Tikshoret Connections

ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal is proud to present Tikshoret, a new online adult education initiative. We aim to offer adults an opportunity to dive deeply into the spiritual and educational gifts of Jewish Renewal. Tikshoret tuition is intentionally low to welcome a diverse group of learners.

The Hebrew word Tikshoret comes from the root for “deep connection,” and that’s what these classes are designed to be: an opportunity to connect with the riches of our tradition. These exciting classes will be taught by teachers and rabbis from across the Jewish Renewal world. Through this highly accessible online platform, we seek to inspire, engage, challenge, and explore the mysteries of the past with an eye towards contemporary spiritual practice and creating personally meaningful Jewish experiences.

We hope that you will join us on this sacred journey!

Questions about Tikshoret or the classes, please email tikshoret@aleph.org or call (215) 247-9700 x30.


Upcoming Tikshoret Programs:


Class Name: Jewish Magic and Superstition (from the Women’s Sacred Texts series)
Teacher: Kohenet D’vorah J. Grenn, Ph.D.

Date: Tuesday, May 2, 9, 16, and 23
Time:  8-9:15 pm EST, 5-6:15 pm PST
All sessions of this course will be recorded so you can watch at your convenience.

Cost: $125

Series Description:
The Women’s Sacred Texts series offers the chance to become part of an exciting women-centered learning community, to gain a more complete sense of the lineage and history of women’s often hidden or erased contributions to our sacred texts.  As we examine texts—written, spoken, visual, vocal and embodied—created by, about or expressly for women, we better understand the role women’s voices have played in Judaism’s evolution.

Course Description:
This course will be an experience in learning about Jewish magic and superstition as seen in sacred text and in amulets, incantations and other apotropaic devices used over the last 4,000-5,000 years to insure good health, safety, prosperity, success and other positive outcomes for their owners. We will discuss visual, oral and written tools and texts so that students can gain an understanding of women's historic role as practitioners of magic.

What constitutes magic? Why has it usually been denied or officially denounced as being part of our tradition? When did magic become religion? What role does faith play in the design and enactment of magical acts? Through a rich array of images, iconography and symbol, students will learn about potent ritual objects that have been crafted since ancient times by priestesses, magicians, scribes, healers, sorceresses, jewelers, witches and laywomen. Presentations will provide an introductory glimpse into ancient and modern amulets, spells, recipe-books, figures, charms, talismans and bowls made and used in Mesopotamia and the region known in ancient times as The Levant, in the broader area known today as the Middle East, North Africa and the United States.

REGISTER ONLINEWomen's Sacred Texts - Jewish Magic and Superstition (Tikshoret - MAY 2 to 23, 2017)

Class Name: Personal Altar Building/ Developing Our Spiritual Practice
Teacher: Kohenet D’vorah J. Grenn, Ph.D.

Date:  New dates: Wednsday, June 7, 14, 21 and 28
Time: 8-9:15 pm EST, 5-6:15 pm PST
All sessions of this course will be recorded so you can watch at your convenience.

Cost: $125

Course Description:
How do we address our spiritual needs and practical realities of our daily lives? What in our lives needs healing, honoring, attention? This class offers a chance to focus on these questions, and to set intentions, kavanot, to help build or expand spiritual practices that can sustain us.

Each class begins with a brief chant or drumming to bring us into our virtual sacred space. We will discuss how we can set sacred space in our heart-minds, homes and workspaces with clarity and from the place of our greatest integrity, and how this act informs our spiritual practice.  We will explore the steps and care needed in building altars or other intentional spaces (including the Sabbath table) and share our experiences with or resistance to creating them.

REGISTER ONLINEPersonal Altar Building
(Tikshoret - June 7 to 28, 2017)

Class Name: Honoring Our Mothers/The Imahot Through Spiritual Autobiography
Teacher: Kohenet D’vorah J. Grenn, Ph.D.

Date: Sunday, August 20, 27, September 3 and 10
Time: 1:00-2:15 pm EST, 10-11:15 am PST
All sessions of this course will be recorded so you can watch at your convenience.

