy Heritage Innovation Project at the Legacy Heritage Fund from 2005-2010, an initiative to promote systemic educational change in congregations around the globe.

Long active in social justice activism, Marc is a graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and of Yale Law School and lives in New York City.

Rebecca Schisler

IJS Core Faculty Member

Rebecca is a meditation teacher, artist, and Jewish educator. A devoted contemplative practitioner, she has sat intensive retreats in the US and abroad for over a decade, and has trained with Mindful Schools and the Engaged Mindfulness Institute. In addition to IJS, Rebecca has led groups and taught classes and retreats with Or HaLev, Awakened Heart Project, Orot, Wilderness Torah, Pardes, and Mindful Life Project. She was previously the Director of Student Health & Well-being at Stanford University’s Hillel, and co-authored the Mahloket Matters Schools Curriculum with the Pardes Center for Jewish Educators. A student rabbi at ALEPH, Rebecca is passionate about integrating ancestral wisdom traditions with innovative approaches to personal and collective healing and liberation. She teaches Jewish spirituality as an embodied, holistic, and accessible path, with relevant and timely wisdom for all.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

IJS bases its work upon seven core values, these include:

      • Diversity and Integrity (Shivim Panim): We recognize that all Jews, within their particular identities, inherit and contribute to a shared, living Torah. We respect the integrity of diverse spiritual traditions and seek to deepen our Jewish practice by learning from their wisdom. 
      • Inclusion and Equity (Tzedek u’Mishpat): Our practice helps us grow in awareness of our biases, limitations, and intersecting identities and privileges. We aspire to support every person in nurturing their expression of spiritual life.

As we work to become a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive community, we invite feedback/suggestions you may have regarding ways that we can make participation in the program more accessible, welcoming, and affirming of your humanity. Please email us at [email protected].

Since 1999, IJS has been a leader in teaching traditional and contemporary Jewish spiritual practices that cultivate mindfulness so that each of us might act with enriched wisdom, clarity, and compassion. These practices, grounded in Jewish values and thought, enable participants to develop important skills while strengthening leadership capacities, deepening their inner lives, and connecting more meaningfully with others, Judaism, and the sacred.