Twenty years ago, I began a journey from a mostly secular life as an attorney to being a radical rabbi with a highly spiritual, mystical way of relating to the world. At first, the journey was unintentional – a by-product of two changes in life-style.
First, I began to receive energy healing, a Japanese system called Jin Shin Jyutsu, for a chronic health condition that was recurring despite 3 operations. After two years of receiving Jin Shin Jyutsu, the illness was completely cured. But the most wonderful side effect was that during the treatments I felt the flow of what Jin Shin Jyutsu calls “universal energy” coursing through me, like a “hug” from the universe. I translated this experience as receiving the flow of divine energy and love. This divine energy, I learned is available to all people for energizing and healing. I felt a deep awareness and gratitude for the love and compassion of Source (God), and of the gift of the ability of each of us to direct and use this divine energy. One could not continue to receive these energy healings without becoming more spiritual, as I did. Inspired by the beauty and power of Jin Shin Jyutsu, I studied for years, and became a practitioner, a “sideline” to my law practice.
Secondly, I discovered a movement called Jewish Renewal. I had grown up in a conservative synagogue, which left me wondering, as many of you reading this might also have wondered, whether this was all that Judaism offered. Most of the community seemed not to understand that they had agency when praying, that they were heard, or that their choices on a constant basis determined their own lives. No one told me that what we were doing was real, or about the underlying mystical meaning of any of the prayers, or rituals.
Jewish Renewal was an awakening: the norm was to have an awareness and experience of connection to the divine, a deep knowing that you were heard by the universal consciousness and that your prayer affected the world. And sometimes, you would hear a response. Really. I saw the transformation of everyone that became a part of my Jewish Renewal community, toward being more caring, aware, grateful and connected.
Then I looked at the world in which I lived. Although I always tried to see the positive in everything, if I was honest, what I saw was a great deal of people who were hurting each other in many ways, hurting the earth, hurting even themselves. I knew that this was possible only because people did not understand that there was something alive and bigger than the physical, material world. They did not know about all of the love that was there for them, that the universe was aware of each of us. They did not understand that each action and thought affected everything else. I felt an overwhelming desire to bring the experiential knowing that I had found in Jewish Renewal and in Torah to as many as I could. So, what could I do, but to study and become a rabbi.
The insights continued, and the experiential knowledge kept pouring in, as I studied and meditated on our sacred text in my rabbinic studies, and beyond my rabbinic ordination from Hebrew College in 2015. I saw so much, beyond the traditional translations and understandings of Torah. I saw truths in Torah that have not been recognized for many millennia – ancient wisdom whose time has come again. Truths about who we really are, our direct, unbreakable connection to Source. Truths that each human is able to recognize that they are, indeed, a part of Source, that each human must become empowered to recognize their direct connection with Source, and to break down the hierarchical systems of these last few millennia.
So, then, I shifted my understanding of why I have become a rabbi. It is to share these truths. This is now my journey: with great passion to share the secrets that I have found, hidden in Torah, for those who have ears to hear, eye to see, and hearts to understand.