Kesher Fellows 2019
(Falls Village, CT)
Amber Ikeman’s mission is to create transcendent experiences through music. An award-winning folk songwriter, her spirited, earthy music carries audiences across the open spaces of the American West and into the depths of their souls. She has released two original albums and tours all over the U.S. Born in Canada and raised in Florida, Amber began songleading and working for various Jewish organizations while pursuing her Bachelor’s in Music with a minor in Judaic Studies. A longing to explore the West led her to a job in Yellowstone National Park, then to Bozeman, Montana, where she worked as Cantorial Soloist with ALEPH Rabbi Ed Stafman at Congregation Beth Shalom. Currently, Amber is Beth Shalom’s full-time Director of Music and Community Engagement. She loves going to Kallah, making amazing connections through Kesher, and just finished her first ALEPH class. She’s thrilled to be a Kesher Fellow and looks forward to deepening and sharing her passion for Jewish Renewal.
(New York, NY)
Sharma Rapoport is so excited to return to being involved with ALEPH with this unique opportunity. Sharma was first exposed to Renewal when she randomly took a class titled “Models of Jewish Renewal” taught by Elliot Ginsburg as a 19 year old undergrad at the University of Michigan. She felt that it was so inspiring that Judaism could be so much more than what she was raised with, and this began a long and intertwining journey, finding affinity with Jewish Renewal wherever she went. Sharma now lives in Eugene, Oregon, and works as a mental health therapist and crisis director. She is excited to find ways to become more involved with her Judaism through this program.
(Los Angeles, CA)
Jenna is a second-year Rabbinical Student at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in Los Angeles. She grew up in Chicago and fell in love with political activism and the ways that social justice interacts with her Judaism. Her activism and Jewish engagement continued when she was in college at American University in Washington DC where she worked for Hillel and NCJW. She’s passionate about LGBT specific Jewish ritual, experiential Jewish education, and political activism. Currently, Jenna teaches sixth grade at a local synagogue, works for BBYO as a Judaic Educator, and organizes with Bend the Arc. As a Rabbi, Jenna hopes to fuse her love of Jewish education with her passion for justice to create justice- oriented authentic Jewish learning opportunities for teens and young adults and cannot wait to be a part of this wonderful and diverse group of fellows.
Joy Silvey carries an interfaith history into her Jewish practice. Her Jewish journey began approximately six years ago when she attended a week-long Jewish Farm School program held in Western Massachusetts, which sparked her interest in food justice and sustainability activism through a Jewish lens. Additionally, she has developed an interest in the history and present work of Jewish feminism and the relationship between the collective and the individual in ritual practice. She participated in the Kesher program at the 2018 ALEPH Kallah and is presently enrolled in a course through the Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute exploring the foundations of Judaism. Joy received her BA in History with a focus on U.S. LGBTQ+ life in the 20th century from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and currently works in IT as a Systems Administrator. She is grateful to have the opportunity to continue learning and growing with ALEPH and the other Kesher fellows.
Hannah Weintraub lives in Pittsburgh, PA where she is a Hebrew school teacher and founder of Shulayim L’Shalom – an LGBTQ+ youth group for Jewish teens. She enjoys hosting loud, songfilled Shabbat Dinners for Jewish and queer friends. Hannah believes that Judaism has a revolutionary spark that she is excited to explore. She grew up in the DC area attending Adat Shalom Reconstructionist synagogue, and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2017 with a degree in history and fiction writing and a certificate in Jewish Studies. She is also a graduate of the Steiner Summer Yiddish program at the Yiddish Book Center.
Kineret Ando Yardena
(Santa Fe, NM)
Kineret Ando Yardena lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she is a youth worker, artist and poet. Her work grows out of her love of learning from the lives and stories of others, and her love for Earth. She is engaged in international and interfaith peace work and guides youth rites of passage ceremony. Kineret’s hope for participating in the Kesher Fellowship is to investigate how we hear, acknowledge, and follow the voice of True Inner Calling & Mystery within the Ancient Wisdom Teachings passed on to us by our ancestors; and within that, how we open to and honor departures, deviations, and discoveries.