Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center and the Elat Chayyim Center for Jewish Spirituality
Elat Chayyim Center for Jewish Spirituality

Kohenet—The Hebrew Preistess Institute

Kohenet Embodied Jewish spiritual leadership, creativity and community from an earth-honoring, feminist perspective.

The Kohenet Training Intensive seeks to revitalize the connection between Judaism and the Divine Feminine by helping women reclaim the ancient role of the kohenet—the priestess or sacred servant who facilitates holy Jewish experiences. Kohenet trains women to exercise their spiritual power in a distinctly feminine way as the needs of Jews, women and the planet as a whole continue to emerge and evolve.

Kohenet supports Jewish women on their journeys as individuals and as communal leaders. Participants study traditional texts—Torah, Talmud, Kabbalah and Near Eastern myths—in ways that call forth Shechinah, the indwelling feminine Presence. Kohenet trainees also explore practices that have been passed down by generations of Israelite and Jewish women, including birthing amulets, dreamwork and the celebration of women's holidays.

Each of the four weeklong Kohenet retreats during the initial two-year training program is organized around thirteen netivot—paths that correspond to archetypes such as Wise Woman, Mother, Shamaness, Priestess, Prophetess, Midwife and Matriarch. By weaving these netivot throughout prayer, sacred chant and experiential learning, participants learn to create and lead powerful rituals.

The program allows each participant to work on a long-term project that will deepen and express her unique gifts as a Jewish woman. Kohenet participants also engage in monthly phone calls to check in with each other and faculty, learn about the Jewish holiday cycle and cultivate a spiritual practice at home. At the end of the two-year program, participants receive initiation into the Kohenet tradition. Participants who complete the initial two-year training have the option to continue with advanced study.

Apply today.

This intensive is sponsored by Kohenet: The Hebrew Priestess Institute. Learn more at www.kohenet.org.

Teachers

Rabbi Jill Hammer, PhD is an author, educator, midrashist, myth-weaver and ritualist. She is the co-founder of Kohenet: The Hebrew Priestess Institute, and the director of Tel Shemesh, a website and community celebrating and creating Jewish earth-based traditions. She is also the Director of Spiritual Education at the Academy for Jewish Religion, a pluralistic Jewish seminary. Rabbi Hammer is the author of two books: Sisters at Sinai: New Tales of Biblical Women (Jewish Publication Society, 2001) and The Jewish Book of Days: A Companion for All Seasons (Jewish Publication Society, 2006). Rabbi Hammer conducts workshops around the country on ancient and contemporary midrash, bibliodrama, creative ritual and Jewish cycles of time. She was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary and holds a doctorate in social psychology from the University of Connecticut.

Holly Taya Shere, co-founder of Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute, is a folklorist, ritual artist and educator committed to reclaiming and innovating embodied and earth-honoring models of Jewish women’s spiritual leadership. Since 2006, Holly has held the rabbinic pulpit at Olney Kehila Jewish Congregation, where she serves as Spiritual Leader. Holly also facilitates life-cycle ritual, leads prayer services, and teaches Judaism in three other Washington, DC area Jewish communities, and is a leader of ALEPH’s biannual “Renewal in Israel” trips. She shares her tribal-style, prayer offerings celebrating the sacred feminine at gatherings around the country, as well as on her forthcoming CD, “holy, holy: the wild earth shebrew chants.” She received her M.A. in Folklore and Folklife from the University of Pennsylvania, where her Master’s thesis was "Everything She Touches Changes: A Feminist Ethnography of Women Integrating Spirituality, Politics and Creativity." She spent several years priestessing in earth-based communities and working as a healer before becoming a teacher and facilitator in Jewish community.

Shoshana Jedwab is a prize-winning Jewish educator and the Jewish Studies Coordinator at the A.J. Heschel Middle School in New York City. She is the founding facilitator of the Makom Drum Circle at the JCC in Manhattan and is a percussionist and performance artist who has trained in bibliodrama and psychodrama. Shoshana has provided empowering drum circles to singles, student, training and bereavement groups. Shoshana has performed with Storahtelling, Chana Rothman, Debbie Friedman, Akiva Wharton, A Song of Solomon, Hebrew Mystical Chant with the Kirtan Rabbi Andrew Hahn, and Tel Shemesh seasonal events. She is Kohenet's ritual drummer and also serves on the Kohenet faculty.

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Registration Information

Single Room

w/ private bath & queen-sized bed

1,600

w/ private bath

1,450

w/ shared bath & queen-sized bed

1,450

w/ shared bath

925

w/ hall bath

750
Double Room

w/ private bath & queen-sized bed

1,025

w/ private bath

925

w/ shared bath & queen-sized bed

875

w/ shared bath

725

w/ hall bath

700
Triple Room

w/ private bath

725

w/ hall bath

650
Tent/Commuter
  550
Children (Ages 3-14)

per night

35

Training Institute Tuition

Registration for this fourth meeting of Kohenet in January requires payment of Room and Board (see table for rates).

Room and board includes housing, meals, Shabbat services, evening activities, hot tub, yoga, meditation, and full use of our facility. All rooms are air-conditioned in the summer and heated in the winter.

Financial assistance for graduate students in rabbinic, cantorial, or Jewish education are eligible for aid through a generous grant provided by The Lasko Family Foundation of Philadelphia. Click here to apply.

Limited financial aid is also available through the Elat Chayyim scholarship fund.

Arrival and Departure

Please arrive between 2pm and 5pm on the day your retreat begins. Retreats end with brunch at 11:30am on the last day of the retreat.

Room and Board Cancellation Policy

The Elat Chayyim Center for Jewish Spirituality reserves the right to cancel any program at any time. In this event, you will be given a complete refund.

For transportation: A full refund of transportation fees is available if you cancel at least three days (72 hours) in advance. No refund is available if less than three days notice is given. For more information on getting here, please visit our Travel & Transportation page.

Tuition Cancellation Policy

In case of cancellation of the entire Institute, Elat Chayyim retains a $200 enrollment deposit, plus tuition for any weeks attended or partially attended. Any tuition paid in excess of these amounts is refunded.

Register now!

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