I feel connected to the same soul root as Reb Gershon [Winkler]. His primary ordaining teacher was Rav Ben Zion Bruk of Jerusalem, a great Master of Mussar, whom I feel connected to both through Rabbi Hillel Goldberg’s transmission of his Torah and through Reb Gershon. At this time, I am working with Reb Gershon on a major work, which we hope will serve as a kind of Spiritual Code of Jewish Law for those who will seek its counsel.
Regarding academia: Virtually everything I have learned has been in the classic auto didactic manner. However, my B.A. is from Edison College (a completely reputable joke of a school, which gives credit for non-academic work). I studied for one semester at Yeshiva University and one semester at Queens College. Neither worked for me. Back then, I wanted to study only what I wanted to study. So, I followed my heart and dropped out. I only received my degree from Edison later on so my mom would be happy. Later in life, I earned a Master’s degree in Jewish Philosophy from Bar Illan University. And still later, I wrote a doctoral dissertation under the direction of Professor Moshe Idel and Professor Norman Solomon at Oxford University. My doctoral dissertation was approved by Oxford University on April 2, 2008.
Having said that, I have little interest in teaching today from the place of a rabbi or a professor. Instead, I want to share from the position of friend. We have plenty of rabbis and no shortage of professors. It seems to me that today we need teachers who can give us an authentic transmission, and at the same time love us as dear and close friends—though always with clear boundaries.
Only recently in my life have I submitted to a teacher. My teacher is a very beautiful and great man who is the lineage holder of a stunning Jewish mystical tradition which was passed down from generation to generation for many hundreds of years. Most of the lineages of this nature were destroyed in the holocaust. His survived.
He is a profound psychologist, teacher, guide, and as his many students will attest, a powerful shamanic figure as well. He is the transmitted lineage successor of a great contemporary Peruvian teacher, recognized formally as a peer by one of South America’s great shamans. He appeared and found me during the time of my heartbreak, and has helped put the pieces of my heart back together. He has encouraged me and instructed me to return to teaching. I will follow his instruction.
He has had, over the years, hundreds of students who are―each in their own way ― receivers of his love and his wisdom. He teaches those who find their way to him. In this sense, he is quite similar to the teacher Don Juan, whom Carlos Castaneda describes in his work.