Having heard 1) the desire for an online space for JoC clergy and spiritual leaders, and those aspiring to become them, 2) a collective interest in sharing Divrei Torah sermons and teachings by and for JoC, and 3) a shared interest in the gathering and development of end-of-life resources by and for JoC, the Jews of Color Initiative is supporting the following three projects. We welcome any questions, curiosities, or additional project ideas you may have, which can be sent to Arya Marvazy, JoCI’s Senior Director of Programs, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
JoC Clergy & Spiritual Leaders Facebook Group
We are excited to launch a new Facebook group for sitting, to-be-ordained, and aspiring JoC clergy and spiritual leaders (minimally enrolled in a school or program at this moment). We invite you to use this group, led and moderated by Kohenet Dr. Harriette Wimms & Rabbi Shais Rishon, to connect, thought-partner, process opportunities and challenges, and dream with your peers.
- Please take a moment to add yourself to the Facebook group, and to invite any other current or future Jewish clergy or spiritual leaders of color in your networks as well [HERE].
JoC Divrei Torah Collective
JoCI will be launching a new initiative to archive existing Divrei Torah and invite new scholarship by and for JoC clergy, to be collected and organized by Chaplain and Shaliakh Tzibur Sabrina Sojourner on the JoCI’s website. The initial phase of this project over the coming months will focus on existing Divrei Torah, to be followed by a period of collecting newly crafted pieces for the archive.
- Please reach out to Sabrina HERE if you’d like to share any existing teachings, sermons, and Divrei Torah to be included in our online archive, and insert your name by the Parsha you will be contributing content for HERE. Contributions made will receive a $250 honorarium.
JoC End-of-Life Resources
Kavod v’Nichum (Honor & Comfort) provides resources, education, and training around Jewish end-of-life rituals and practices. There is a universal need for a framework around the end of life, and Judaism provides that framework. Kavod v’Nichum is renewing the connection with the rituals and mitzvot in Jewish communities across the USA and Canada by offering classes, conferences, written resources, and supporting the growth of Chevrot Kadisha, holy societies of people who provide honor for the deceased and comfort for the living during life’s most difficult transition.
With the support and partnership of JOCI and advisor Kohenet Keshira haLev Fife, Kavod v’Nichum is launching a new project this fall intended to engage Jews of Color in the creation of new Jewish end-of-life resources. The first phase will be to research American JoCs’ connections with Jewish end-of-life rituals and practices. Based on the research outcomes, the second phase will support the creation Jewish end-of-life resources written by JoC that will benefit both JoC and the wider community. These resources will range from the specific (such as Chevrot Kadisha use or for specific ritual moments) to more universal (such as general mourning practices or rituals for multi-faith families).
- We are currently seeking advisors to help us strategize the year ahead. In the near future, we will also be hiring a JoC Project Manager (PT) for this project. To join us or learn more please email: email@example.com
Clergy & Spiritual Leader Bios:
Kohenet Dr. Harriette Wimms
Kohenet Dr. Harriette E. Wimms (she/her) is a Maryland licensed psychologist who provides compassion-infused mental health care to children, adolescents, adults, and families. Kohenet Wimms is a prayer leader in both the Kohenet: Hebrew Priestess community and Hinenu: The Baltimore Justice Shtiebel. She is the driving force behind Hinenu JOC and the Jews of Color Mishpacha Project. Dr. Harriette Wimms was recently hired by The Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore as its inaugural Jews of Color Engagement Fellow.
Rabbi Shais Rishon
Rabbi Shais Rishon (he/him), also known as MaNishtana, is a writer, playwright, speaker, novelist, and rabbi, whose work takes prejudice, bias, and ignorance head on with a humorous and often irreverent voice that shatters the misconceptions of Orthodox Judaism, American Jewish racial identity, and African-American religious identity, with gut-punching insights and gut-busting sarcasm. And just a touch of bourbon. And then another touch after that.
Shaliakh Tzibur Sabrina Sojourner
Shaliakh Tzibur (she/her), co-founding Director of KHAZBAR, and Writer/Educator. Sabrina Sojourner has been leading services, teaching, and cultivating curiosity within Judaism for nearly 20 years. She’s been a featured speaker, scholar-in-residence, and faculty at synagogues, conferences, retreats, and Shabbatons across the country.
Kohenet Keshira haLev Fife, Board Member, Kavod v’Nichum
Kohenet Keshira haLev Fife (she/they) 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. She also enjoys working with Keshet and Beloved Builders, and serving on the board of Kavod v’Nichum. 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, 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. www.keshirahalev.com
Sarit Wishnevski, Executive Director, Kavod v’Nichum
Prior to joining Kavod v’Nichum, Sarit (she/her) trained as an end-of-life doula through INELDA (International End Of Life Doula Association) and produced a podcast and a newsletter called The Be.Side Project which focused on where Judaism intersected with the end of life. Sarit has also had the privilege of working for a number of Jewish organizations that seek to weave connections to ancient Jewish rituals and values through modern connection and understanding including OneTable, Repair the World, PresenTense, DOROT, and Hillel. Sarit is an alumna of the Wagner School for Public Service at NYU (MPA-PNP, 2012) and the Ruskay Institute for Jewish Professional Leadership (2017). Sarit lives in Maplewood, NJ with her partner, Ari, and their two-year-old daughter, Adira, and is a member of the Congregation Beth El Chevra Kadisha.