EVENTS TAKE PLACE ON ZOOM UNLESS STATED OTHERWISE
OUR RESPONSE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
In this time of uncertainty and struggle, we are dedicated to creating accessible, nourishing spiritual experiences, to help sustain all those seeking community. In order to create connection in a time of physical disconnect, we have moved our offerings online.We need to make a livelihood from this work, but we also provide no-cost options available for every event, so that we can welcome all who wish to be a part of our gatherings.All of our events are open to Jewish people, as well as friends and allies of all genders, unless otherwise stated. Click here to see some of our past events.
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You can make a donation to support our parnassah (livelihood). All donations are shared equally between us:
KABBALAT SHABBAT WITH YELALA
Every Friday 18.30-19.45 BST
In this time of physical disconnect, let us choose connection... We may not be able to go out into the apple orchards to welcome the Shabbat like the sixteenth century Jewish mystics, but we can convene in this Online Orchard, to sing in the Day of Rest with chants, meditations, and wordless melodies.When you email us, please share a short personal memory of something calming, so we know you are a real human being.This event is offered free of charge. If you are feeling abundant, we would appreciate a donation towards our work. The donation button is aboveOur events are open to all, regardless of whether or not you are able to donate.
RHYTHMS OF ELUL: ANCESTRAL PRACTICES FOR OUR TIME
17:00-18:30 BST | Sunday 13 September
For our ancestors, the journey towards the New Year and Yom Kippur was a whole season of internal and even external pilgrimage, the month beforehand peppered with grave-visiting, ritual candle-making, deep-night devotion, even full moon rituals by the sea. Coronavirus may have separated some of us from our usual practices at this time of year. For others, this may all be new! How can we learn from the rhythm of Elul? Join Kohenet Rachel as we find old-new ways to walk the path towards renewal as the season turns. This event is hosted by Jackson's Row Synagogue.
ROSH HASHANAH WITH YELALA
11-13.00 BST | Sunday 20 September
There is a chill in the air and for many of us, it may feel as though autumn is a time for endings… But in Jewish tradition, this is the beginning of the year, as we get closer and closer to the abundant autumn harvest.Join Kohenet Yael Esther and Kohenet Rachel Rose Reid to welcome in the Jewish New Year. We will blend song, silence, embodied ritual, story and meditation, as we call in newness.This will be the culmination of the journey we have taken together through the month of Elul, in preparation for the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah). You can join in this ceremony whether or not you have been on this journey with us.
TASHLIKH FOR SURVIVORS: A CEREMONY WITH JAIME STARR
19:00-20:30 BST | Sunday 20 September
We are delighted to host friend of Yelala, Jaime Starr for this special ritual innovation.Tashlikh is a Jewish folk custom practised around the world, where people cast breadcrumbs into flowing water, to represent the casting off of the past year. Often, this is framed as being about casting off 'sins,' which can be challenging for those of us with a trauma history and/or people in our lives or our pasts that we can't forgive. This tashlikh will be trauma-informed and survivor-led, with a holistic focus on validating experiences that we may not feel able to have recognised in more traditional teshuva (literally "returning," but often translated as "repentance") and tashlikh liturgy.
You might find this space useful if you are LGBTQIA+, plus size, disabled or otherwise have an unsupportive/critical families whose actions, inaction or attitudes have proved harmful; as well as people who have experienced direct violence or other trauma either from strangers or loved ones. There will be no pressure to disclose any of your experiences to be welcome to attend, but survivor experiences will be centred during the ritual. Please bring a bowl of water and either salt, bread or flower petals for casting.
RAV KOHENET RABBI JILL HAMMER: RETURN TO THE PLACE
19:00-20:00 GMT | Thursday 29 October
Rav Kohenet Rabbi Jill Hammer, Phd., co-founder of the Kohenet Institute, joins us to celebrate the publication of Return to the Place, her incredible book about Sefer Yetzirah, a foundational text of Jewish mysticism. Rav Kohenet Jill will discuss her take on Sefer Yetzirah and share some wisdom of the ancients.This event is free, but registration is essential. Please contact us no later than 6:30pm GMT (UK Time) on 29 October in order to receive the link. If we haven't yet met, please include a brief memory of nature, so that we can confirm you are a real human.
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Ritual & Ceremony Crafting
TELL ME MORE!
As part of our three-and-a-half year ordination process with the Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute, we learn how to skilfully develop and safely hold transformative, Jewish-rooted ritual and ceremony, responding to the needs of the specific people who call on us.This work is based on the practices of Jewish people over millennia to actively engage with the rich tapestry of cultural heritage, combining oral and written traditions to meet our needs when we step through a threshold, be witnessed as we call in new moments in life.
