Two weeks ago, I hosted my first full weekend retreat, co-facilitated with some of my favorite collaborators and teachers. It was called “Embodying Liberation.” On the new moon of Nissan, with Passover on its way, we explored freeing our inner Divine Feminine through tangible, embodied spiritual practice. We danced, drummed, sang and chanted. We meditated, contemplated, sat in silence and in open-hearted vulnerable discussions. We ate nourishing food, connected with ourselves and nature, and constantly investigated the questions: what is our relationship to our bodies in spiritual practice? How do society’s gender norms hold us back, and how do we liberate ourselves through new views of the masculine and feminine? Most importantly, how are those portrayed in Jewish text and tradition, from ancient times til today?
As Passover approaches, the theme of liberation is on everybody’s lips, and feminine liberation is a Hot Topic. Feminist Haggadahs have increased in popularity year on year, we have the orange on the Seder plate, and we have Miriam’s Cup. Growing up Hasidic, I had access to none of these, and they likely might even be laughed at in some of the Orthodox communities I still visit. I’m here to tell you there’s still a long way to go.