Kohenet connects women to their unique history of spiritual leadership, which is thousands of years old. The women of Kohenet are the pioneers of this dream of renewal. The first Kohenet retreat took place in August 2007. Since then, Kohenet has initiated two classes of women into the Hebrew priestesshood, and in July 2009 ordained eleven women as kohanot.
Yosefa Greenberg, a Kohenet who was ordained as part of the first Kohenet class, wrote:
“As a Jewish woman, Kohenet has fulfilled the most sacred birthright of knowing that I have a strong and meaningful place among Jewish women of ancient times, today, and all of the future. Though we are each very different, I swear I see myself in all of their eyes; and my own eyes are often moist from laughing or learning in the presence of these most spiritual sisters!”
Each Kohenet sister creates a long-term project that reflects her own unique gifts. Projects have included:
- A series of modern haftarot connected to holidays such as Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki;
- A new moon and holiday liturgy based on ancient biblical and Near Eastern sacred language surrounding the Divine feminine.
- Kohenet artwork illustrating the netivot, the thirteen priestess paths;
- A Rosh Chodesh group with its own rituals and prayers;
- An inquiry into the practice of tefillin for women and its meaning;
- Research into the role of transgender people in sacred ritual work;
- Sermons and teachings on the sacred feminine;
- A research project on the use of tarot cards for Jewish women;
- Public prayer leading for Rosh haShanah and Tu b’Shevat;
- Autobiographical writings on being a Jewish woman and on Jewish women ancestors and their lives;
- A performance of the Shekhinah weeping as an inquiry into the mourning process;
- Silver filigree head-amulets for the women of Kohenet
Kohenet has also developed a weekday and Shabbat siddur (prayerbook) using traditional liturgy combined with feminine God-language, earth-centered prayer, creative ritual and guided meditations. The siddur was illustrated by a Kohenet participant and contained writings from a number of Kohenet women. It is now available for sale to others who want to pray in the Kohenet tradition.
Ellie Barbarash, a newly-ordained Kohenet, writes:
"By grappling so honestly with ancient texts, by embracing feminism and authentic female connected power, by opening up the feminine portal to Deity, my Kohenet training midwifes into birth my comfortable Jewish identity. Kohenet nutures and supports my developing ritual leadership in Jewish community. Kohenet educates me about my connections, as a Jewish woman, with the root cultures of ancient Hebrew speaking people. The reading lists, the camaraderie of the Kohanot, the deep and compassionate pedagogy of the instructors, and the feminine God-languaged siddur, have been invaluable in my life.”
To make the Kohenet journey your own, apply online.