Founder & Executive Director
Yoshi Silverstein (he/him) is a Chinese-Ashkenazi-American Jew and an educator, designer, speaker, husband, and father. A multidisciplinary practitioner of embodied creative and spiritual expression, he is a recipient of the 2022 Pomegranate Prize for emerging leaders in Jewish education from the Covenant Foundation, and was selected as a 2021 “Grist 50 Fixer” building a more just and equitable future. Yoshi earned his Masters Degree in Landscape Architecture at University of Maryland with a thesis exploring Jewish landscape journey and experience, and holds certificates in spiritual entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, permaculture design, and environmental education. Yoshi sits on the Board of Directors for Repair the World as program committee chair, and is Cleveland community organizer for Edot: The Midwest Regional Jewish Diversity and Racial Justice Collaborative. An adjunct faculty instructor at Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and program faculty at M² Institute for Experiential Jewish Education, Cornerstone Seminar (Foundation for Jewish Camp), Institute for Jewish Spirituality, and Avodah’s Institute for Social Change, Yoshi is also a Senior Schusterman Fellow, and is a student of Resmaa Menakem in the areas of embodied antiracism and somatic abolitionism
Prior to founding Mitsui Collective, Yoshi utilized his two+ decades of experience in both Jewish and secular outdoor, food, farming, and environmental education as Director of the JOFEE Fellowship at Hazon from its launch through its first four cohorts, through which he catalyzed the growth and leadership of over 60 emerging professionals working across the US and Canada in the realm of Jewish relationship to land, food, culture, climate, and community. Yoshi is an alumnus of M² Institute for Experiential Jewish Education’s inaugural Jewish Pedagogies Circle, of the Selah Leadership Program (Cohort 14, Jewish Leaders of Color) through Bend the Arc and current member of the Selah Advisory Council, was a founding member of the Repair the World NYC Advisory Board; and has been a cast member of Kaleidoscope Project’s “What Does Jewish Look Like to You” monologue series, an ELI Talks speaker, and a Dorot Fellow. He holds a 2nd degree blackbelt in Lotus Kajukenbo, and is an avid aficionado of Chinese Roast Duck.
Yoshi lives in the Cleveland area in Shaker Heights, OH on Erie, Mississauga, and Haudenosaunee land with his wife and daughter.
Ariana Starkman (she/her) is committed to the arts, the environment, social justice, healthy lifestyles, and building strong communities. She graduated with a BA in a self-designed major called Theatre and Social Change, built towards understanding and conveying pressing social issues to hasten change through theatre, which also allowed her to study acting abroad in Moscow, Russia and Arezzo, Italy. She moved to London, England in August 2021, loves biking around the city, and has already seen over 80 productions.
Special Projects Associate
Jews of Color: Cleveland
Program Coordinator & Community Organizer
Primarily supporting Mitsui Collective’s work in somatic antiracism and climate justice organizing, Ngozi Williams (she/her) is a Guyanese American Jew, community organizer, storyteller, and oldest daughter of an immigrant family. She holds dual degrees in Civil Engineering and Physics which inform her commitment to wonder and learning in a complicated world. Also cofounder of Jews of Color —Cleveland, Ngozi views Jewish ritual and tradition through the Caribbean cultural lens and seeks to uplift diverse perspectives that are often ignored in white-assimilated and Ashkenormative spaces. She is a student of the 2021-2022 ADL Glass Leadership Institute and a service fellow of Repair the World’s 2022 Serve the Moment cohort. As a featured author in the Special Issue of the Division B Newsletter of AERA “Getting Schooled: A Curriculum of Lying, Choking, and Dying,” Ngozi writes passionately about the experience of growing up Black in America and will be featured again in the July 2022 SUNY release “Black Lives Matter in US Schools: Race, Education, and Resistance.” She considers asking interesting questions and telling important stories to be her life’s work. In her free time, she works as a land developer and is committed to finding the best boba shop in every city.
Jews of Color: Cleveland
Strategist & Community Organizer
Samia Mansour (she/her) is passionate about building sustainable communities and uplifting the stories of those who have been historically and systemically underrepresented. She has spent over a decade working in the Jewish professional world, advocating for intentional and thoughtful representation of diverse Jewish identities and experiences.
In her day job, Samia is Program Director with At The Well, whose mission is to enhance women’s well-being through ancient Jewish practices. Before At The Well, Samia worked as the Community Development Strategist for jHUB Cleveland. In this role, she was selected to participate in the Jewish Federations of North America’s Next Gen Jewish Federation Fellowship, which, over the course of two years, culminated in the development of the “Our Stories: Intersectionality in Cleveland’s Jewish Community” project.
Samia began her career working at Oberlin College Hillel. She earned a B.A. in Religion with a concentration in Islam from Oberlin College and a Master’s in Social Work from Case Western Reserve University. She is a licensed social worker in Ohio and serves on the boards of the Jewish Lakewood Alliance, Mitsui Collective, and Ammud: Jews of Color Torah Academy. In 2021, she co-founded Jews of Color: Cleveland, which aims to cultivate a safe space for folks who self-identify as Jews of Color in Greater Cleveland. Samia was a 2019 Jeremiah Fellow for Bend the Arc and was selected as a 2020 “12 under 36: Members of the Tribe” by the Cleveland Jewish News.
Samia lives in Cleveland, OH, on Erie, Mississauga and Kaskaskia land, and enjoys running, traveling, and playing her ukulele.
Program faculty & frequent collaborators
Kohenet Keshira haLev Fife
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 as Lead Facilitator for LGBTQ Jewish Youth of Color and as a Contract Trainer with Keshet as well as cohort co-facilitator with Beloved Builders. Additionally, she delights in serving as a davennatrix (shlichat tzibbur), life spiral ceremony/ritual creatrix, liturgist, songstress, teacher, facilitator and public speaker. 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.
Enzi Tanner (he/him) is a trans, disabled, Black American Jew living on Dakota lands, otherwise known as North Minneapolis. Enzi is a Community organizer, a consultant, a licensed social worker, and an ICF-certified life coach who helps his clients achieve their goals by embracing their authentic selves. Enzi’s areas of expertise include: career path & role transitions; wellness practice, self-care, & work-life balance; role definition & professional goal-setting; and gaining confidence while embracing your authentic self. His prior work has centered on housing and houselessness and supporting LGBTQ youth and their families; re-imagining security within the Jewish community through mechanisms of safety, healing, and accessibility; and trainings on intersectional justice and dismantling anti-Black racism.
NATIONAL ADVISORY BOARD
Lead Teacher and Co-Owner, Ape Co Movement School
Executive Director, ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal
Selah Leadership Program, Cohort 9
Chief Development Officer, Hazon
Rabbi Deborah Waxman, PhD
President, Reconstructing Judaism
Aaron and Marjorie Ziegelman Presidential Professor, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College
Podcast Host, Hashivenu: Jewish Teachings on Resilience
CLEVELAND ADVISORY BOARD
Ilanit Gerblich Kalir
Managing Director, International Operations, Jewish Federation of Cleveland
Selah Leadership Program, Cohort 1
Board Chair, Julia de Burgos Cultural Arts Center
Co-Founder, The West Tribe
Program Director, At the Well
Co-founder, Jews of Color: Cleveland
2019 Cleveland Jeremiah Fellow, Bend the Arc
Emeritus Advisory Board Members
Thank you to the following former advisory board members for your guidance and support.