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    Cottage in the Woods 2023/24

    A winter's journey through Jewish folk customs and ritual arts.
    On Sundays, from December 2023 to March 2024, join our Cottage in the Woods from the comfort of your couch. Led by Kohenet Rachel and Kohenet Yael, we will explore Jewish practices relating to grief and mourning, witches and magic, rediscovering lost voices, and amulet-making. Cottage in the Woods contains a blend of text-based learning, embodied and practical exploration, anthropology and folklore studies, as well as additional support and development for those who wish.


    Courses are open to Jewish folk and allies of any gender, sexuality, and level of knowledge, age 16+. Catch up audio recordings and handouts will be available for those who miss classes.


    You can book to attend a single course, multiple courses, or become a ‘cottage resident’ with access to all courses plus exclusive additional sessions and support.

    Scroll down for our FAQs

  • This year's courses...

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    Be a Cottage Resident

    Cottage residents are people who book to attend all four courses, and also wish to receive additional support circles, little tokens of appreciations from Yelala, plus discounts on other events over the period of December 2023-March 2024.


    Applications are open until places are filled. Due to limited places, we recommend applying speedily!

    You can attend all 4 courses without applying to be a cottage resident.


    Cottage Residents can choose an amount in the following range. Abundant rates help us to support those who require financial support.

    Cottage Residents can pay in installments

    Supported: £180-£299

    Standard: £300-£399

    Abundant: £400-£500+

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    Death, Dying, & Remembrance

    Due to high demand, we bring back our studies of grief-holding. Exploring Jewish sacred text, folklore and anthropology, from ancient wailing rituals to modern day soul-midwifery, we will discuss if this might impact our present and future experiences. Special guests include Sheila Simmonds, soul midwife.


    Tutor: Kohenet Rachel

    On Zoom: Sundays 3, 10, 17, + Thursday 21 December 2023

    19.30GMT / 11.30PT / 14.30ET / 20.30CET (90mins)

    catch up recordings available for missed classes



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    Jewish Witchcraft: Harvesting Cucumbers by Magic, and Other Spells

    Meet the Jewitches and Jewish ancestors of all genders who worked magic, loved magic, loathed magic and made some loopholes for things they insisted weren’t magic, but sound quite a lot like magic... Like it or lump it, magic has been part of Jewish tradition since the ancient world. Join Kohenet Yael to meet our witch-and-wizard ancestors and explore the winding road of contradictions and wisdoms of the Jewish relationship with magic.


    Tutor: Kohenet Yael

    On Zoom: Sundays 14, 21, 28 January 2024

    19GMT / 11PT / 14ET / 20GMT (90mins)

    catch up recordings available for missed classes



    £42 / £57 / £72

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    A course exploring the power and history of amuletic practice through Jewish folklore, and anthropology. Kohenet Rachel will be teaching in partnership with Rima Staines, an artist whose work straddles myth, magical realism and the folk arts. In recent years, Rima has been creating amulets to make visible, to transmute and to heal specific hurts, traumas and challenges that her life has brought her. We, too, will explore how we might apply the wisdom of amuletic practice to our own lives.


    Tutors: Rima Staines + Kohenet Rachel

    On Zoom: Sundays 4, 11, 18, 25 February 2024

    20GMT / 12 PT / 15 ET / /21 CET (90mins)

    catch up recordings available for missed classes



    £55 / £75 / £95

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    Drawing Up the Voices of the Past:

    The Healing Power of Midrash

    For many of us, Jewish tradition is one of loud silence and absent presence. We seek out the stories of women, femmes and other marginalised folk, people like ourselves, and find them missing. And yet, Jewish tradition has gifted us the practice of midrash, of imagining stories and interpretations between the lines of our texts. We can continue this tradition, as we listen out for the silences in our stories and give voice to characters named and unnamed, as well as ourselves. We will use a playful blend of text-study, creative writing, reflection and bibliodrama to give voice to our missing ancestors. Participants will be encouraged to try out some creative writing or art themselves.


