A Kohenet is a Jewish Priestess, a new (and ancient) form of Jewish women’s spiritual leadership.
In July 2009, I received smicha as a Kohenet through the Hebrew Priestess Training Institute founded by Rabbi Jill Hammer, Holly Taya Shere and Shoshana Jedwab, after three years of training. As a Kohenet I focus on an embodied, woman-honoring form of Jewish spirituality that respects the earth and G!d/dess in all forms that s/he appears (male, female, both, and neither). The women trained and ordained as Kohanot are reclaiming this word and a unique role as spiritual leaders. I was also conferred by the Kohanot the title of “M’agelet” – Circle-maker, as a reference to my unique gifts and work in the world.
You can regularly find me leading services at OneShul.org.
I also have been ordained as a Celebrant of Becoming, a pantheistic/panentheistic spiritual community. The group was a vibrant and active spiritual community for just over 10 years (2001-2012). For six of those years I served as “Steward,” which was the lay leadership position. In 2009, I was ordained as a Celebrant, the title of clergy, and for 1.5 years I served as Presiding Celebrant — the senior clergy.
I was raised in the Seventies and early Eighties in a non-religious Reform Jewish home. I did the Hebrew school thing and had a Bat Mitzvah, but had no real interest in spiritual studies — but always an interest in the occult and all things magickal. I spent many years with my career as my religion, and then a spark was lit. After graduating college in 1991, I moved to Washington, DC, and met my first friend who told me she was Wiccan. She gave me a key to the door between the worlds. I don’t think she ever knew — or to this day knows what a catalyst she was in my life. About a year into my studies of Wicca, which never quite felt right (it’s a very Anglo/Celtic religion, and I’m an Ashkenazic Jew with Russian, Hungarian, and Lithuanian roots), I met a group of people who called themselves “Magick Belly #9.” If the other friend gave me the key — these people blew down the walls! In time they asked me to join the group and helped me realize that a “Jewitch” was a fine thing to be. I wasn’t Wiccan. I was/am a practitioner of Earth-based Magickal Judaism.
In 2002, I helped to found Becoming, a earth-based pantheistic/panentheistic spiritual community in Washington, DC, and was ordained in February 2009. In addition to my work with Becoming, I also trained with Kohenet: The Hebrew Priestess Training Institute, directed by R’Jill Hammer and K’Holly Taya Shere. In July 2009, I received smicha as a Kohenet, and along with my sisters, became the first dedicated Hebrew Priestesses in the modern era.
I am also apparently, completely obsessed with the number 4. Everything I do seems to be in 4s, so here is a little bit on the number 4!
Interviews and Press
I’ve had the strange joy of being interviewed for several publications, including being featured in Magickal Judaism: Connecting Pagan & Jewish Practice by Jennifer Hunter. You can learn more about me and the world of Earth-based Magickal Judaism and Jewitchery in these interviews. Please note, the information is reasonably accurate as of the time of the interview. I do actually grow and change, so some of my opinions or practices may not currently be as noted in these sources. Also, while all the writers did a great job there were some minor inaccuracies, so if you have a question — please ask me!
- Interview on Bliss Chick February, 2009
- Magickal Judaism: Connecting Pagan & Jewish Practice
- Nice Jewitch Girls Leave Their Brooms in the Closet. by Jill Suzanne Jacobs – Forward (The Jewish Daily) October 31, 2003
- Jewish Pagans Break New Ground, by Miriam Felton-Dansky . New Voices Magazine December 2005(?)