Mor Keshet, 33
Mor Keshet has spent much of her life helping others, and along the way has realized something about the power of artistic expression to help people. “Given the right support,” she said, “a person can really transform their life.”
Keshet was born in Israel and raised mainly in Queens and Long Island. She has a master’s degree in art therapy, and believes that artistic expression is universal and that it can apply to her work, whatever that work may be. Now the development associate at Stony Brook Hillel, Keshet is able to use her skills of bringing people together within Jewish college communities. She already has a long track record.
Back in 2008-’09, Keshet worked in a school in Nazareth, using art therapy to assist a suffering community with large immigrant populations from Ethiopia and the former Soviet Union. “These programs introduced a different kind of language,” of empowerment and communication, Keshet explained.
Within a year, there was a decline in altercations and reports of drug use and abuse by both students and parents, as well as an increase in student attendance and engagement in classes. Keshet also worked as a therapist with an organization that assists young women in Israel who were victims of sexual trauma.
In the States, Keshet’s work has taken her to non-Jewish communities as well; she has headed anti-bullying initiatives in schools, and worked with HeartShare Human Services to connect with at-risk youth and their families.
“I only recently came to realize how deeply rooted social justice and giving and tzedakah are in Judaism,” Keshet says. “But when I was a teenager this notion of giving back — of being part of the community — was an inherent part of who I was and who I am still.”
On the trail: Keshet loves to go hiking; she has hiked in the Smoky Mountains and on part of Appalachian Trail. She loves traveling and says, “It’s been better than any education I could ever have afforded.” Vintage clothes: Keshet also loves exploring secondhand stores. She says that “a vintage store is like a treasure chest.”