Shiftan studied English Literature and Philosophy (BA 1980) at the Hebrew University, Ceramics at Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, (1980 -1982), Eastern Michigan University (MA 1984) and at Cranbrook Academy of Art and Design, (MFA 1986). Shiftan worked at Pewabic Pottery, Detroit Michigan (1986 to 1999) as Instructor, Production Manager - Senior Designer and Director of Education. She taught at Bezalel Academy of Art and Design (1999-2002) and is teaching ceramics at SUNY New Paltz, NY since 2003 where she is currently head of the Ceramics Program.
Shiftan received twice the Michigan Grant for Individual Artists and exhibited her work extensively. Shiftan has collaboratively organized: Contemporary Issues in Clay: A British Perspective, (2006) and Why Clay (2008), and organized Beyond Hand Made (2008), all symposiums examined theoretical, social and economical trends that are the context in which creative practice in visual arts occurs today.