Rabbi Tamara Kolton
Rabbi Tamara Kolton

Kolton will be speaking about her life, the Feminine Divine and her vision for a loving society.

Rabbi Tamara Kolton Ph.D., an independent rabbi, psychologist, feminine mythologist and author of Oranges for Eve: My Brave, Beautiful, Badass Journey to the Feminine Divine, has been chosen to speak at TedxDetroit this Wednesday. She will be speaking about her life, the Feminine Divine and her vision for a loving society.

Kolton grew up in Bloomfield Hills and completed her undergraduate degree in Jerusalem from Hebrew University. Her master’s degree is in clinical psychology, and she wrote her dissertation on “The Experience of Being a Woman Rabbi.”

Kolton has been a rabbi in the community for 21 years and got her start at the Birmingham Temple, growing up in a Jewish congregation “without God,” being mentored by Rabbi Sherwin T. Wine. In 1999, she was the first person to be ordained a humanistic rabbi, an achievement recognized by the New York Times. Ultimately, she became Rabbi Wine’s successor and the senior rabbi.

In 2012, she felt an intense spiritual yearning to discover God for herself, leaving the temple in the process to forge her own path. In searching for “Him,” she found “Her” and the “Feminine Divine.”

Kolton defines the Feminine Divine as the “energy within us and all around us that supports life.” Kolton is most passionate about it and how to bring Her energy to a world “in desperate need of feminine truth, light and power.”

“That belief, that feeling, it’s now been nine years and it’s never lifted or changed,” Kolton said. “I always wondered if one day I would wake up and realize I was an atheist after all like I was raised, but it did not change; it just grew stronger. And I make sense of it all through the Feminine Divine.”

Oranges for Eve: My Brave, Beautiful, Badass Journey to the Feminine Divine is a tale of Kolton’s personal journey of resigning her pulpit, going on that search and what she found.

One of the most notable things she found in her research is a city called Çatalhöyük, located today in modern Turkey.

“Nine-thousand years ago, it was a city where people flourished and lived in abundance and joy, and when archaeologists unearthed Çatalhöyük, they found no weapons, no evidence of traumatic death and no war,” she said.

Professor Ian Hodder of Stanford University led one of the most important excavations there, and he estimates that Çatalhöyükwas war-free for 4,000 years.

“They believed in the Feminine Divine. Not meaning that Çatalhöyük was a woman-dominated society, but it was a society where men and women were held in equal reverence,” Kolton said. “This is a very different society than a patriarchy and a very different world than the one we’ve been living in for the past 2,000 years.”

Kolton says like Çatalhöyük, many other prehistoric societies that elevated the feminine saw the feminine as sacred and centered their spiritual life around the Feminine Divine. They were also peaceful places for long periods of time.

Kolton believes it’s possible for society to return to a Feminine Divine.

“I think it’s not only possible, but it’s probable, because we have a tendency toward peace. Peace is our natural state. We’re not doomed to live in a nightmare of war because that’s how it’s always been. That’s factually untrue,” Kolton said. “My talk is called ‘City of Love’ because it’s an example of who we can be, and as I say in my talk, we’re only limited by our imagination and the stories we tell ourselves.”

Kolton says the Feminine Divine also has connections to Judaism.

“It’s very much tikkun olam,” she says. “It’s my answer to how we can repair and heal the world.”

Kolton hopes people gain one thing above all out of her speech: Hope.

“I think the crisis in the world is hopelessness, we just don’t see other ways anymore,” she said. “We’re living in a time of great disruption and awakening. The world is demanding something else, and I want that something else to be a more loving place.”

Kolton’s talk is set to take place at about 11 a.m. EST on Wednesday, streamed live for free on TEDxDetroit.com.

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