Understanding and Moving with Cycles of Time Are One of The Greatest Gifts of Judaism: Interview with Keshirah HaLevFife
Keshira haLev Fife is a Jewish Woman of Color (JWOC) and Kohenet (Hebrew Priestess), who sprinkles sparkles, disrupts expectations, and offers blessings wherever she goes. As Oreget Kehilah (Executive Director) of the Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute, she delights in serving, supporting, up-leveling and weaving community. She also pours love and intention into her work as founder and community shepherdess of Kesher Pittsburgh, where she reclaims ancient practices in ways that are resonant and relevant in the modern day. Additionally, she is a shlichat tzibbur, life spiral ceremony officiant, ritual creatrix, liturgist, songstress and public speaker.
“The Jewish Planner is both a practical tool and a work of art. Everything about it is well-considered and beautiful and I love that I’m inspired each time I use it!”
We are incredibly inspired by the work Keshira does and honored that she uses The Jewish Planner. Keshira told us she was “so excited when I learned about the Jewish Planner” because she had already been trying to integrate more with Jewish time in various ways and hadn’t been so successful. “The Jewish Planner seemed like the perfect way to lean into Jewish cycles of time and to raise my awareness of where we are in the moon cycle and in the Wheel of the Jewish year. Little did I know that I’d also get to learn some interesting and inspiring tidbits along the way!”
Like many of us, Keshira hasn’t always had awareness of the Jewish calendar. It’s amazing how many of us want to be connected to our tradition through the calendar but can’t find accessible tools to help it really click and feel integrated into our lives.
Keshira explained, “At the start of the year, I had hoped that The Jewish Planner would increase my consciousness of the Jewish months and help me to add a little bit of Rosh Chodesh ritual to my month, even while carrying on with my secular plans. As it turns out, being able to look through the year, and easily see where Rosh Chodesh falls, has encouraged me to set the evening aside and to do something intentional – now I start each month by gathering with other Priestesses online. It has also invited me to consider the deeper meaning of each month and to move into each new moon cycle with an awareness of the underlying energies which guide it – this has been a gift on so many levels!”
If you’re not familiar with Rosh Chodesh, it is the beginning of each month and is marked by the birth of the new moon. Rosh Chodesh is observed by many as a minor holiday and time for women to gather together. If you want to learn more about Rosh Chodesh or get more guidance around your own observance of it, check out At The Well.
Keshira said that the most exciting thing about The Jewish Planner to her is that it “constantly reminds me that I am cycling – each day, month, week, and year! – together with others everywhere who are using this calendar as a tool and support.” This has helped her to align with moon cycles (being generative in full moon time, letting go as she wanes, setting new intentions as she waxes again). “In the past,” she said, “I have done this with intention at different phases of the moon and I love how it can now be an integrated practice where I can align my work specifically to be supported and bolstered by her ebbs and flows.”
It’s a beautiful image that Keshira evokes: all of us, around the world using The Jewish Planner, cycling through time together.
“What I have gained from learning about the Hebrew calendar in my life is more discipline in how I think about time – not working more/harder through time but allowing myself to bring my weekly cycle to a close in advance of Shabbat and to luxuriate before turning the page to a new week.”
Keshira had an experience others have shared with us as well, of feeling reluctant to dive into using the planner. She told us,“The calendar is absolutely gorgeous – so much so that, for a little while, I didn’t want to write on it (and then I remembered that I can always get one for 5781!). The layouts, inspirations, and teachings have all enhanced my days/weeks/months in beautiful ways and I love the invitations for reflection that pop up throughout. The introduction to each month offers Jewish inspiration and guides my reflection in a gentle and powerful way.”
We are relieved that Keshira decided to dive in because, through the process of engaging with her planner, something unexpected happened, “Oh! I’ve also gained a sense of playfulness – I’ve started coloring the beautiful images at the beginning of each month!”
Amanda and I thought long and hard about whether we wanted the illustrations to be simple line drawings or full color. We might change our minds in future years, but for now, we are super excited about the line drawings serving as jumping-off points for everyone’s own coloring and playfulness. It’s very gratifying to hear Keshira found this useful and we hope you do as well.
“I believe that understanding and moving with cycles of time are one of the greatest gifts of Judaism.” She continued, “Jewish practice is inherently connected with the earth, the moon, the seasons and planting/harvesting and understanding/feeling how these cycles are connected can enhance our lives. Even those of us who no longer live an agrarian lifestyle can learn so much from what the earth is doing at any given time. Her cycles can inspire and support our cycles in ways small and big.”
We absolutely love Keshira’s perspective here. Our sincerest wish for The Jewish Planner is precisely this: that it serves you in understanding the natural cycles that connect you to Jewish wisdom and practice, inspiring and supporting you in small and big ways.
Want to know how to connect with Keshira? She told us her Jewish Planner is filled with exciting things for her year, many of which you could participate in too: Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute Intensive Trainings including Kohenet East Summer week when the new cohort will be welcomed (apply here!), Kesher Pittsburgh Shabbat gatherings and the first ever Framily Shabbaton, life spiral events (babies! b’mitzvahs! Weddings! More!) and the opportunity to visit different communities as a Shabbaton or service leader!”