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to Mishkan Shekhinah, a Temple honoring and celebrating the Sacred Feminine in all. 

Shekhinah, “She who dwells within,” is derived from the word MiShKaN, the Sanctuary in the wilderness and a dwelling place for the spirit of the Sacred Feminine on earth.  I envision this mishkan as a sanctuary which brings people in from the wilderness, one which comes alive whenever and wherever people gather to seek Her.  Continuing and expanding The Lilith Institute’s (www.lilithinstitute.com) ritual activities of the past decade, the Mishkan is a concept and a community rather than one specific place.  We will create this Temple whenever we gather in sacred space, be it in the foothills, at the ocean, in a grove of redwoods or in someone's home.

We have been joined for ceremonies by D'vorah K'lilah of Shuv Tamid, chantmistress/ritualist Cyrise Beatty, and on some occasions work with Jamie Isman of Mishkan Elat, Evelie Delfino Sáles Posch of Mahal and other creatrixes of sacred music.  Judy Grahn, poet, activist and cultural theorist, and Hawaiian Priestess Leilani Birely joined us for our first Summer Solstice/Havdalah service on Saturday, June 16, 2007 at the Cultural Integration Fellowship in San Francisco. We do  rituals and ceremonies in berkeley, on the Peninsula and in Napa, as spaces and time allow. 

Rabbi Jill Hammer writes of the Shekhinah: “The Holy of Holies, the central Temple shrine, embodied Her, and later She was embodied in the Torah. She was called the Tree of Life, as the goddess Asherah had been long before. Yet the lovers and keepers of the Shekhinah were always men: priests of the Temple and Sages of the Torah…”   

With Mishkan Shekhinah, we create a space in which today’s priestesses and kohanot can revive and preserve the ancient traditions, drawing on traditional sacred texts as well as working with new translations of ancient Aramaic and Sumerian, pre-Judaic texts by Jews and non-Jews alike.  Our music also will come out of African and African Diasporic traditions.  We draw on contemporary writings, re-writings and chants grounded in Jewish, African and feminist spirituality,  weaving in other Earth-based spiritual traditions from many cultures.

We hope to bring together those looking to discover or renew their spiritual connection; those looking for an alternative liturgy and approach through which they can stay connected to Judaism; and people from all traditions seeking to enrich their own spiritual practices.

Thanks to the founders of Pardes Rimonim (Garden of Pomegranates) in the ‘90s, and to the women in the San Francisco Bay Area who have long been putting their energies into creating spaces and ceremonies where the Sacred Feminine within Judaism is more openly named and honored as Goddess and CreatrixWe will be posting links to the activities of these priestesses, poets, ritualists, healers, midrashists and liturgists -- the ase/ruach, lifeforce and spirit of this temple - on this website soon.

Mojuba, respect and deep gratitude to Rita Kolb Grenn and all my ancestors for pushing this vision forward into manifestation and insisting that I keep following my intuition.  Modupe/many thanks go to my spiritual teachers, especially Yeye Aworo Fajembola Fatunmise, Ohen Imene Nosokpikan and Iya Isefalona Oshogbo, who taught me to hear the ancestors--and to pay attention.  Many thanks also to all my elders and colleagues especially Kaye Schuman, Judy Grahn, Max Dashu, Dianne Jenett, Kris Brandenburger, Cosi Fabian and Patti Moskowitz; in numerous ways over the years they have encouraged the creation of such a sanctuary.  Todah/thanks also to Rabbi and activist Lynn Gottlieb, Rabbi Jill Hammer, Blu Greenberg and Starhawk for their inspiring work, and for thinking ahead of their times.

Women and men of all spiritual traditions are welcome to attend Mishkan ceremonies, to contribute their energies, blessings and talents.  

As we work on constructing this Temple, both online and in "real time" your feedback and creative input will help us connect and grow.   We look forward to co-creating a supportive community with you.

In shared vision,

Deborah J. Grenn, Ph.D.

Founding Kohenet,

Mishkan Shekhinah

deborah@mishkanshekhinah.org