The Shofar Project:
Getting Real for a New Year

A Free Five-Week Online Program from IJS
August 13 – September 15, 2023

Join the IJS faculty for five weeks of ongoing Jewish spiritual practice grounded in teachings drawn from This is Real and You are Completely Unprepared, by Rabbi Alan Lew z”l, the contemporary classic describing the spiritual arc of this period of the Jewish year.

Join the IJS faculty for five weeks of ongoing Jewish spiritual practice grounded in teachings drawn from This is Real and You are Completely Unprepared, by Rabbi Alan Lew z”l, the contemporary classic describing the spiritual arc of this period of the Jewish year.

Learning and practice is sustained and deepened through:

    • Five weekly written teachings on themes drawn from This is Real, sent by email on Sundays starting August 13. These teachings will include Jewish mindfulness practices, questions for reflection and journaling, and supplemental materials such as poetry and music.
    • Five weekly live practice sessions (Tuesdays from 8:00 – 9:00 PM ET, 8/15, 8/22, 8/29, 9/5 and 9/12), each led by a different IJS faculty member, elaborating upon the week’s teaching, featuring meditation or other contemplative practice, as well as small group processing. Sessions will be recorded and available for those who cannot attend live.
    • An optional, private Google Discussion Group, for sharing reflections and raising questions regarding the teachings and practices.
    • An online spreadsheet for seeking out a practice partner.

NEW FOR YOUNG ADULTS: We are pleased to be offering another free, five-week online program, created specifically for young adults. Click here to learn more about Getting Real for a New Year: A Study and Practice Group for Young Adults

Meet your instructors:

Rabbi Sam Feinsmith

Senior Core Faculty

Sam developed and now directs Educating for a Jewish Spiritual Life which brings IJS’s spiritual practices to hundreds of educators in Jewish settings and their students. He is one of two lead teachers for our online course on Jewish mindfulness meditation, Gift of Awareness. In the past, Sam wrote the weekly Hasidic Text Study track. He is a gifted musician and, most recently, has been bringing niggunim to the IJS community. He is a founder of Orot: Center for New Jewish Learning in Chicago.

Kohenet (Hebrew Priestess) 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 Myriam Klotz

Senior Core Faculty

Myriam is on the IJS Senior Core Faculty team, serving as Program Director for the Kol Dodi Spiritual Director Training program and advocate for DEI initiatives at IJS. Myriam has been on the IJS faculty since 2003, teaching yoga and embodied practices in the clergy, educator, Jewish Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Trainings as well as hevraya/alumni retreats and programs. Myriam created a Middot Yoga Teacher Training for Westchester county, NY, a Yoga and Jewish Spirituality Teacher Training at Isabella Freedman, and was the director of the Spirituality Initiative/Spiritual Direction program at HUC-JIR from 2010-2020. Myriam directed Bekhol Levavkha Jewish Spiritual Director training at HUC-JIR and is a spiritual director and supervisor in private practice. A graduate of Brown University, New York University/International Center of Photography and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Myriam is a certified yoga instructor, yoga therapist and body worker. She has contributed to several publications on the topics of embodiment, spiritual practice and spiritual direction, and has produced IJS’s Yoga for Jewish Spirituality CD series.

Rabbi Miriam Margles

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 was a founding faculty member at the Romemu Yeshiva, served as a fellow with the Rising Song Institute, co-founded the award-winning educational program engaging with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Encounter, and recorded her original Jewish music with the Hadar Rising Song ensemble.

Rabbi Marc Margolius

Vice President of Faculty and Program

Marc developed and teaches in our newest online course, Awareness in Action: Cultivating Character through Mindfulness and Middot. He also spearheads the daily online meditations that IJS developed as part of our response to the coronavirus pandemic. He directs our immersive programming for lay leaders and works closely with our clergy alumni as director of the Hevraya program. Marc authored several years of IJS’s weekly Text Study, exploring the weekly portion through mindfulness and middot.