Being Jewish And Wiccan { One Women's View } 
            By: Anahita Gula *=Hebrew For Witch:

" Now I pray to darker Goddesses -- Asherah, Mahalath, Amaterasu
whose names fill my mouth with joy. I invoke their power at Pesach
and when I read the Tarot. "

These words, written by a Lesbian Jewish Witch named Sapphire,
hit me close to home. For I too am Jewish and a Witch duly
consecrated and initiated, skyclad, on the eve of an Autumn Equinox
which was the first night of Rosh Hashanah.

As I stood there nude and bound, Jews around the world celebrated
their Jewishness by praying to God. I also celebrated my Jewishness
by praying to, and invoking, Asherah of the Sea and the Virgin Anat.

Goddess, give me strength and stand by me, " I prayed. And She

My statements in the Craft community as a Jew and Witch have
caused some of my friends immeasurable concern. One wrote... " This
whole question has become my philosophical quandary for the month,
possibly for the year.. We have spent the past 30 odd years trying
to convince the world that Witchcraft is a religion.

So, if we aren't Pagan, then just what the hell are we ? { The
question of being a Priest or Priestess of Wicca if one is a
believer in another religion as well, also came up }

The commandment, 'You shall not tolerate a sorceress' {Ex. 22:17 }
is apparently aimed against women who engage specifically in black
magic, as the severity of the penalty attests. Page 706 Encyclopedia
Judaica, 1971 edition.

Only a select group of my friends really understand my belief
system. I'm a very private Wiccan in part because of my employment
at a Jewish Community Centre! My family probably would not
understand, either.

And, many of my old friends flirted with the Craft and then
returned to their religion of birth. But, my co-coveners { yes, I
work with an Alexandrian coven } they seem to understand from whence
I come and why. My magick DOES work, and my Inner Workings are

I have a fairly good reputation as a healer in the hands on and
energy channeling realms, plus I do some prognostication with Tarot,
Norse Runesticks, and playing cards. I have read Auras since I was
14; my cord and candle magick is solid.

I teach various subjects and am somewhat of an expert in the Near
Eastern religions prior to, and concurrent with, Ancient Israel. And
I know that I have been a witch before, and was a High Priestess of
Ishtar . I am a Semite, but my Jewishness is of a very primitive

It saddens me to see the number of Jewish born Pagans who have 
"chucked the baby out with the bath water ", as it were. I'll be the
first one to admit that Talmudic Judaism has much to apologize for.

Many Orthodox men still pray every day to thank God they were not
born a woman. But don't some Dianics thank the Goddess they were not
born a man ? You can hardly judge either group on one item { and one
which is not even universal }.

Judaism has much to offer us in the Craft, if { like fleece for
spinning } it is carefully picked through. Social responsibility,
charity, and a just society all run strong in Judaism. The great
Sage Hillel said " Whoever saves one life, it is as if he has saved
the world ".

The Near East was a place where the upper and or warrior classes
dominated all other people. The Israelites forced responsibility on
their own for ALL peoples; the rich were forced to make charitable
donations to help those less fortunate. Not a quality the
Babylonians, or Assyrains, were known for.

I also strongly reject the premise that " the Jews killed the
Mother ". That is the same specious argument redressed as " the Jews
killed Christ ". We are now virtually positive that ancient Israel
was a people of duality, and worshipped a God { El, Yahweh, YHWH,
Elohim, etc .} and Goddess { Anat, Asherah, Ashtaroth, Qudsu,
Athtart }.

It is simple to see: archaeologists keep finding Goddess
figurines and or moulds in digs around Temples and in homes, and the
injunctions against worshipping " Ashtaroths " is clear. One need
not tell someone to cease from doing something he or she DOES NOT DO
in the first place.

We know Rosh Chodesh, the New Moon festival, was sacrosanct to
Jewish women for centuries { and is being reclaimed }. Indeed, some
experts seem to indicate, that the New Moon had been as important
once as the Sabbath, the holiest days of the Jewish year. Modern
Jewish Feminists are de-sexing the language of prayer and even of
the Tanach { " Old Testament " } itself. Women's conferences keep
trying to return the equilibrium of Judaism, while keeping the
unique flavor of the religion of the Chosen People.

BUT -- Modern Judaism is a fractured and timeworn institution. I
doubt it will fail, but it must take time and look inward. Some
branches accept a Supreme Deity { " God " } in its mystical One-
ness, while others view the Tanach as allegory, not fact.

