Kohenet: The Hebrew Priestess Institute

Mar 16, 2020 - Mar 22, 2020

Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, Falls Village, CT

Click here for details on our response to COVID-19

accepted kohenet participants: register now! registration rates and scholarship details

A new vision of Jewish women’s spiritual leadership

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


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



The Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute reclaims powerful models of sacred service based on Jewish women’s spiritual leadership roles throughout the centuries, from biblical prophetess-priestesses to Talmudic healers and magicians to kabbalistic dream interpreters to modern feminist ritualists. By opening to the sacred feminine in Jewish sources, in the world around us, and in our own lives, we evolve an embodied, earth-based, and feminist Jewish practice. 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.

The Kohenet Institute meets twice a year for a total of four week-long sessions over the course of two years. Our curriculum is based on priestess-archetypes such as Seeker, Shrinekeeper, Wise Woman, Mother, Prophetess, and Shamaness. For each priestess-archetype, we explore myth, history, personal experience, ceremony and spirit journey. Our initial program is four week-long retreats, with phone calls and on-line discussion and assignments in between sessions. This training program concludes with an initiatory ritual. Upon completion of the initial program, students can choose to enroll in an advanced program that provides in-depth training in ritual leadership, and receive smicha (ordination) as a Hebrew priestess.

Our Kohenet community spans the entire country and is a rich source of support and learning. Our core faculty has extensive experience in ritual facilitation; Jewish sacred text, lifecycle ritual, and prayer; and earth-based feminist theology, and we are also supported by guest faculty and interns. We have yearly programs for alumnae, and our graduates maintain close contact with the Institute and the Kohenet network.

See below for our amazing teachers.



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 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 (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

accepted kohenet participants: register now!

Before registering, you must be accepted to participate by the Kohenet faculty. To access the application for the Kohenet Training Institute, click here. Registration is for accepted participants only.

Tuition for Kohenet is $1800. This does not include Room & Board for each of the four retreats, prices for which are determined by your choice of accommodations. Prices on the registration page are ALL-INCLUSIVE, combining the tuition with the room & board rates that you choose.

You will receive a confirmation email once you have registered and made a payment online or by phone. If you do not receive the confirmation email within 24 hours of registering, please contact us registrar@hazon.org or 860.824.5991 x0.

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 aspiration possible. The Tamar Fund is in loving memory of Tamar Bittelman z’’l.

Please be sure to read the application guidelines in the form below