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Kohenet Smicha Weekend

Jul 5, 2017 - Jul 9, 2017

Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, Falls Village, CT

Sign up your friends and family today! See the “registration” tab for rates, lodging options, and to register!

Celebrate a new cadre of spiritual leaders

Led by Rabbi Jill Hammer, Shoshana Jedwab, and Taya Shere

The Kohenet training program uses prayer, ritual, text study, and experiential learning to give women tools of spiritual leadership they can use in their own communities. This weekend celebrates their ordination as Kohenot.


I’m open to the mystery and to walking the path lit by Shekhinah.
—Kohenet participant

Studying text, integrated with women’s other ways of knowing, has helped me find places in Judaism where I can fully engage as a woman.
—Kohenet participant


General Information

The Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute ordains women to serve a changing Jewish world, using an earth-based, embodied, feminist model of leadership that incorporates the spiritual history and contemporary voices of women as a resource for Jewish life. Celebrate the fifth ordination ceremony of the Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute with a weekend of powerful ritual, Shabbat prayer using chant, drumming, and feminine God-language; learning centered around wise women traditions; and time in the outdoors. With the staff of the Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute and guest teachers.  The ordination is at 2 pm on Friday afternoon; please plan to arrive in time for the ceremony!


Rabbi Jill Hammer
Rabbi Jill Hammer, PhD is an author, educator, midrashist, myth-weaver and ritualist. She is the co-founder of Kohenet: The Hebrew Priestess Institute. She is also the Director of Spiritual Education at the Academy for Jewish Religion, a pluralistic Jewish seminary. Rabbi Hammer is the author of Sisters at Sinai: New Tales of Biblical Women, The Jewish Book of Days: A Companion for All Seasons, and the co-author of The Hebrew Priestess and Siddur HaKohanot: A Hebrew Priestess Prayerbook. Rabbi Hammer conducts workshops on ancient and contemporary midrash, bibliodrama, creative ritual, kabbalah, Jewish dreamwork, 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.

Shoshana Jedwab
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 seasonal events. She is Kohenet’s ritual drummer and also serves on the Kohenet faculty.

Tay Shere
Taya Shere plays passionately in the realms of transformative ritual and embodied vocalization. Taya is co-founder of the Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute. Her chant albums Wild Earth Shebrew, Halleluyah All Night and Torah Tantrika have been heralded as “cutting-edge mystic medicine music” and rock devotional tribe worldwide. Taya is co-author of The Hebrew Priestess: Ancient and New Paths of Jewish Women’s Spiritual Leadership (forthcoming Ben Yehuda Press) and Siddur HaKohanot: A Hebrew Priestess Prayerbook. Taya mentors resonant students in Sacred Arts and Spiritual Leadership and is Spiritual Leader Emeritus of Olney Kehila Congregation in Olney, MD. Taya makes home, music, and other magic in Oakland, CA. holytaya.com

Registration and Pricing

We have strived to create the most affordable possible rates and provide multiple options for length of stay that will allow for flexible arrival dates. All-inclusive rates start at $300 per person.

The registration and rates table below is for friends, family, alumnae, and all other guests. If you are a current Kohenet student, you can register for the summer 2017 session of Kohenet here.

First, please choose which nights you’d like to stay. On the next step you can choose your lodging.

Date Range register for July 5-9
Wed-Sun, 4 nights
register for July 6-9
Thurs-Sun, 3 nights
register for July 7-9
Fri-Sun, 2 nights
Dormitory 500 400 300
Basic 600 470 350
Standard 760 600 430
Standard Plus 980 760 540
Camper 420 340 260
Commuter 420 340 260
Child 5-12 240 180 120
Child under 5 Free Free Free

We strive to make our programs affordable to everyone. Limited scholarships are available, please see the scholarships tab for details.

Tamar Fund Scholarships

We strive to make our retreats affordable to everyone.We believe retreats are important experiences to be shared. Inclusiveness is one of our core values. We strive to ensure that our retreats are as financially accessible as possible. The Tamar fund makes that style=”text-align: left;”aspiration possible. Read about more about the Tamar Fund, in loving memory of Tamar Bittelman z’’l.