As our communities become more literate, we sometimes turn only to prayer books, and leave behind these folk practices. But it is these oral traditions which often fill in gaps for those of us who struggle to find ourselves reflected in the books.
What Kind of Rituals?
We have been commissioned to create a wide variety of ceremonies including:
All have been tailored to meet the Jewish and life cycle needs of the people involved, and to honour traditions of others involved when required.The video on the right is from our interfaith contribution to the 'Pausing' Ceremony at Hyde Park for Extinction Rebellion.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
We begin with a Ritual Intake, a session of 60-90 minutes in which we help you to identify what the purpose is for you. Even if the ritual is one that many people have undertaken before, your relationship with it is specific.Since it takes dedicated time, plus an additional hour to type up fully and send back to you with recommendations, we do charge something for this. After this point you might choose to use this document to create something by yourself, or else work with us to the completion of your ceremony!We can provide references upon request.
Write to us with your enquiries!
Devotional or Learning Circles
Devotional and Learning Circles are created in partnership with a volunteer co-host who finds a room and invites a minimum of ten guests. Circles have been held at music festivals, faith communities, meditation groups, Red Tent & Rosh Chodesh groups, & private homes. They can be held in single or multi-gendered space, and Jewish, multi-faith, or secular space.In Devotional Circles we learn accessible chants & song based on ancient Hebrew liturgy, and enter soulful, song-filled meditation together.In Learning Circles we explore feminine archetypes and narratives in a Jewish context, through song, study of sacred and anthropological texts, handcrafting or other embodied exploration, and personal reflection.Get in touch to co-host your own.Archetypes are based on the Netivot wheel, created by the Kohenet Institute as a tool for finding feminine representation in Jewish text & history.Subjects have included: Soul Candle-Making & Contemplation - Ashkenazi women's rituals for the Living & the Dead; Ritual Medical Lore of Sephardi Women; In the Weaver's Hand - the weaver as a symbol of Divine strength; By the Sweat of Your Brow - How Field, City & Exile Shaped Jewish Cultures.
A selection of past events...
SHAVUOT SEDER WITH YELALA
Shavuot Seder? Isn't the Seder night a Passover thing?The Seder is such a fabulous, richly layered, joyful, multi-sensory & delicious ritual! So, we are making a special adapted seder to celebrate Shavuot. Join us! Explore this festival of revelation, kinship, and first fruits. We will combine poetry, song, learning, and symbolic food to celebrate the soul of this special festival.Advance booking is essential, & no one is turned away for lack of funds. See further information in the ticket link below.
FIRST FRUITS: A RE-IMAGINED SHAVUOT RITUAL
"A person goes to one's field and sees a date that is bearing fruit, a bunch [of grapes] that is bearing fruit, or a pomegranate that is bearing fruit, and ties it with a string and says, "Behold these are Bikkurim." - Mishnah, Bikkurim 3Bikkurim were the first fruit offerings that were waved in the air as a sign of gratitude and devotion at the ancient temple of Jerusalem. Have you learned a new craft or skill? Have you made a transition? What has changed since last Autumn for you?whatever they are, bring your first fruits to wave, share and celebrate in our Zoom gathering at the eve of Shabbat.
POP-UP BEIT MIDRASH & YELALA PRESENT
MEETING THE HEBREW PRIESTESS: A 3 PART WORKSHOP SERIES
Consecutive Mondays, June 18:30-19:45 BST (UK)
Throughout Israelite and Jewish history, women have held a multitude of spiritual leadership roles, from keepers of sacred space to prophetesses and even witches. Join to explore ways in which our ancestresses have stepped into their spiritual power. In this series we will explore the presence of the Shrinekeeper, Prophetess and the Witch in Jewish text and history.
ITS SAYS WHAT?! WITH JW3
We join JW3 for this 30-minute bite-size series, educators from across the community will share some of their favourite pieces of Jewish wisdom.He [Bezalel] made the laver of copper and its stand of copper, from the mirrors of the shrinekeeper-priestesses who served at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. Exodus 38:8Kohenet Yael will explore who these women were, what might their role have been? Why do most of us never learn about them? What might they have to teach us?
ROSH CHODESH AV WITH YELALA & NEW LONDON SYNAGOGUE
Join Kohenet Rachel for accessible meditative song, reflections on the month we are stepping into and the one we have left behind. The new moon of Av will rise on the evening of 21 July, but we will meet on the 20th.