    Tutor: Kohenet Yael

    On Zoom: Sundays 3, 10, 17, 24 March 2024

    19 GMT / 11 PT / 14 ET / 20 CET (90mins)

    catch up recordings available for missed classes



    £55 / £75 / £95

  • FAQs

  • Spend the Winter with Yelala:
    Become a Cottage Resident

    What's a Cottage Resident?

    Booking a Cottage Resident place covers attendance of all Cottage in the Woods gatherings from 8 November 2020-22 March 2021, including Kabbalat Shabbat. The majority of our gatherings are weekly on Monday evenings from 7-8.30pm UK time. Kabbalat Shabbat takes place on Friday evenings from 6.30-7.45pm. Cottage Residents are also invited to participate in special Opening and Closing Doorway Circles and a regular sharing circles, so that we can learn and grow together through the darkest months. Cottage Residents will receive a 50% discount on any additional Yelala programming from November 2020-March 2021. Cottage Resident places are limited, so please book these as soon as possible.
    Individual courses can be booked up until a week before they being, or until they sell out - whichever is soonest.
    Kabbalat Shabbat can be attended at any time, see more below.

    What's the Schedule?

    All sessions take place on Mondays from 7-8.30pm unless otherwise stated.
    You can read more about each of these courses further down, but here's the basic schedule:


    Doorway and Sharing Circles (for Cottage Residents only)

    Our time in the cottage begins and ends at the edges of Winter. Our Cottage Residents will be part of special opening and closing Doorway Circles, and regular Sharing Circles, to our hopes and lay the foundations for making our winter cosy, connected, and nourishing.
    7-8.30pm, Sunday 8 November 2020; Sharing Circles, and Closing Circle, dates TBC.


    At the Bedside: Jewish Customs & Folklore of Bleeding & Birthing

    Learn about Jewish customs around birthing and being born into the world from across the Jewish diaspora, with song, ritual, discussion, and room for practical ideas and adaptation to modern circumstances including. This course makes no assumption that attendees wish to be parents, and focuses on our relationship with this liminal doorway through which we have all entered life.
    4 week course: 9, 16, 23, 30 November 2020


    In the Wild Woods: Jewish Ways with Winter Solstice
    Learn about Jewish customs around Winter Solstice, including midrashim (folklore), Earth-centred practices, women’s practices, and the stories of the ancestresses we raise up at this time. This course will be a three-part series to help us prepare for the darkest time of year and the return of the light. It will culminate in a Jewishly-rooted ritual to mark the Solstice.

    3 week course: 7, 14, 21 December 2020


    The Book Nook: The Wonder Women of the Tanakh

    ​From tactical change-makers to fiery queens, from vulnerable daughters to wise women, let us encounter women of our ancient tradition. We will meet these women in all their boldness, vulnerability, leadership and complexity. Sessions include text study, as well as an embodied or meditative practice to connect to the medicine of each ancestress.

    4 week course: 11, 18, 25 January + 1 February 2021


    The Hearth: A Course in Ritual Craft

    ​Sessions include gaining knowledge of ritual-making throughout Jewish history, practical ritual design and leadership skills, chevrutah study (in pairs) and the opportunity to lead and workshop your own ritual.

    8 week course: 15, 22 February + 1, 8, 15, 22 March 2021
    plus time for chevrutah (learning in pairs) and 2 mentoring sessions to be arranged with you to support your confidence / creation of ritual


    The Kitchen Table: Kabbalat Shabbat
    Bringing in the Day of Rest in community, with devotional song, meditation and connection.

    Every Friday, 6.30-7.45pm

    How Much Does it Cost?

    The standard price for a Cottage Resident is ᆪ270 in total. This works out at ᆪ54 a month.

    We have limited Subsidised places available for ᆪ180.

    We have Abundance places available for ᆪ370. If you can comfortably afford this option, it will enable us to make more subsidised spaces available for those in need.

    If you cannot afford the Subsidised place, or if you would like to pay for any of these by instalments, please
    email us.

    Ready to book? Scroll down to the next section!

    More Questions? Please see our FAQs below