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Spiritual Leadership at Nevei Kodesh


Rabbi Diane Tiferet Lakein


Our core spiritual leader, Rabbi Diane Tiferet Lakein (she/hers), is an ordained rabbi through ALEPH, the Alliance for Jewish Renewal. She received a Masters of Jewish Education from Hebrew College, and completed ALEPH's Davennen' Leadership Training Institute.

Before joining Congregation Nevei Kodesh in 2020, she  served as rabbi for two progressive communities in Europe: Chawurah Gescher in Freiburg (Germany), and Migwan in Basel (Switzerland).

Rabbi Diane holds a B.A. in East Asian Studies and International Politics from Princeton University, and an M.A. in Anthropology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Born in San Francisco, she spent time in Stockholm, Sweden as a child and in Beijing, China as an undergraduate. In addition to her part-time position at Nevei Kodesh, she also works as a freelance rabbi in Europe and the United States with an emphasis on education, pastoral care and spiritual direction.

Rabbi Diane is currently the President of Haver, the Rabbinic Council of Boulder, Colorado and a member of the Rocky Mountain Rabbis and Cantors (RMRC), based in Denver. She is also a member of OHALAH, the Association of Rabbis for Jewish Renewal, and the General Rabbinical Council of Germany – Allgemeine Rabbiner Konferenz (ARK).

Rabbi Diane's Website:

Rabbi Tirzah Firestone - Rabbi Emerita


Rabbi Tirzah Firestone, Ph.D., our founding rabbi, is now Rabbi Emerita. Reb Tirzah is a renowned teacher, author and Jungian therapist. She speaks and teaches locally and nationally on the topics of spirituality, ancient mystical wisdom for the modern soul, the re‐integration of feminine wisdom into the Jewish tradition, and ancestral healing.   Ordained by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi in 1992, she is a leader in the international Jewish Renewal movement. 

Her publications include "With Roots in Heaven", "The Receiving: Reclaiming Jewish Women’s Wisdom", and "Wounds Into Wisdom: Healing Intergenerational Trauma"

Rabbi Tirzah leads services from time to time, and offers workshops on the modern applications of ancient wisdom, and how to transform old patterns into new blessings for the world. 

Rabbi Tirzah's Website:

Additional Service Leaders

Rabbi Hannah Laner

Rabbi Hannah LanerRabbi Hannah Laner has been involved with Nevei Kodesh since the 1980's (when it was known as the Jewish Renewal Community of Boulder). After five years of serving as the Rabbi for P’nai Or of Portland, Oregon, a Jewish Renewal congregation, she recently returned to Boulder. Rabbi Hannah infuses learning with a passionate love of Torah and tradition. She ignites a spark in children and adults alike and is the winner of many awards for innovation and creativity in Jewish education, including the Grinspoon-Steinhardt Award for Excellence in Jewish Education. As an ordained Maggidah (Jewish Storyteller), Rabbi Hannah has developed the masterful art of teaching through storytelling. She loves officiating life-cycle celebrations and works closely with individuals, couples, and families to co-create personal, meaningful ceremonies that weave Jewish tradition with their own unique self-expression.



Ba'alat Tefilah Michelle Wolf

Ba’alat Tefilah (Master of Prayer) Michelle Wolf is a lifelong vocalist with experience in a range of genres: classical, jazz, a cappella, and sacred liturgy. She is most on-purpose when leading Jewish prayer and chant, using her voice and presence to open hearts and help others connect to Source. 

Michelle served as cantor for Nevei Kodesh under our founding spiritual leader, Rabbi Tirzah Firestone, during 11 cycles through the calendar. For her mastery as Jewish liturgist, Michelle was honored with a Certificate of Empowerment by Rabbi Firestone and Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi (z’’l) and granted the titles Ba’alat Tefilah and Shlichat Tzibbur (2011).

Michelle coaches youth in B’nai Mitzvah education and regularly leads services for Shabbat, High Holidays, and other holidays and rituals throughout the Jewish year. CD releases include PrayerSongs with Bat Kol (sacred Jewish music), and Love Café with IRIS (women’s a cappella). 

Educated at Stanford University (BA, History), Columbia University’s Teachers College, Middlebury College (MA, French), and ALEPH’s Davvenen’ Leadership Training Institute. Ongoing studies include: parenting two young adult sons, deepening relationship with a committed life partner, and the blessings of family, friends, and community. 

Ba’alat Tefilah Michelle's Website:

Ari Sharfstein

Hi everyone! For those of you who have not yet met me, my name is Ari and I graduated in 2022 with my master's in music education at CU Boulder! I teach music to middle and high schoolers in Aurora.

