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The KAVANA Podcast with Melinda Strauss

The KAVANA Podcast with Melinda Strauss

By Melinda Strauss

Welcome to the KAVANA Podcast. KAVANA is the Hebrew word for conscious intentionality. This concept in Judaism teaches us to focus on completing our actions, tasks, and mitzvot (good deeds) with intention. Yes, we could all go through life by simply doing out of obligation, but what if we could do more? What if we could act consciously, love with passion, give with purpose, share because we can and not because we have to? What if we could learn to love ourselves more? It all begins with YOU.
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24. How Jewish TikTok Changed My World with Libby Walker

The KAVANA Podcast with Melinda StraussJun 02, 2021

24. How Jewish TikTok Changed My World with Libby Walker

24. How Jewish TikTok Changed My World with Libby Walker

Libby Walker is known for her parodies on TikTok, most famously as the hilarious Jewish mom Sheryl Cohen (inspired by her own mother). Libby is a comedian and proud Jewish woman who bares it all on social media, using laughter to spread positivity. I am so inspired by Libby's grit, her ability to adapt, and how she gives so much of herself to help others. 

Libby shares her own original content and also works with tons of companies on TikTok, including Aish, Hillel International, Birthright, and Lost Tribe, the new cool Jewish hub modeled after Bar Stool to create Jewish fun and relatable content. 

Libby recently started her own podcast, Jewish Mom Approved, which can be found on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and YouTube:

Follow Libby on TikTok and join her 20K+ followers:

Check out Lost Tribe on TikTok:

Follow Libby on Instagram:

Jun 02, 202128:39
23. Welcome to Season 3 of the KAVANA Podcast!

23. Welcome to Season 3 of the KAVANA Podcast!

A lot has happened in my life since my last episode aired in September 2020. Let's just say a global pandemic, a Presidential election, and TikTok have played a huge role in my own personal growth. I wasn't sure if I was going to continue sharing on the podcast until some really awesome humans reminded me that what I do here is special. Highlighting Jewish people living intentional lives, giving them a platform, and giving the listener the opportunity to learn and be inspired is amazing! I won't ever take that for granted. To those of you who reached out asking me to keep going, I want to say a BIG thank you. You know who you are and because of you, I'm back! 

May 04, 202125:25
22. #WEALLPOOP with Esty Wolbe
Sep 30, 202038:58
21. Talking about ALL THE THINGS (friendship, abuse, healing, and parenting) with Breezy
Mar 03, 202047:26
20. Listen to Your Own Voice with KK
Feb 27, 202050:36
19. There's Nothing You Can't Do with Heather Cox
Feb 13, 202047:49
18. How to Make an IMPACT Doing What you Love with Rivky Itzkowitz
Jan 30, 202046:33
17. Telling my Type 1 Diabetes Story (aka You Are Not Defined By Your Disease) with Melinda Strauss

17. Telling my Type 1 Diabetes Story (aka You Are Not Defined By Your Disease) with Melinda Strauss

Welcome back to season 2 of the KAVANA Podcast!! Today, I'm sharing the story of my diagnosis with Type 1 Diabetes. I was 18 years old, a freshman in college, and living away from home in NYC. Perfect time for diabetes to enter my life, right?!?!? 

If you enjoy this podcast, please leave a review on iTunes and let me know how much you love it! 

Jan 15, 202027:18
16. Invest in Yourself with Sam Adler
Dec 20, 201936:38
15. Living Through Terror with Sarri Singer

15. Living Through Terror with Sarri Singer

It was a true honor to sit down with Sarri Singer for this interview. Until 9/11, Sarri worked a few blocks away from the World Trade Center. Deeply moved by the tragedy of 9/11, Sarri decided to resign from her position in December 2001 and move to Israel to help victims of terror. On June 11, 2003, Sarri was on Bus 14 in Jerusalem when an 18 year old Palestinian terrorist dressed as a religious Jew boarded and blew himself up. 16 people were killed, including all those seated and standing around her, and over 100 people were injured. Sarri was hospitalized for two weeks and then returned to New Jersey to be with family. Her story became high profile. She appeared on television stations such as CBS, FoxNews, CNN and radio interviews. She spoke before Congressmen and Senators in Washington, D.C. and politicians in New York and New Jersey. In September 2003 she returned to work and volunteering in Israel. In June 2004, she returned to the United States to take care of ongoing medical issues associated with her attack. Sarri is the Founder and Director of Strength to Strength (, which focuses on bringing together victims of terrorism together from around the world and assisting with long term psychological needs. Sarri has addressed audiences throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, South America and Israel and continues to share her unique insight into the ongoing struggle for victims of terror in Israel and around the world. Sarri is currently the Director of Career Services at the Lander College for Women, A Division of Touro College and working on her Master’s in Peace and Conflict Studies at Rutgers University.