Because I believe in supernatural power, I cannot view
religiomythic writings as mere allegory. But because I crave balance
and equality, I cannot accept the scriptures forced on man and women
alike by the Rabbinic philosophers. So, my search for religious
validity turned me to Wicca a religion of respect and balance.

{ This is actually a return for me 16 years after my first
workings in a coven setting. } But, it doesn't end there for me.

Even my deep ancestral calendar is " off " often. I practice my
rites here in Canada, in a framework which is deeply
Nordic/Celtic/Seax due to the climate and roots of most Pagans of my
acquaintance. At Summer Solstice we celebrate the growth of the year
and its fruitfulness. But my roots scream at me that this falls
during the month of Tammuz, when the daughters of Zion mourn for the
death of Innanna's/Ishtar's Consort.

The land is not fruitful; rather, the summer heat scorches the
earth relentlessly, and everything dies. How do we balance the
calendar of our faith and of our land ? I often feel that I am like
a " Jew for Jesus " neither fish nor fowl { or neither milk nor
meat, as we would say }. No Jew of traditional faith would ever
credit me as a practicing Jew, although I am in many ways. And many
Wiccans, Pagans view me as a heresy, as well. { SIGH }

Am I a Pagan ? This is a good question to ponder deeply. You
decide. I believe in the Ayn Sof, a Hebrew description for a non
gender specific Supreme Force. I still can't shake off all the
Hebrew school classes on how evil Ba' Al was, and so He doesn't
serve me in the God role. But -- I do use A Goddess { often under
the vague name of " Shekhina } ", and I Am I " as a God form { YHWH
in English transliteration }.

I also use El, and the numerous specific Goddess I mentioned
earlier. Modern Hassids { Ultra Orthodox Hassidic Jews, often
Kabbalists } refer to " God's Bride ", the " Matronit ", " Shekhina",
and Goddess are ASPECTS of the Ayn Sof.

" Thou shalt have no other Gods before me ". does NOT proscribe
belief in other Gods lesser importance. { It acknowledges, by
inference, that there ARE other Gods... Otherwise why tell the
populace to have no others ? ! } So, I use God forms as a path
towards a greater understanding of, and affinity to, the Ayn Sof.

I cannot cry out loudly enough to my fellow Wiccans who grew up
of Jewish parentage. There is so much beauty and wisdom in Judaism
that it would be a shame to reject it all. The Havdala ceremony,
where a multi-wick braided candle is burnt to wish the Shekhina
thanks for Her presence, is deeply mystical and worthy of retention.

The beauty of the fires of Chanukah, the abundance of Succot
crops, the awe-fullness of the ram's horn blast on Yom Kippur; all
these and more can be successfully integrated into Wicccan

I use a Shofar { ritual ram's horn } instead of a bell on my
altar, and a switch of grasses rather than a scourge { the tool of
the Egyptian pharaohs }.

I knew beyond doubt recently that my decision to follow the
Goddess was the right one. A synagogue Sisterhood Gift Shop in a New
England City had an unusual necklace on its window, which I snapped
up immediately. What a FIVE-POINTED star with { Chi=Life } in Hebrew
on it what it was doing there, I'll never know } ! BUT I never argue
with my " inner bell ", or with She Who Provides.

I have enclosed a sample or two of Hebrew Goddess rituals from
modern sources. May the Goddess guide your head, your heart, and
your hand in all things.

Blessed Be

1 Written in Ladino, the Sephardic Jewish tongue. I use this as part
of an invocation.

" Quarto cantonadas ay en esta casa, quatro malakhim que mos
accompanian y mos guadrin ."

{ Four corners are in this house; four angels who accompany us and guard us. }

2. Baruch She-Amar { Blessed is She Who Speaks }. I use this as a
response, part of the Drawing Down the Moon."

Blessed is She who spoke and the world became.
Blessed is She.
Blessed is She who in the beginning, gave birth.
Blessed is She.
Blessed is She who says and performs.
Blessed is She.
Blessed is She who declares and fulfills.
Blessed is She.
Blessed is She whose womb covers the earth.
Blessed is She.
Blessed is She whose womb protects all creatures.
Blessed is She.
Blessed is She who nourishes those who love her.
Blessed is She.
Blessed is She who lives forever, and exists eternally.
Blessed is She.
Blessed is She who redeems and saves.
Blessed is Her name.