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.