Application Process

  • Scholarships are awarded on a rolling basis and are awarded exclusively for dormitory lodging, camping, and commuting (pending availability).
  • Applications must be received at least three weeks in advance of the retreat for which you are applying. Please only register after receiving a response; the scholarship will not be applied retroactively.
  • We will respond to Tamar Fund scholarship applications within seven business days of receipt.
  • If you are awarded a scholarship, you will have one week to register for the retreat at the reduced rate, after which time the offer will expire.
  • A scholarship does not guarantee availability at the time of registration; due to the inherent turnaround time of the application process, we recommend applying as early as possible to secure a spot at the retreat.
  • If you have any questions, please contact us at registrar@hazon.org or (860) 824-5991 x0.

Pre-Arrival Information

Arrival and Departure
Check-in is from 2 to 5 pm on Wednesday and Thursday. Check-in for guests arriving Friday will be 12-2 pm in order to arrive and get settled in before the ordination ceremony begins. The ceremony will begin at 2 pmon Friday afternoon; please plan to arrive in time for the ceremony! Guests must be checked out of their rooms at 10 am on Sunday. The retreat will end with lunch on Sunday.

There are two parking lots: one next to the tennis court by the main entrance, and one by the barnyard on the other end of campus. There is also accessible parking located across from the Main Building. Please do not park on the grass anywhere on campus.

For those coming from the New York City area, the Harlem Line of the Metro North stops in Wassaic, NY, just half an hour away. We offer a shuttle from and to Wassaic Train Station –the last stop on the Harlem Line of the Metro North — on arrival and departure days at the following times:

Arrival Shuttles – from Wassaic Train Station to Isabella Freedman:

  • 4:03 pm on Wednesday 7/5, Thursday 7/6, and Friday 7/7

Departure Shuttle – from Isabella Freedman to Wassaic Train Station:

  • 1:30 pm on Sunday 7/9

The shuttle costs $20 each way. If you have not already signed up for the shuttle during registration, please call (860) 824-5991 ext. 0 at least a week before the start date of the retreat to reserve your spot. If you require transportation outside of our designated shuttle times, we recommend the taxi service Taximan – (845) 789-1242. For more information on getting here, click here.

Ride Share
Help to reduce the environmental impact of car trips to and from Isabella Freedman by checking out our carpool initiative! Upon registering, you will receive a link to a unique rideshare board to help connect you with fellow retreat participants. Offering a ride in your car will help reduce carbon emissions, cut down gas costs and make new friends! If you are looking for a ride, adding yourself to the wait list (on the right hand side of the page) is the best way to be notified when movements occur.

Kashrut Policy
One of our mashgichim (kosher supervisors) must pre-approve all food items that enter the designated dining spaces, including the sukkahs. If you plan to supplement our delicious, healthy, farm-to-feast meals, your items must be completely sealed in original packaging and have a conventional kosher-for-Passover hechsher. Unapproved food and drinks may be enjoyed anywhere on site besides our dining spaces.

Packing List
You may want to bring:

  • Over-the-counter and/or prescription medications
  • Toiletries
  • Flashlight
  • Chargers for electronic devices
  • Sun protection (sunblock, sunglasses, a hat)
  • Rain gear (a jacket and/or umbrella)
  • Ritual wear
  • Comfortable, loose-fitting clothes for yoga
  • Closed toe shoes
  • Hiking boots to enjoy our many trails
  • Camping equipment, including a tent, sleeping bag, and towel if you are camping

We provide:

  • Toiletries like deodorant and toothpaste for sale in the bookstore
  • Extra kippot and tallitot, in addition to siddurim
  • Yoga mats, blankets, and blocks
  • Heat and A/C in all guest rooms
  • Linens and towels in all guest rooms
  • Alarm clocks in all guest rooms

If you’re new to Isabella Freedman, check out our Frequently Asked Questions.


This retreat will also feature inauguration of Yeriot: The Kohenet Graduate Circle. Yeriot means “tapestries” or “weavings” and the program will provide a weaving of continuing education for our graduates. Alums are invited to attend a continuing education program at Isabella Freedman from Wednesday July 5 through Sunday July 9, 2017 for classes, smicha, and meeting our new class of women.See the “registration” tab to register for Yeriot.