Workshops, seminars and courses that inspire full-hearted living

Friday, January 26, 2018—Sunday, January 28, 2018

She is a Tree of Life: A Shabbat Immersion in the Feminine Divine

Rabbi Jill Hammer, PhD and Shoshana Jedwab

We are excited to host groundbreaking and visionary scholars and activists Rabbi Jill Hammer and Shoshana Jedwab for a weekend of exploration of the Divine Feminine in Judaism.

Evidence of the presence of feminine representations of the Divine in sacred Jewish texts and artifacts has been hiding in plain sight throughout the ages. But it has taken the emergence of contemporary feminist scholarship and sensitivities to begin to reclaim and to celebrate this heritage and to reintegrate the Divine Feminine into Jewish life. Master teachers Jill Hammer and Shoshana Jedwab are leaders on this cutting edge of Jewish scholarship and practice, and we are thrilled to be able to bring them to the WJC.

We encourage you to sign up for this entire weekend of exceptional learning. Registration includes all the events and activities of the weekend, and catered meals are available at a modest additional cost. Details are below. If costs are prohibitive, please contact Dee Graziano at 845 679 2218 x6. We never turn anyone away for lack of funds.

If you are unable to join us for the entire weekend, our Friday evening and Saturday morning Shabbat services and programming are free and open to all. The Saturday evening Havdalah and concert is also open to the public, but there is an admission fee.

Workshop Registration and Information

Tuition: $150 General; $75 WJC Members. Meals: Saturday lunch & Saturday dinner, plus snacks $50 (most dietary needs can be accommodated). Participants are also welcome to bring their own dairy/vegetarian food if they do not want to sign up for the meal plan. If tuition costs are prohibitive, contact Dee Graziano at 845 679 2218 x6 for a confidential conversation. Online registration is available through the LSI website, or you can register by contacting Joyce DiPietro at the WJC office, 845 679 2218 x0.


Here’s the schedule:

Friday, January 26

6 pm-8pm      Kabbalat Shabbat Service and Talk (Free and Open to All)

“The Divine Feminine in Jewish Sources” with Rabbi Jill Hammer

When, how, and why have Jews conceived the divine in female terms? What needs might this have met for them, and can meet for us? With Rabbi Jill Hammer, explore biblical, rabbinic, and kabbalistic sources in which the Divine is midwife, mother, mourning woman, and bride, and develop an awareness of this face of the sacred.

The service will be followed by Kiddush.

Saturday, January 27

10 am       Shabbat morning service (Free and Open to All)

Special Experiential Torah Service: Miriam at the Sea – led by Rabbi Jill Hammer and Shoshana Jedwab

The prophetess Miriam, sister of Aaron, is identified with the priesthood, with dance and music, with liberation, and with water. As we cross the Sea of Reeds, what are Miriam’s lessons for us? In this experiential Torah service, we’ll witness the crossing and become part of it.

The service will be followed by Kiddush

WORKSHOP Begins at Lunch and continues through Sunday morning

12:30 pm       Lunch

1:30 pm         The Wise Woman and the Tree of Life: The Divine Feminine in the Book of Proverbs with Rabbi Jill Hammer

In the book of Proverbs, Wisdom is depicted as a female teacher or prophetess. Who is this mysterious figure, and what happens to her for the rest of Jewish history? Learn more in this study session.

2:45 pm         Break

4:45-6 pm      Shekhinah and Sacred Earth: The Kabbalists, the Divine Mother, and the Planet with Rabbi Jill Hammer

The kabbalists understood the whole earth to be full of divine presence. In general, they equated this earthly divine immanence with Shekhinah, the divine mother. How did this understanding of the world around them influence their beliefs and practices? In what ways can their beliefs inspire us as we face a threatened world?

6:15 pm         Dinner

7:15-8:30 pm  “I Remember”: Havdalah and Concert with Shoshana Jedwab (Open to All)

(Included free of charge for workshop participants; Suggested donation $10/WJC members, $15/General)

Born from Shoshana Jedwab’s intuitive musical work in community and her immersion in sacred literature in her career as a Jewish educator, these original compositions are reflections on ancient and medieval Hebrew poets, wise women, Hassidic masters, Sufi mystics, and contemporary teachers. Each song explores a unique landscape that taps simultaneously into the Hebrew and World soul.

Sunday, January 28

9:30-11:15 am Embracing The Hebrew Priestess

The Hebrew Priestess, Rabbi Jill Hammer’s book with Taya Shere, carefully excavates the forgotten roles of women as Jewish spiritual leaders from the millennia before women began receiving rabbinic ordination in the 1970s. From before the days of Miriam the Prophetess and Deborah the Judge, Jewish women have offered their talents as religious leaders. The Hebrew Priestess tells their stories, often reading between the lines of the Bible and Talmud to rediscover the women that rabbinic editors downplayed and perhaps even tried to erase. Discover the holy women, shrinekeepers, shamanesses, and prophetesses of the Bible. Learn how they helped shape the biblical world and how they can inform our Judaism today.

11:30 am Closing Circle



Rabbi Jill Hammer, PhD is a ritualist, author, educator, dreamworker, midrashist, and poet. 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 Book of Earth and Other Mysteries, and the co-author of The Hebrew Priestess: Ancient and New Visions of Jewish Women’s Spiritual Leadership and Siddur HaKohanot: A Hebrew Priestess Prayerbook, as well as other books. Rabbi Hammer conducts workshops on priestessing, dreamwork, ancient and contemporary midrash, bibliodrama, creative ritual, kabbalah, 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.

As a child, Shoshana Jedwab would drum on parked cars, plates, tables, books and other people’s bodies. Hailing from a family of rabbis and community leaders decimated by the Holocaust, Shoshana became a prize winning Jewish Studies Day School teacher, and the Jewish Life Coordinator at the A.J. Heschel School. Shoshana Jedwab aka. Batshemesh, serves as a founding faculty member at Kohenet. Shoshana also holds down the beat as ritual drummer and worship leader for Kohenet and cutting edge communities, including Romemu, LabShul, Kirtan Rabbi and the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center. She is also a liturgist and singer-songwriter. The songs of Shoshana’s July 2016 album, “I Remember” , and upcoming recording, “Where You Go”, grace many a Kohenet prayer service. Shoshana Jedwab was included in Jewish Rock Radio’s Jewish Women Who Rock the Worship World.