You may know rabbis, cantors, and gabbais, or prayer leader, from synagogue. But have you met a Jewitch, healer or priestess?
You may soon. There is a growing movement to carve out alternative spaces for distinctly female leadership roles in Jewish life, as well as honor feminine characteristics of the divine — some call it Goddess Judaism.
One of the movement’s most enthusiastic advocates is onetime presidential hopeful, comedian, activist and overall outsize character Roseanne Barr.
Among other priestess-associated activities, Barr inaugurated a “Women’s Temple for transformation and tikkun olam” (repairing the world) in Hawaii and co-hosted a Priestess Purim celebration at the Isabella Freedman Center, in Connecticut.
Barr peppers her social media with references to priestesses, Hebrew queens and the feminine divine. Here are some of the standouts, with hashtags like #princess, #Shekinah (feminine divine) and #treeofLIFE.
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Sam Kestenbaum is a contributing editor and former staff writer for the Forward. Before this, he worked for The New York Times and newsrooms in Sana, Ramallah and Beijing. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at @skestenbaum and on Instagram at @skestenbaum.