I joined the Nevei Kodesh team as the religious school music teacher a few years ago when I arrived to begin my degree program. Before making my way to Boulder, I studied music and philosophy at the University of Florida, where I led music for services at the Hillel House and worked as the music teacher at a local Hebrew school. After graduating, I moved back down to South Florida where I worked as an SAT tutor, but it was a job destined to be short lived. A few months after returning home, I got a job offer to be the musician in residence at Temple Israel in Cape Town, South Africa. I spent three wonderful months in Cape Town working as a songleader, music teacher, youth worker, and b'nei mitzvah tutor before returning to the United States, but my wanderlust wasn't satiated just yet. Luckily for me, a synagogue in Melbourne, Australia was looking for a music teacher and assistant to the cantor, and next thing I knew I was heading down undah'. I spent a full year working in Melbourne (or Melbin, as the locals say) before returning to the United States once more to continue my education here in Boulder. It's been a wild ride, and one that I'm glad has landed me here with this wonderful community.

I am excited to have expanded my role in musical service and prayer leadership for the entire Nevei Kodesh community. 

Sheldon Sands

With a BA from Naropa University in music, Sheldon is a multi-instrumental world music artist and a composer, arranger, performer, pianist, piano teacher and producer who has studied in the Middle East as well as in Boulder.  

Two of his CDs,  “Across Many Oceans“ and “Dead Sea Strolls” cross cultural borders and celebrate our planet’s human and ecological diversity through multiple ethnic and contemporary styles. In 2011 Sheldon released “Sand-Between-the-Toes” representing a lighter side of his musicality, combining his love of folk, blues and Americana traditions with his original settings to the endearing verse of A.A. Milne.

Along with Rabbi Tirzah Firestone and Lisa Antosofsky, he played keyboards, sang and recorded the CD “Ashreynu,” with 15 ecstatic, heartful Jewish chants for meditation and personal attunement.  With Rabbi Tirzah  and Eyal Rivlin, he recorded the CD "Shir Joy," a collection of Shabbat morning prayer songs.

Sheldon has brought many of the most talented musicians of the Middle East and other regions to Colorado audiences. He produces concerts for the Boulder JCC, the Boulder Jewish Festival stage and independently and has been active as a performer, pianist/keyboardist and accordion player with Marta Burton, Michael Delalla, The Yuval Ron Ensemble, Rachid Halihal and The Boulder Klezmer Consort. He also lectures about world music throughout the mountain states, helping audiences of all ages understand and appreciate the music of these fascinating lands and peoples.

Sheldon came to his first Jewish Renewal service in 1994, when the Jewish Renewal Community of Boulder (now CNK) was meeting at the Unitarian Fellowship. He says, "When I entered the room filled with kippas, Israeli line dancing and singing, I had a feeling there was something very alive happening that I hadn’t felt in the Reform movement of my youth. The Rabbi’s deep and insightful drash on the story of Jacob and Esau spoke right to my own G-D wrestling and left me in tears. What can I say? In due time I got involved with playing music for services, one of the great gifts of my life!”

For more information visit

Joe Lukasik

Joe Lukasik has served as a musician on the bimah and lay service leader at Nevei Kodesh for many years and since 2010, Joe has actively supported the elder community in Boulder County as a Para-Chaplain for Jewish Family Services. 

Joseph (Joe) was born into a musical family. By 13, he was a scholarship student at the Manhattan School of Music Pre-College Division studying bassoon, composition, and jazz. After a summer studying composition at the Tanglewood Institute, he went to the Eastman School of Music to study composition, bassoon and piano. He then did masters and doctoral work at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. In 1989, Joseph was chosen to be the founding director of music technology at the University of Colorado at Boulder where Joseph also taught composition, music theory and coached jazz combos. 

Joe’s recordings cross over many genres including his own compositions on the Albany and Starkland record labels, Jazz (Eric Deutsch and Fat Mama, Brooklyn Jazz Underground, Shane Endsley, Greg Caroll with Art Lande, Benevento/Russo Duo), and Inspirational with Eyal and Danya Rivlin. Joe has performed across the US from New York’s Carnegie Hall with the New York Youth Symphony and Knitting Factory as a Jazz performer, the Fox and Gothic Theaters in Colorado plus other venues across the country and has had performances of his music at the World Saxophone Congress in Italy and the Tolosa International Choral Competition in Spain. He has had commissions by various solo artists and ensembles including the Adirondack Wind and Metamusic Chamber Ensembles. Joe came to play the clarinet late in life (after 40!) when joining Nevei Kodesh and performs frequently as part of the Boulder Klezmer Consort, with Eyal Rivlin and IsraGroove, and as a Jazz and classical soloist. Joe was awarded the Barlow international prize for his Choral Competition Ho Hiyuwaye (A Voice I Send) performed by the Dale Warland Singers in Minneapolis. 

Photo by Sofia Dro

Ev Evnen

Music has always been a portal to something deeper for Ev (they/them). Since first leading Adon O’lam as a young child, they have found a special home in Jewish music. Ev understands song as a way to move us to higher spiritual intensity, a way to connect us to our ancestors, and as a way to be in community with each other. As a Shaliach Tzibbur, Ev strives to daven (pray) with kavanah (intention) and ruach (Spirit), bringing the kahal (community) along in their own spiritual journey. Ev has been trained by Rabbi Ariana Katz and Daniel Neiden and is a   ALEPH cantorial student. They are thrilled to be joining the Nevei community as one of our musical prayer and service leaders!

Tue, July 23 2024 17 Tammuz 5784