WEEPING TOGETHER IN THE NIGHT: A RITUAL FOR SORROWS OF ALL SIZES
On the night that marks the destruction of our ancient sacred spaces, let us draw together to make space for griefs of all shapes and sizes. In this deeply broken world, let us find some solace in the connections we forge with one another, our ancestors, the Earth and ourselves. We will make space for song, silence and embodied ritual. We will hear passages of Eicha, the Book of Lamentations, which recounts, in heart-breaking poetry, the destruction of Jerusalem and her Temple. We will cry out from our most broken places for a world better than this one. We will remind ourselves that even in the darkest depths, we are not alone.Join Kohenet Yael Esther and rising Kohenet Sara Moon for an evening to make room for our sorrows and to find comfort in a circle of like-minded souls.
A TU B'AV RITUAL OF SCARED SEXUALITY
In ancient Israel, the grape harvest began on Tu b’Av. Cutting down the green and yellow tendrils yielded ripe, sweet, juicy fruit of the vine - a fruit which in turn lead to an altered state of mind and a day filled with joyous festivities of connection and pleasure. Kohenet Rachel and sacred sexuality educator Seani Love are renewing and reclaiming this celebration with a rich and playful introductory-level exploration of sacred sexuality. Meet the archetype of the Sacred Lover in Jewish sacred text and within yourself. This session will contain exploration of the Sacred Lover and our relationship with them through experiential practices, song, and learning.'Chilli' rating 1 out 4: No nudity, no genital contact at any time, no partnered work with other attendees, although if you attend with a partner we will offer options for you to explore gentle exercises in pairs that match our boundaries.
PAST WISDOM, PRESENT PRACTICE: SACRED SPACE BEYOND SHUL
In these times of lockdown, most of us are also locked out of our usual sacred space, the Synagogue. How have Jewish ancestors created spaces for connection with the Divine at home and elsewhere?Through Jewish text, anthropology, and a little conversation and song, we will trace a journey through biblical altars, ancient hill-top shrines, the rabbinic honouring of the home table, and a rich tapestry of folk traditions from across the diaspora, which may serve as inspiration for how we might find sacred space no matter where we are. This session includes content from the Meeting the Hebrew Priestess: Shrinekeeper class. Hosted by New London Synagogue.
PAST WISDOM, PRESENT PRACTICE: GRIEF
How do we walk the path of mourning in this disconcerting time? Kohenet Rachel will share stories about grieving practices from Jewish texts, mourning rituals from across the diaspora, and will also share experiences that may help you in creating or supporting vigil, burial, and remembrance rituals in this socially-distanced time. This event is suitable for you whether you are grieving, helping others to grieve, or are simply curious. All emotions are welcome; please be aware that this is not a therapeutic space.
Hosted by New London Synagogue.
THE RHYTHM OF ELUL: ANCESTRAL PRACTICES FOR OUR TIMES
For our ancestors, the journey towards the New Year and Yom Kippur was a whole season of internal and even external pilgrimage, the month beforehand peppered with grave-visiting, ritual candle-making, deep-night devotion, even full moon rituals by the sea. Coronavirus may have separated some of us from our usual practices at this time of year. For others, this may all be new! How can we learn from the rhythm of Elul? Join Kohenet Rachel as we find old-new ways to walk the path towards renewal as the season turns.
THE NEW YEAR FOR ANIMALS: A SPECIAL PEREK SHIRA SONG CIRCLE
Did you know that in Jewish tradition, animals have their very own New Year? We'd like to celebrate! With a special Perek Shira song circle!Perek Shira is an ancient Jewish text that teaches us that every aspect of the natural world has its own song. We'll sing our way through Perek Shira, celebrating our animal friends along the way.If you have a pet who might like to join in the celebrations, please feel free to invite them along. We'll make a space to bless within our song circle to bless the animals in our midst. Please note that you are welcome whether or not you have an animal in your life; pets are not required for participation!
STRUGGLES OF MOTHERHOOD: GUARDIAN MOTHERS OF THE NEW YEAR
Over Rosh Hashanah, Jewish New Year, we read the stories of four mothers:Sarah, who laughs bitterly when she is promised a child in her old age…Hagar, Sarah’s reproductive slave, who is banished by Sarah and sent into the desert…Hannah, who models true prayer, in the face of great sorrow…Rachel, who weeps for her children...For each mother, motherhood is a struggle - whether it’s infertility, race, class, internal family conflict, or some combination, none of these mothers finds the process of birth straightforward. There is frustration, sorrow and strife. Bringing new life into the world has never been easy.Join Kohenet Yael Esther to explore what medicine these ancient mothers might offer us as the New Year draws closer and closer...
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