Fun Fact about Sarri: two and half years ago, a good friend forced her to run with her in the Miami half marathon and she's found that she loves running, especially in the mornings. It's her downtime to think and try and get some clarity. 

Find out more about Strength to Strength:

Sarri on Instagram:

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Sarri on Twitter:

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Dec 05, 201942:09
14. Learning to Love Yourself with Yaffa Palti
Nov 22, 201939:12
13. I Finally Choose Me with Stephanie Pollak
Nov 14, 201949:27
12. Learn All You Can from the Master of Networking Naomi Nachman
Nov 07, 201938:21
11. Figuring It Out As You Go with Sara Younger
Oct 31, 201929:58
10. Find Your Own Empowerment with Beth Warren
Oct 16, 201933:15
9. Putting Good Out Into the World with Rachel Tuchman
Oct 03, 201933:35
8. Finding your Strength in Community with Inna Koppel

8. Finding your Strength in Community with Inna Koppel

I'm excited for you to meet my fitness coach, Inna Koppel! Inna began her career as a personal trainer, and in that role discovered the importance of strength as the foundation of fitness. She began her own barbell training, studying and practicing basic barbell movements. This path led her to the Starting Strength method of barbell training and to the success of her gym, Woodmere Fitness Club, which boasts high-energy classes and barbell training for women. Inna has taught me that barbell isn't just about lifting or squatting a heavy bar. It's about fighting through my fears, finding my own strength, and being part of a community of empowering women who cheer each other on. 

Fun fact about Inna: She danced under the strict tutelage of a Russian Ballet teacher from the time that she was 5 years old until she was 17. When Inna immigrated to the US, her parents signed her for 4 hours of ballet a day to keep me her off the streets. 

Follow Woodmere Fitness Club on Instagram:

Check out Woodmere Fitness Club and find out more about classes, barbell, and the WFC team here:

I took part in my first strength lifting competition this year with WFC to raise money for Ruff House Rescue, the most amazing animal rescue in Long Island and the place where I found my sweet pup, Louie. Inna is so passionate about rescue and has 3 dogs of her own. Clearly we are dog people...check out this video about Deadlift for Dogs and some shots of me deadlifting 190 pounds!!! 

If you're wondering what Starting Strength is, here's the website with more information:

Sep 24, 201933:02
7. Talking About Self-Love with Melinda Strauss
Sep 19, 201925:46
6. Creating Authentic Relationships with Nikki Schreiber - Humans of Judaism
Sep 12, 201938:17
5. Find What Energizes You with Alyssa Goldwater
Sep 05, 201947:52
4. Embrace Your 'Balanced Bari' with Bari Mitzmann
Aug 28, 201936:47
3. Together We Grow (and Talk Babka) with Naomi Elberg

3. Together We Grow (and Talk Babka) with Naomi Elberg

What is Naomi's favorite babka flavor? How did her business get started? Who inspires her to grow? What does the S in TGIS actually stand for? I sat down with Naomi Elberg, owner of TGIS, to talk about friendships, building a business, and, of course, babka! But Naomi is more than just a challah baker and babka maker. She also does food demonstrations and business consulting and she is one talented lady! For inquiries, email  

Fun Fact about Naomi:  she's run 4 half marathons and loves to parallel park! 

 Follow Naomi Elberg on Instagram -

Aug 21, 201928:52
2. The Power of Instagram with Danielle Renov

2. The Power of Instagram with Danielle Renov

Today I'm sitting down with Danielle Renov, founder of Peas Love & Carrots and the wildly popular Instagram account @peaslovencarrots. I have the privilege of calling Danielle a friend and when we get together, we don't just talk about food. In fact, we usually get into very deep philosophical and spiritual conversations and I'm excited for you to get a glimpse of that right here in this interview.   Fun fact about Danielle: she does NOT like to be called Daniella. Her name ends in an E, not an A. Is that a fun fact? I think it is!  

Follow Danielle Renov on Instagram - 

Listen to her podcast "Peas in a Pod(cast)" -

Aug 12, 201938:30
1. Welcome to The KAVANA Podcast

1. Welcome to The KAVANA Podcast

Welcome to the first episode of the KAVANA Podcast! I'm your host, Melinda Strauss, and I can't wait to share with you what KAVANA is all about. In this episode, you'll hear about the birth of the first ever KAVANA Conference on December 15, 2019 (SAVE THE DATE!!). You'll learn about my history and my mission for the conference. And you'll find out what's coming up next on The KAVANA Podcast!
Aug 05, 201919:21