Rabbi Jill Hammer, PhD, is an author, teacher, midrashist, mystic, poet, essayist, and priestess. She is committed to an earth-based and wildly mythic view of the world in which nature, ritual, and story connect us to the body of the cosmos and to ourselves. She has been called “a Jewish bard.”
“Jill Hammer is among the most creative spiritual teachers in the Jewish world today. She brings to her work an unparalleled knowledge of Jewish legend and myth… as well as deep insight into soul, body and heart. Jill’s work may well be creating a new mode of experiential Judaism that will impact our community for decades to come.”
—Jay Michaelson, author of God in Your Body: Kabbalah, Mindfulness, and Embodied Spiritual Practice
“The making of ritual is a sacred and co-creative art and Rabbi Jill Hammer has been developing her skills as an artist and collaborator of the sacred for a number of years. That she offers her gifts to the world is cause for celebration. She brings magic.”
—Peter Pitzele, founder of Bibliodrama and author of Our Fathers’ Wells
“Rabbi Jill Hammer teachings release deep and unforeseen meanings contained in the Torah and the Jewish tradition. Not only is she learned and creative but she has the ability to captivate as only master storytellers can.”
—Rabbi J. Rolando Matalon of Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in New York, NY
“Rabbi Jill Hammer is an exquisite teacher who blends her knowledge of ancient sacred texts with her innate wisdom and boundless creativity. Through her work, she is a natural healer of souls, creating tikkun: opportunities for redemption that are both personal and universal. She invites her students into a dynamic experience with whatever material she is teaching. I have been deeply enriched, inspired and renewed by her work, her teachings.”
—Rabbi Kaya Stern-Kaufman, founder of Rimon Resource Center for Jewish Spirituality, Berkshires, MA
Rabbi Hammer is the Director of Spiritual Education at the Academy for Jewish Religion, a pluralistic rabbinical and cantorial seminary in Yonkers, NY. At AJR, she specializes in ancient and contemporary midrash, mysticism, ritual, and contemporary spirituality. To learn more about AJR, visit here.
Rabbi Hammer is also the co-founder of the Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute, a program in spiritual leadership for Jewish women. As a leader of the Kohenet Institute, she creates and teaches earth-based, embodied ritual and study that transforms Jewish conceptions of prayer and ceremony. The Kohenet Institute holds its trainings in partnership with the Elat Chayyim Center for Jewish Spirituality in Falls Village, CT, and conducts other programming around the country. To learn more about the Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute, visit here.
Rabbi Hammer is the author of five books: Sisters at Sinai: New Tales of Biblical Women (2001), The Jewish Book of Days: A Companion for All Season (2006), The Omer Calendar of Biblical Women (2012), The Hebrew Priestess: Ancient and New Visions of Jewish Women’s Spiritual Leadership (forthcoming 2014) and The Garden of Time (forthcoming 2014).
Hammer’s academic articles have been published in journals such as Religion and Literature, The Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women’s Studies and Gender Studies, The Journal of Applied Social Psychology, Ashe: The Journal of Experimental Spirituality, and Stepping into Ourselves: An Anthology of Writings on Priestesses.
Hammer’s poetry and stories have been published in Zeek Magazine, The Torah: A Women’s Commentary, Natural Bridge, Lilith Magazine, Mitzvah Stories, Best Jewish Writing 2002, The Forward, and many other journals and magazines.
Rabbi Hammer leads guided meditation and ritual for retreats, synagogues, and rabbinical schools. Rabbi Hammer also facilitates life-cycle and seasonal rituals for individuals and for groups: weddings, baby namings, new moon circles, and other ceremonies. Her method combines sacred text and tradition with creative, poetic exploration and a sensitivity to the mythic dimension of human life.
Rabbi Hammer received her B.A. from Brandeis University in 1991. She holds a doctorate in social psychology from the University of Connecticut and received rabbinical ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2001. She lives in Manhattan with her wife Shoshana Jedwab and their daughter. They attend Romemu, a Jewish Renewal congregation, where Hammer often serves the community as a teacher and darshan.