I want to begin my writing about the Kohenet initiation week by introducing myself — my new self. An initiation should leave a person feeling altered, and my Kohenet-Tzovah initiation was no exception. I will not be writing specifically about the initiation ritual — sorry you had to be there. I do want to talk about my new name, where it came from, and what it means. Many traditions include a new name as part of an initiation, but Kohenet is not one of those traditions.
“But wait,” you say, “you came home with a new name?”
Yes, I did. But everyone else did not. My new name was a true gift from RK’Jill Hammer (R=Rabbi K=Kohenet). Some time ago, I wrote about my issues with my names. Just before I was asked to inscribe my name in the “Sefer HaKohanot,” RK’Jill said she had a gift for me. It was a name. She remembered that I had said I didn’t want to name myself again and wanted to offer me one. It was Ketzirah, which means harvest. It fit perfectly. It fit about as comfortably as Carly does.
As soon as my sister Kohanot heard it, they all had the same reaction. They heard it for the first time during our initiation ritual. Ketzirah embodies everything I want to be and do moving forward. I don’t expect the people who have known me for years to stop calling me Carly, because I’ll always be her, but I am now going to begin weaving this new name into my life.
I heard the call as Chava Chai, but now will begin the work as Ketzirah.