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Mira Kessler, Youth & Family Educator & Community Organizer

headshot of Mira Kessler

Mira brings to FTJC a wide background in Jewish Education, having engaged children from toddlers to teens in synagogue and camp settings in New York City and Durham, N.C.  Her experience includes serving as an Inclusion Counselor for campers with learning disabilities. She graduated magna cum laude from Brandeis University with a Major in African & African-American Studies and two Minors in Near Eastern & Judaic Studies and Theater Arts.

Mira grew up in Durham in a Conservative Jewish congregation and as one of the only Yiddish-speaking children within 200 miles! After college at Brandeis, she moved to New York to pursue her love of acting. You may have seen her in New Yiddish Rep’s “God of Vengeance” or “Awake and Sing!” She is thrilled to bring her skills in theater, art, music, and singing to our educational programs in Rimonim: A Family Learning Community at FTJC.

Feel free to reach out to Mira by e-mail,


Eliana Kissner, Student Clergy Intern (Sept. 2019 - May 2020)

headshot of Eliana Kissner

Eliana brings her love of many different types of music to contribute to the rich culture of prayer, music, and communal singing at FTJC. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Sacred Music and cantorial investiture at JTS. She studied Talmud full-time and was an Arts Fellow at the Drisha Institute for Jewish Education in New York. While in Berkeley, Cali., she started her own tutoring business, performed Middle Eastern music with the Safra Ensemble, and co-founded the Muslim Jewish Arts Fellowship. She has taught learners of all ages at several synagogues including Lab/Shul, New Shul, B'nai Jeshurun, and Temple Emanu-El in San Francisco. 

In 2015 and 2016 she collaborated on an original album called “Painted Wood” with Israel Mizrachi and studied and performed at Center for Middle Eastern Classical Music in Jerusalem as part of the Dorot Fellowship in Israel. As a cantor, she hopes to engage in artistic practice as a means of revealing the transformative and compelling nature of Jewish ritual for people across a wide spectrum of beliefs and practices. She also hopes to be in service to the Jewish people and her local community as an activist, pastoral caregiver, educator, and performer.

Wed, January 22 2020 25 Tevet 5780