Kohenet Smicha

Me receiving Smicha!
Ketzirah being Annointed by RK’Jill (RK’Bat Shemesh behind)

There’s been lots of questions about what receiving smicha (ordination) as a Kohenet means to me.  It’s harder to answer than you’d think.  But I do want to talk about this.  The most common questions are:

  1. Do you feel different?
  2. Now what?

Do I feel different?

Yes.  I did from the moment after physically receiving smicha.  There was an expansiveness in my chest, around my solar plexus.  This sensation lasted for several days.  It was very odd, but it really made me realize that something had truly changed from the inside out.  It was notably different than what I experienced with the Becoming ordination.  That was from the outside in.  I’m not sure I could have put those words to it then, but now I can.

My Becoming ordination was my spiritual community stating that I was seen as a spiritual leader and a holder of the community’s heart.  Each member of that community, and a few others,  publically gave me their blessing as part of the ritual.  What changed was my relationship to the community and theirs to me.  It was a change from the outside in.

With Kohenet, the experience was so different.  The physical act of  smicha, laying on of hands, for each individual woman used the words:

From Behind
From Below
From Above

While that seems from the outside in, my experience was inside out.  Even though a huge part was the connecting of each woman to the other women in our class, it was still inside out.  The change was in me.  The key line was the final line of the personal smicha for each woman:

And from this moment on, you are a Kohenent.

That’s when something changed inside of me.  What that means, I don’t really know yet.

Now What?

I wish I knew.  The smicha ceremony was on Shabbat.  Sunday, I flew home.  Monday, I slept.  Tuesday, I went back to my  corporate “day job.”   Would I like to give up the day job?  Of course, but I haven’t figured out how to earn a solid income without it, yet.  Truth is, I do a lot of priestessing there.  It’s not what they think they pay me for, but it’s needed and wanted, nonetheless.

Here’s where I’m heading next:

  • Return to teaching this year, after a three year break during the Kohenet training.
  • Leading a Rosh Hashanah service again this year — and that several Kohanot will be journeying to DC to be a part of it!
  • Get more involved, somehow, with the Jewish community — without giving up Becoming.  That’s a sacrifice I’m not yet prepared to make.
  • Do more with DC Harvest and see where that can take me.
  • I’ve had a couple of HUGE breakthroughs as an artist  in the last few months, so I’d like to continue with my artwork and see how far I can push myself creatively.
  • Continue the Wheel of the Year guides and maybe trying to compile them into a book along with the seasonal haggadot.
  • Continue improving my Hebrew!

That’s a pretty big list, considering I have a demanding day job!  That list doesn’t even include things like “keep employed” and enjoy my husband’s company, visit with family and friends, providing priestessing ritual/rite of passage services, and everything else.

If you read all of this and would like to see more pictures of the final week of Kohenet and the Smicha Ceremony, there’s plenty on Flickr.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on all this and any suggestions for what’s next!

9 Replies to “Kohenet Smicha”

  1. Thanks for sharing this. I've been eager to hear (er, read) your thoughts on this, while knowing full well that your thoughts might not be that easy to distill into words. 🙂

  2. Wow! I loved reading this. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. There's a lot to think about, and I beleve that G-d/dess will lead you on your path. The important thing is, you actually followed the path. I am so excited and happy for you! And by the way, you have influenced me in a very positive way during this past year. Thank you for that! Blessings and many congratulations,

  3. Mazel tov! May you continue to grow from strength to strength and experience hatzlacha v'simcha in all that you do!!

  4. Just the photos, and they are beautiful! You look positively euphoric! Mazel tov yet once again! I am very happy for you!

  5. Thanks for trying to articulate this most personal experience! I'll be particularly interested to hear how *you* walk the line between your two worlds as time goes on.

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