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Yeshi Gusfield

I am a life-long Oakland resident and 3rd generation Ashkenazi-American raised by two moms and an extended community of teachers, activists, and artists. I’m a flamenco dancer, educator, historian, auntie/god mom, Aquarius, challah baker, and game night enthusiast working on my sewing skills. In my professional life, I have spent 20+ years with young people as a history and performing arts teacher in formal classrooms, at summer camps, after school programs, retreats, hallways, living rooms and kitchen tables. I am passionate about supporting young people to find powerful ways to be themselves, to understand their world, and to build liberatory communities. I have been a Kehilla member since 1996 when I joined the B’Mitzvah program as a 6th grader, and I am so excited to be returning to this formative program. This coming of age ceremony and the process that builds to it help create a powerful foundation for young people that seems more and more essential in increasingly turbulent times. As a history teacher I always strive to make the past feel relevant and useful; I am excited to be part of an educational program in which students are embodying ancient traditions, adapting where necessary, and working not towards grades, but towards a deeper sense of self, purpose, and community. I’m also excited to step more fully into my Jewish identity and to play a direct role in supporting positive Jewish identity development for young people of all Jewish backgrounds.

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