Cost: $125

Course Description:
Spiritual Autobiography focuses on the role of story as self-reflective journey that can bring healing, inspiration and deeper connection to ancestors. It is a valuable way to enter Elul, that special time of introspection. We will share our stories, and in so doing explore women’s psychological/spiritual development as exemplified by our own lives. We will do the sacred work of witnessing each other as we discuss our spiritual lineages, our childhood and adult experiences of the sacred and the ongoing search for identity. We will reflect on the relationship between our own and others’ points of view and experiences, allowing us the opportunity to practice compassionate receptivity and deep listening.

REGISTER ONLINEHonoring Our Mothers Thru Spiritual Autobiography (Tikshoret - AUG 20 to SEPT 10, 2017)


Teacher Bio:
Kohenet D’vorah J. Grenn, Ph.D., Chair of the former Women's Spirituality MA program at Sofia University in Palo Alto (originally the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology), founded The Lilith Institute in 1997, producing San Francisco Bay Area women's spirituality/study circles, public and private rituals and several lecture series. She is the founding kohenet of Mishkan Shekhinah, a movable sanctuary honoring the Sacred Feminine in all spiritual traditions. D’vorah has been teaching at Napa Valley College and with LevLearning.com, as well as leading private classes and serving as a spiritual life coach and mentor to women. She worked to support domestic violence survivors with Shalom Bayit and now Napa Emergency Women’s Services, and was on the Founding Advisory Board of the Kohenet Priestess Training Institute.

Dr. Grenn’s dissertation, “For She Is A Tree of Life: Shared Roots Connecting Women to Deity” was an inquiry into Jewish women’s religious/cultural identities, beliefs and ritual practices among the South African Lemba and United States women. In 2009 she published Talking To Goddess, an anthology of sacred writings of 72 women from 25 spiritual traditions, including blessings, prayer-poems, oriki, meditations, and invocations. Her essay, "The Kohanot: Keepers of the Flame" appears in Stepping into Ourselves: An Anthology of Writing on Priestesses (2014).  Other writings include her book Lilith's Fire (2000), and articles in She is Everywhere, Vols. 1 and 2; and the journals Feminist Theology and Women in Judaism.

Her research includes ongoing explorations of the role of the ancient and contemporary priestess; women's contemporary ritual practices; ancestor reverence; midrash as a liberating literary genre, and Lilith as an archetype representing both positive and negative aspects of women’s psycho-spiritual journeys.


Past Tikshoret Classes:

Eve and Lilith: Secrets of the Creation of the Divine Feminine
Instructor: Shoshanna R. Schecter-Shaffin

(Photo by: Janice Rubin)

How much do you really know about the Biblical Eve and mythical Lilith?  In this participatory 4 part class we will draw on archaeology, ancient ethnographies, actual Biblical text and midrash as we deeply “rediscover” Eve and Lilith and their connections to the ancient Divine Feminine.

Please note: All texts will be taught in translation, no Hebrew background is necessary.


Shoshanna Schechter-Shaffin is a feminist blogger, writer, non-traditional Rebbetzin and career Jewish Educator and Jewish Professional. She is the Executive Director of ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal and serves on the faculty of the Department of Religious Studies and Women's Studies at Randolph-Macon College. Originally from Silver Spring, Maryland, Shoshanna is a graduate of the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and Jewish Studies from the University of Maryland and a Master’s Degree in Jewish Studies with a focus on Jewish Women’s and Gender Studies from the Jewish Theological Seminary. She is married to Rabbi Royi Shaffin from Congregation Or Atid in Richmond, Virginia and is the mother of three verbose and vivacious daughters, Netanya, Elianna, and Kinneret.

Writing the Psalms of Our Hearts 
Instructor: Rabbi Rachel Barenblat

The psalms are a deep repository of praise, thanksgiving, grief, and exaltation, one of our communal tools for connecting with God. In this class, each of us will become a psalmist. We’ll awaken our spirits and hearts by praying select psalms together, warm up our intellectual muscles with writing exercises, and enter into a safe space for creativity as we each write our own psalms. After sharing our psalms aloud and sharing our responses to each others’ work, we’ll close by davening together once more.

Learn more about Rabbi Rachel Barenblat