j weekly

Article in J Weekly: Five Local Women Ordained as Hebrew Priestesses

The title of “kohenet” has been conferred upon nine women — including five from the Bay Area — who were ordained as Hebrew priestesses in a ceremony this summer in Connecticut

The locals are Ariel Vegosen of San Francisco, Rae Abileah of Oakland, Ashirah Marni Rothman of Berkeley, Elsa Asher of Sebastopol and Nina Pick of Inverness.

“Kohenet” is a feminine form of “kohen,” or priest, and the women comprise the program’s fourth graduating class since the Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute began 10 years ago.

Their ordination signifies that “they have been trained as ritual leaders in an earth-based, embodied, feminist Jewish paradigm that honors the history of women’s spiritual practices and the sacred feminine,” a press release said. Graduates will conduct marriages, funerals, baby namings, house blessings and other ceremonies and lead communities in prayer.

Article in J Weekly: "Jewish American Priestess"

Seated cross-legged in the sunny backyard of her north Oakland home, wearing loose, tie-dyed pants, beads around her neck, her hair in tousled braids and sipping kombucha tea — her drum is tucked away for now — Taya Shere brings a few different stereotypes to mind: Hippie. Earth mother. Hebrew priestess.