“A very readable and much-needed book!” —Starhawk
“An extraordinary and amazing work.” —Alicia Ostriker
“A book to savor.” —Max Dashu
“The articulation of my dreams and longings.” —Rabbi Shefa Gold
“Read this book, but don’t stop there—live it as well!” —Rabbi Rami Shapiro
Ben Yehuda Press proudly presents The Hebrew Priestess, a landmark work of Jewish feminism.
The Hebrew Priestess carefully excavates the forgotten roles of women as Jewish spiritual leaders from the millennia before women began receiving rabbinic ordination in the 1970s. Building upon the past, so richly presented in The Hebrew Priestess, the authors offer up uniquely feminine forms of spiritual leadership for our time.
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.
Rabbi Jill Hammer brings vast erudition to this book as well as unique personal experience. She is co-founder, with co-author Taya Shere, of the Kohenet Institute, which trains Jewish women as Hebrew priestesses. Hammer and Shere believe that the spiritual gifts of Jewish women will only be incorporated into Judaism when women explore the Divine through their own lens. The Kohenet Institute offers an embodied, ecstatic, earth-based approach to Jewish spiritual practice and leadership.
The Hebrew Priestess weaves a careful examination of historical antecedents of these new priestesses with the personal experiences of women who embarked on this new path of Jewish priestesshood.
The Hebrew Priestess delineates 13 models of spiritual leadership (among them prophetess, weaver, drummer, shrinekeeper, midwife, mother, maiden, witch, and fool) and shows how each model of women’s leadership was manifest in ancient times and throughout Jewish history, and how women in our day are following that path. Finally, it shows how each model can be incorporated into one’s own spiritual life.
Ambitious, learned, practical, and deeply personal, The Hebrew Priestess offers a strong feminist connection to Jewish history and to a personal experience of the sacred.